ST. LOUIS (AP) - Jaime Garcia failed to get a bunt down, forgot to tag up and gave up one fat pitch. The St. Louis Cardinals' hitters shouldered their share of the blame, too, in a game that ended with a botched double steal.
The Cardinals had 11 hits but were 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 runners in Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, costing them a three-game sweep.
``When the opportunities knock, you've got to come through,' said David Freese, who struck out for the third time in the ninth inning. ``I know it's early, but they all count. It was a rough day, for sure.'
The Cardinals had two runners on base in four of Zack Greinke's six innings, but scored just one run. Jonathan Lucroy's two-run double capped a three-run sixth, Garcia's only tough inning on the mound.
Garcia also bunted into a fielder's choice in the second with a chance to put runners on second and third ahead of Rafael Furcal's RBI single. St. Louis missed a chance to make it 2-0 in the fifth when, with one out, Garcia broke for home from third on Matt Holliday's routine flyout to medium center, a certain sacrifice fly if he'd have tagged up, and ended up stranded at third.
With two men on and left-handed hitting Travis Ishikawa on deck in the sixth, instead of pitching around Lucroy, Garcia left a pitch up that Lucroy drove off the left-field wall.
``In the major leagues, when you do that it's going to cost you a game,' Garcia said.
Greinke (3-1) allowed a run on seven hits to help stop the Brewers' six-game road losing streak. He's 2-1 with a 2.11 ERA in four career games in St. Louis. He pitched a lot better than in his only other road start this year, when he surrendered eight runs in 3 2-3 innings at Chicago on April 12.
Garcia (2-1) fell to 17-10 at home with a 2.38 ERA and all three of his shutouts, and 12-7 with 4.15 ERA on the road.
John Axford escaped an eventful ninth for his fifth save in five chances and 48th in a row, breaking a tie with Brad Lidge for the fourth-longest string in major league history.
The Cardinals had men on first and third with none out before Axford struck out Freese on a full count. The runners then got hung up on Yadier Molina's strikeout, with Tyler Greene an easy out at the plate.
``I'll just say that the play didn't go as planned,' manager Mike Matheny said.
Asked how it should have gone, he answered, ``Different.'
The Brewers took the lead with a four-hit, three-run sixth. Aramis Ramirez had an RBI single to tie it and Lucroy, who had been 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position on the year, made it a two-run cushion.
Matheny showed faith in Garcia when he pulled back a pinch hitter with two outs and one on in the sixth, and Garcia singled for the second straight at-bat. Rafael Furcal flied out to end the threat.
Garcia had a season-high six strikeouts in seven innings, his third straight start of seven innings or more.
Kameron Loe got Molina, who had been 7 for 11 in the series, with two on to end the seventh. The Cardinals cut the gap to a run when Matt Carpenter doubled off Francisco Rodriguez to start the eighth and scored on pinch hitter Daniel Descalso's groundout.
NOTES: Before the game, there was a moment of silence for those injured in a violent storm at a bar near Busch Stadium shortly after the end of Saturday's game. There was one confirmed death. ... Milwaukee LHP Randy Wolf (1-2, 7.17) starts Monday in the opener of a three-game series at San Diego, opposing RHP Joe Wieland (0-3, 4.76). The Cardinals have the day off Monday before starting a three-game series at home against the Pirates. ... Robert ``Kool' Bell of Kool and the Gang, in town for a concern with Van Halen, threw out a first pitch. ... Attendance of 45,824 was the fourth sellout in nine home games. ... Molina is 0 for 9 against Loe. ... The Brewers have won 51 in a row when leading in the ninth. ... Adam Wainwright (0-3, 7.32) will try to build on his first strong outing of the year Tuesday when the Cardinals and Pirates begin a three-game series. Wainwright allowed one run in six innings his last start against the Cubs.
The Associated Press News Service
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