MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Milwaukee Brewers starter Zack Greinke can't figure out what's wrong.
The results, however, are clear: He's making too many mistakes in crucial situations.
While Greinke didn't get a decision in Sunday's 9-7 loss at Minnesota, the former American League Cy Young Award winner had his third poor outing in his past four starts.
Greinke, who gave up seven earned runs in two innings at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, allowed four earned runs and five hits in six innings. He struck out nine.
When Greinke was acquired from Kansas City during the offseason, he was supposed to be the ace that helped the Brewers win a division title for the first time in nearly 20 years.
But after giving up five runs (four earned) against the Twins on Sunday, Greinke has given up at least five runs in three of his past four starts and has a 7.84 ERA in that stretch.
Milwaukee scored five times in the top of the fourth inning against Twins starter Nick Blackburn and Greinke took the mound in the bottom half of the inning with a 6-1 lead. But instead of shutting the door, Greinke let the Twins back into the game.
With two outs, Greinke walked Jim Thome before giving up a double to Danny Valencia. Minnesota rookie Rene Tosoni, who entered the game with a .160 batting average, one homer and four RBIs, quickly hit a homer to left that closed Milwaukee's lead to 6-4.
``I've been making (mistakes) too much in big situations,' Greinke said. ``Those are the times when you've got to make good pitches and get out of them. I keep making bad pitches at the most important times. I've got to figure out how to stop doing that. It's upsetting.
``That pitch and the pitch to the batter before were real bad.'
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Greinke has been inconsistent, looking sharp against a batter or two and then following it up with hittable pitches.
``I think we've seen outings from him where he's really going to help us win,' Roenicke said. ``This wasn't one of them, the last one wasn't one of them. The one before, absolutely. He's still throwing a lot of good ball games. We've just got to get him in a stretch where he has a lot of them in a row.'
After being able to get back into the game against Greinke, the Twins took advantage of the Milwaukee bullpen to complete the comeback.
The Twins trailed 7-5 in the seventh before Michael Cuddyer hit a two-out RBI single off Kameron Loe (2-7). Thome was walked to load the bases and Valencia had his go-ahead hit, and Mark Kotsay misplayed the ball in left field for an error that also let Thome score on the play.
``It was hit hard,' Kotsay said. ``I was going to be aggressive and throw Cuddyer out at the plate and played it in between hops and at that point, I was just trying to block the ball. It was unfortunate. If I come up with the ball, I think we have a play on Cuddyer and try to keep the game 7-7 there.'
In the ninth, Milwaukee attempted a second ninth-inning rally in less than 24 hours. Twins reliever Matt Capps, tagged for four earned runs Saturday, gave up hits to Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart in the ninth before Glen Perkins recorded his first career save in two opportunities by striking out Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee.
After making the final out, McGehee snapped his bat over his leg.
``I felt good with the guys we had coming up,' Roenicke said. ``I think they made a nice pitching change. Perkins had been throwing the ball great and he continued to throw the ball great.'
Roenicke said that outfielder Ryan Braun, who injured his calf in Saturday's game, was not available to pinch hit in the ninth.
For Roenicke, Sunday's game simply continued a stretch in which Milwaukee hasn't played as well as it can. That was briefly masked by the ninth-inning comeback on Saturday night.
``I still go back to that we're not playing good baseball,' Roenicke said. ``Yesterday we did a great job of coming back offensively, but we're not playing good baseball.
After going only 6-9 against the American League, the Brewers are happy that interleague play is complete and they will face only National League opponents the rest of the way. Milwaukee is 39-31 against NL opponents.
``For our club, we're not really structured to have a DH in the lineup,' Kotsay said. ``Going back to the National League fits our style of play. We're going home, a place we feel comfortable with and hopefully we can have a great homestand before the All-Star break.'
NOTES: Newly announced All-Star Rickie Weeks ended an 0-for-21 slump with a home run in the Brewers' sixth. ... While Braun didn't play, his 22-game hitting streak remains active. ... Thome, who homered to lead off the second inning, leads all major leaguers with 59 interleague home runs. ... Mat Gamel got his first start at third base for the Brewers. ... The Twins finished interleague play with a losing record (8-10) for the second year in a row. The Twins went 53-19 against the National League between 2006-09.
The Associated Press News Service
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