If Trevor Rosenthal is going to set the franchise record for saves, it will be on the St. Louis Cardinals’ final road trip of the season to Pittsburgh and Atlanta.
Rosenthal couldn’t protect a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning Sunday when the Cardinals fell to Milwaukee 8-4. Mark Rogers’ grand slam made it 5-3 and ended Rosenthal’s outing, and Khris Davis added a three-run homer against Seth Maness later in the inning.
Rosenthal, with 47 saves, blew just his third opportunity of the season, yet was greeted with boos as he walked off the field after Rogers’ 425-foot homer.
“We all would like to win every game. That’s part of sports,” said Rosenthal, whose only previous blown saves had been May 3 and July 12. “We’re fortunate enough to have a great fan base here and they care a lot about us. They don’t like to see us fail, but that’s also part of it, too.
“I felt good. I was trying to get in a groove and couldn’t quite get there.”
(Fans) don’t like to see us fail, but that’s also part of it, too. I felt good. I was trying to get in a groove and couldn’t quite get there.
Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal after allowing a grand slam in the ninth Sunday
The Cardinals (98-58) had been 86-0 in games they led after eight innings. The Brewers (66-90) had been 0-85 when trailing after eight.
“It’s a tough way to end it,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of the regular-season home schedule. “But you know what I’m going to say: I’m going to say how good Trevor has been all season. (He’s been) as good as just about anybody in a long time. It was just one of those days. It’s unfortunate, the timing of it.”
Rosenthal was trying to surpass Lee Smith (1991) and Brighton native Jason Isringhausen (2004) for the single-season team record in saves. He tied the mark last Monday.
St. Louis went ahead 3-1 on back-to-back homers in the seventh by Matt Carpenter (No. 27) and rookie Stephen Piscotty (No. 7) against Jeremy Jeffress. Kevin Siegrist then worked a scoreless eighth, but the Cardinals couldn’t add to their lead in the eighth.
Shane Peterson opened the Brewers’ ninth with a single, and Rosenthal then hit Martin Maldonado in the head with a changeup. Michael Reed ran for Maldonado, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch before Jonathan Lucroy walked to load the bases.
Rosenthal got ahead of pinch-hitter Rogers, but Rogers then clubbed an 0-1 fastball into the bleachers in deep left-center to put Milwaukee ahead 5-3.
Matheny said Rosenthal appeared out of whack “a little bit.”
“But we’ve seen that before,” Matheny said. “We’ve seen him get into bases-loaded situations, and the next thing you know, we’ve got a strikeout, a popup and we figure out a way to get out of it. He’s our guy to go to, and we’ve got to let him try to work through it. Today, it didn’t happen. (But) I’ve seen him make course corrections right in the middle of the inning.”
Maness fared little better, allowing a single to Logan Schafer and a sacrifice to Jean Segura before intentionally walking Adam Lind. Khrys Davis followed with a three-run homer to left, building the Brewers’ lead to 8-3. The Cardinals scored a token run in the ninth.
I’m going to say how good Trevor has been all season. (He’s been) as good as just about anybody in a long time. It was just one of those days. It’s unfortunate, the timing of it.
Cardinals manager Trevor Rosenthal
Rosenthal seemed particularly shaken after hitting Maldonado.
“Everything felt like it was on line the whole way; it just came out a little early,” Rosenthal said. “It’s one of those deals where I can’t explain how it happened, but it did. I kept my focus and tried to make a good pitch, but Rogers did a good job of getting a good pitch to hit there. I couldn’t really pitch around him too much. It ran over the plate more than I would have liked.”
Rosenthal had permitted just one home run in his first 65 outings. Now he has allowed two homers in his past two outings, including one to Davis in the ninth inning Friday when Milwaukee defeated the Cardinals 4-3.
Rosenthal said he feels fine physically and is ready to go, and Matheny doesn’t believes there’s an issue that would force him to alter the way he’s used his All-Star closer.
“What we’ve been seeing has been very good,” Matheny said. “We’ll go day to day, which is what we always do. Today was a day he wanted the ball. We’ll have to regroup and see (Monday). But he’s been responding well. We’ve been giving him rest when we can.”
Matheny understood the boos that rained on Rosenthal.
“I get it, he gets it,” Matheny said. “This whole season has put everybody to the test, with all the close games. Our fans feel it, too. They’re invested in this deal.
“He’s been great; he really has. ... And he’ll continue to be very good. This was just one of those days that I think everybody sitting in the stands wanted it as badly as we did. They watched it slip away, and it got away in a hurry.”