video thumbnail

MIL@ARI: Morgan flashes the leather in the seventh

PHOENIX -- Randy Wolf was not perfect on Monday night, and the way his D-backs counterpart pitched, that was a very serious problem.

Arizona right-hander Josh Collmenter carved up Milwaukee's lineup for the second time this month, allowing only three hits over eight shutout innings to send Wolf and the Brewers to a 3-0 loss at Chase Field.

The only Brewers baserunner after the first inning was Yuniesky Betancourt, who bunted for a hit leading off the sixth inning. Collmenter had retired 12 hitters in a row before Betancourt's surprise bunt, and he retired nine more after it.

The Brewers' ninth shutout loss -- all on the road -- meant the National League Central has a new first-place team. Not since 1992 have the Pirates stood alone atop the standings this late in a season. 

"I did everything I could do," said Wolf, who worked into the eighth inning but was outpitched by the 25-year-old Collmenter.

Wolf limited the damage to three runs (two earned) in 7 1/3 solid innings, but his error contributed to an unearned run in the third. D-backs second baseman Ryan Roberts put the game away with a two-out, two-run homer in the sixth.

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

This was Collmenter's first start since July 6, when he allowed three hits in six scoreless frames at Miller Park. The Brewers managed to win their first matchup, but not this one. Collmenter struck out seven, didn't walk a batter and allowed only one hit that reached the outfield -- Nyjer Morgan's single to left field with one out in the first inning.

Morgan advanced on a groundout, then tried to score on Prince Fielder's infield single. Arizona shortstop Willie Bloomquist made a diving stop deep in the hole and threw home from his knees in time to retire Morgan. It quieted the Brewers' only scoring chance.

Collmenter did not touch 90 mph until his 105th and final pitch, but he kept the Brewers off balance with a mix of cut fastballs, curveballs and changeups from an extreme overhand arm angle that prompted comparisons from both Wolf and Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks to right-hander Chris Young, whose best seasons were with the Padres.

"He's got the crazy motion, the crazy delivery," Roberts said, "and when he's throwing strikes, he's hard to pick up."

Collmenter won for the first time in seven starts.

"I think today was a culmination of everything that I can do as a pitcher," he said. "I really had everything working, mixing in and out. That's the keys to my game, and if I can keep the hitter as uncomfortable in the box as possible, then odds are I'm going to have some success."

He's had a lot of success against the Brewers. Before his two most recent outings, both against Milwaukee, Collmenter was 0-4 with a 7.54 ERA in his previous four starts.

"I knew that they'd seen me before, even though it had been a couple weeks," Collmenter said. "I just wanted to make sure I went out there and didn't change a whole lot from last time I had success, and I just wanted to see how they'd react and adjust to what I was doing. I was able to kind of plug along and get some early outs and quick innings when I needed them."

Wolf and the Brewers' defense gifted a run in the third inning before the D-backs took control in the bottom of the sixth. Morgan robbed Arizona outfielder Justin Upton of extra bases with a leaping catch in left-center field, but Chris Young followed with a booming double and Roberts smacked a two-run homer.

Roberts came close in the second inning, when he flied out to deep left field. It was one of a number of loud Arizona outs that fell short of the fence, until Roberts homered for the second straight night.

"There was a different sound to that one than all the others," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.

Said Wolf: "That was a no-brainer."

Wolf lost to the D-backs for the second time in three starts. He was much more effective Monday than on July 5 at Miller Park, when Wolf surrendered seven runs on 10 hits -- including a pair of homers.

Only two of the three runs off Wolf were earned, but the other scored after Wolf's own error in a third inning that also included fielding miscues -- but not errors -- by All-Star infielders Fielder and Weeks. The Brewers helped Arizona load the bases with nobody out, but Wolf escaped with just a one-run deficit thanks to a double-play grounder.

Wolf's error came when he fielded Collmenter's bunt and mistook the umpire for Weeks at second base. His throw sailed into center field.

"Anytime you don't play defense it's a concern, but Randy did a nice job of getting out of that and keeping them to just one run," Roenicke said. "We gave them some extra outs there." Comments