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04/22/08 12:55 AM ET
Turnbow stumbles as Brewers fall
Milwaukee reliever gives up go-ahead run in ninth inning
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- What Corey Hart giveth, Ryan Ludwick giveth right back. Too bad for the Brewers, they couldn't take it all the way. After a wild eighth inning in which muffs by each of the right fielders spotted the teams a run apiece, Skip Schumaker hit a go-ahead double off embattled Brewers reliever Derrick Turnbow in the ninth and the Cardinals got away with a 4-3 win at Miller Park on Monday. Little-used Turnbow (0-1) pitched for the first time in six days and surrendered a first-pitch double to pinch-hitter Brian Barton, who moved to third when Cesar Izturis dropped another first-pitch fastball for a sacrifice bunt. Schumaker also was swinging at the first pitch, another fastball, and he sent a double to right-center field for the Cardinals' third lead in the ballgame. This time, it would hold up. The Brewers are the only team in baseball with a 14-man pitching staff, and they have not used reliable right-hander David Riske since Friday. Why Turnbow in that situation? "Because he's the freshest arm that we have out there," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He's been throwing the ball decent. He hasn't been given much of an opportunity." And one more thing. "He's an All-Star pitcher," Yost said. The trouble is, Turnbow has been struggling to find his All-Star form since he represented the National League back in 2006. He lost the closer role later that summer, and by his own admission, struggled with command and confidence throughout '07. But that confidence is starting to return, Turnbow insisted again Monday night. In his last two outings, both against the Cardinals, he has allowed three runs on six hits and a pair of walks in 1 2/3 innings. "Not really seeing the guy, and not being in the game, you're looking for one pitch, and one pitch down the middle," Barton said. "And he happened to throw it right there, and I took a good swing at it." Turnbow conceded that Cardinals hitters were "ambushing a little bit," just like they did last week in St. Louis. Still, he played up the positives. "The results are not there, but I feel like I'm starting to get back to where I was in '05 and early '06. I have the confidence to know I can go out there and throw strikes now. It's about maybe executing a little better, mixing it up a bit more." But how long can the Brewers wait? Apparently, a while. "We do a lot of checking with a lot of different people, and he's really getting close to being back to the old Derrick Turnbow that he was when he was really, really successful here," Yost said. "Yeah, it was a rough night for him. He gave up a run on three pitches. But the fact is that we're going to need this kid this year. We're going to need him to be the person he was when he was an All-Star pitcher and when he was successful last year. You don't do it by sitting down there [in the bullpen]." "It meant a lot" to pitch for the first time this season in a close game, Turnbow said. "I missed getting out there in those situations, so it felt really good," he said. "I wasn't intimidated by it or uncomfortable. I felt really good. I was glad I was able to only give up one [run] and keep it close. Last year, it would have been a totally different ballgame; I probably wouldn't have made it out of the inning." But one run was too much for the Brewers to overcome against Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen, who worked a 1-2-3 ninth, getting three ground balls for his seventh save. Ryan Franklin (1-1) was the winner despite surrendering the tying run in the eighth. The teams entered that eighth inning tied at 2, but it didn't stay that way for long. Brewers right fielder Hart misplayed what looked like a routine fly ball off pinch-hitter Ludwick's bat. Hart later said he lost it in the lights at the last moment, and Ludwick eventually scored on a sacrifice fly for a 3-2 St. Louis lead. The roles were reversed in the bottom of the inning. With a Brewers runner at third, Ludwick lost a Hart fly ball in the lights. The play initially was ruled a sacrifice fly and an error, but after further review, it was changed to an RBI triple. "I was definitely excited when it happened to him," Hart said. "I don't want to be the only guy to lose the ball in the lights. They're bright. Balls like that, that are medium [depth], they're tough to see." Hart was erased between third base and home plate when the Brewers put on the contact play and Bill Hall hit a one-hopper to the third baseman. "There's not much you can do about that," Hart said. Pinch-hitter Craig Counsell ended the inning with a groundout. Hart also was at the center of the action in the third inning, when he had a chance to help Brewers starter Carlos Villanueva after a pair of two-out walks. Troy Glaus hit a long fly ball to the right-field wall, and Hart had a chance, but he misjudged the depth of the warning track and mistimed his jump. Glaus got a two-run double for a 2-0 Cards lead. Hart's error in the eighth was a rare one for the Brewers. They entered the game tied with the Astros as the National League's best defensive team, with seven errors and a .990 fielding percentage. Both starters -- Villanueva for Milwaukee and Adam Wainwright for St. Louis -- worked seven innings and surrendered two runs.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.