Trevor Rosenthal paid the price for his lack of command Wednesday.
Rosenthal reached three-ball counts to the first three Milwaukee hitters he faced in the ninth inning of a 4-4 game. He retired the first two, but walked pinch-hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis before Domingo Santana’s long homer to center that gave the Brewers a 6-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I threw too many balls and got behind in counts. That kind of gave them an advantage there, I feel like, to get something and see some more pitches,” Rosenthal said. “The ball (Santana) hit out, I feel like I made a mistake over the middle and he was ready to hit. He put a good swing on it.”
Rosenthal, who set a Cardinals record with 48 saves last season, said he feels just as comfortable in non-save situations.
“I just try to approach everything the same when I go out there,” he said. “Tonight’s just a good example of not executing pitches. Against good hitters, they take advantage of that.”
Rosenthal was ahead of Nieuwenhuis, but couldn’t finish him off. That was as frustrating to Rosenthal as the home run that was next up.
Full counts, deep counts. Not being able to put guys away. He was throwing a lot of pitches. He’s been so efficient, especially last year. His stuff looked good. It’s going to be getting it on the plate.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny on Trevor Rosenthal’s outing
“It was tough to let that get away,” he said of facing Nieuwenhuis. “I got ahead ... and couldn’t make a pitch to finish him off.”
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Rosenthal’s mistake was pitching from behind.
“Full counts, deep counts,” he said. “Not being able to put guys away. He was throwing a lot of pitches. He’s been so efficient, especially last year. His stuff looked good. It’s going to be getting it on the plate.
“This is a reminder of how hard this is. He’s going to have to continue to figure out ways to get ahead in the count. That’s his game. Once he does, (hitters’) chance of success go way down.”
Rosenthal has thrown 63 pitches in his last two outings.
Mike Leake got a no-decision in his home debut with the Cardinals. Leake allowed four runs (earned) on eight hits in six innings, with one walk and six strikeouts.
“I thought Leake was good,” Matheny said. “He was the same guy we’ve seen in the past. He gets ground balls. He had a few get through in big situations.”
Leake had a 3-1 lead until the fourth when the Brewers got within 3-2. In the fifth, Jonathan Lucroy’s RBI single was followed by Chris Carter’s double that made it 4-3.
Brandon Moss tied the game in the eighth with a pinch-hit homer against Michael Blazek. It was the Cardinals’ fourth pinch-hit homer of the season after they hit just four last year.
“When you’re pinch-hitting, you’re not very choosy,” said Moss, who hit an 0-2 curveball into the seats in right-center. “You’re just trying to get a strike and a swing. It’s nothing like a regular at-bat. You’ve just got to swing when you see a strike. I was down 0-2 and he hung a breaking ball there. I was pretty fortunate with that, but I’ll take it.”
The Cardinals committed two errors, giving them 12 this season. Eleven of them are on infielders, but Matheny remained steadfast.
“I’m comfortable and confident in our infield defense,” he said.