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Brewers baffled by Collmenter again in 3-0 loss

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BOB BAUM
July 19, 2011
— The Milwaukee Brewers have faced Arizona's Josh Collmenter twice this month. They have yet to score a run against him.

The rookie right-hander baffled Milwaukee again Monday night, throwing eight innings of three-hit ball in a 3-0 victory in the opener of a four-game series.


"It is his deception. He is a good little pitcher," Milwaukee's Nyjer Morgan said. "It is one of those things we don't really know him yet."


Collmenter has 14 consecutive scoreless innings in his last two outings, both against the Brewers, who are having a hard time adjusting to his unorthodox straight overhand delivery.


"One of those things that around the league no one has really seen this kid," Morgan said. "He has good stuff, he is a contact guy and definitely will throw you strikes. Once you see him a few more times you will get a better understanding about him."


While Morgan was restrained in his assessment of Collmenter, Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke was a bit more effusive.


"You don't pick it up well and he spots the ball," Roenicke said. "His fastball, he doesn't give you a good look at it over the middle of the plate. It always seems to be on the corner, he has the great changeup and throws the curveball for strikes when he needs to."


Collmenter retired 21 of his last 22 batters in his longest outing of the season. Yuniesky Betancourt reached on a bunt single leading off the sixth for Milwaukee's only hit during the stretch.


"I think today was the culmination of everything that I can do as a pitcher," Collmenter said. "I really had everything working, mixing it in and out. Henry (Blanco) behind the plate was great, moving in and out, up and down, changing speeds. Just kept them off balance."


The Brewers were shut out on the road for the ninth time this season and fell to 18-32 away from Miller Park, the second-worst road mark in the NL.


Randy Wolf (6-7) pitched 7 1-3 innings for Milwaukee and was charged with three runs, two earned, and eight hits. The left-hander is 0-3 with a 4.94 ERA in his last four starts, including two losses against the Diamondbacks.


"I did everything I could do," Wolf said. "I made a mistake but that happens. I did my job to the best of my ability."


Collmenter (5-5) struck out a career-best seven and walked none. Ryan Roberts homered for the second straight day and David Hernandez finished for his ninth save in 11 chances, wrapping up the game in an efficient 2 hours, 14 minutes.


Chris Young singled, doubled and scored twice in Arizona's third straight victory.


Collmenter was 0-4 with a 5.97 ERA in his previous five starts. His previous victory came on June 3 against Washington, when he pitched seven innings in Arizona's 4-0 victory.


But he was coming off a strong effort on July 6 at Milwaukee, where he pitched six scoreless innings and got a no-decision in the Diamondbacks' 3-1 loss.


In consecutive starts, Arizona's Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Collmenter have allowed a combined three runs in 24 innings.


Roberts hit a two-run shot to left to put Arizona up 3-0 in the sixth. Young doubled into the left-field gap with two outs, then Roberts hit Wolf's 1-0 pitch into the seats in left for his 13th homer.


Roberts flew out to deep left his first time up.


Arizona loaded the bases with no outs in the third without getting the ball out of the infield. Blanco singled off the glove of second baseman Rickie Weeks, then Wolf threw the ball away trying to force Weeks at second on Collmenter's sacrifice attempt. Wolf threw right at second base umpire Brian Runge rather than at Weeks.


"I wasn't very good at the no-look pass today," he said.


Willie Bloomquist's sharp shot off the glove of the first baseman Prince Fielder loaded the bases, but Diamondbacks got only an unearned run out of the situation when Blanco scored on Gerardo Parra's double-play grounder.


Morgan made two big catches in center field, leaping against the wall to take an extra base hit away from Justin Upton in the sixth, then a diving shoestring grab to rob Blanco in the seventh.


Bloomquist, playing at shortstop to give Stephen Drew the night off, saved a run in the first when he made a diving stop to his right on Fielder's bouncer and, from his knees, threw out Morgan trying to score from second.


NOTES: There was dust in the air at first pitch, the result of a severe dust storm that moved through downtown Phoenix. ... In addition to Drew, fellow regulars 2B Kelly Johnson and C Miguel Montero were out of the Arizona lineup. ... The Chase Field fans kept up the booing of Fielder that began in the Home Run Derby after the slugger failed to pick Upton for the NL team. Fielder went on to win the All-Star game MVP award.



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