Saturday, May 25, 2013
From staff and news services
MILWAUKEE - Mark Rogers struck out a career-high seven in his first major-league start since 2010 and was in line for his first big-league win Sunday for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Mark Rogers, filling the rotation spot vacated by Zack Greinke’s trade to the Angels, got a no-decision Sunday after Milwaukee’s bullpen faltered again.
The Associated Press
Then the Brewers' bullpen blew a 7-3 lead, as the Washington Nationals rallied twice to force extra innings and added two runs in the 11th for an 11-10 victory.
Rogers, from Orrs Island, made his first major-league start since Oct. 1, 2010, and the third of his career. He allowed a leadoff homer to Steve Lombardozzi, then held Washington scoreless for the next four innings before giving up back-to-back doubles by Ryan Zimmerman and Tyler Moore in the sixth. He left after 5 2/3 innings with a 3-2 lead, giving up two runs on six hits and one walk.
Milwaukee extended its lead to 7-3 after seven innings, but the Nationals tied it with four runs in the eighth, leaving Rogers with a no-decision.
The Brewers regained the lead on home runs by Norichika Aoki and Carlos Gomez in the bottom of the eighth, but Washington's Michael Morse hit a two-run homer in the ninth, then delivered a two-run double in the 11th.
Pitching mostly off a fastball that topped out at 98 mph, Rogers got himself into a couple of tight spots, only to get right back off the hook with strikeouts.
"I felt good," said Rogers, who was 6-6 with a 4.72 earned-run average in 18 starts at Triple-A Nashville.
"Obviously it didn't start off the way I wanted it to, but I feel like that got me right into the game. Overall I was just trying to continue to do what I've been doing all year, which is execute pitches and just have confidence in my stuff.
"Throw my pitches with conviction, and I felt like that's what I did."
Milwaukee Manager Ron Roenicke said after the game that Rogers would remain in the rotation.
"Really good," Roenicke said when asked for his thoughts on Rogers' performance. "Thought he was a little tentative the first couple batters, then once he started letting it loose he was really good the rest of the game. Explosive, good command on his slider, on the curveball. Did a real nice job."
As for the bullpen costing him a shot at his first victory, Rogers was diplomatic.
"It happens. It's baseball," he said. "If it was predictable, then it wouldn't be as enjoyable to watch. That's part of the game."
Rogers, the fifth overall pick in the 2004 draft, made two starts and appeared in four games for the Brewers in 2010, recording a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings.
He was called up from Triple-A Nashville on Friday after Zack Greinke was traded to the Angels.
"I think I can safely say everyone in the organization thinks he's turned the corner," said Reid Nichols, director of player development for Milwaukee, prior to Rogers' call-up. "He's starting to become what we thought he would."
Rogers won five of his last eight starts for Nashville to even his record at 6-6 while lowering his ERA from 7.50 to 4.72. In his last three starts, he threw a total of 19 innings, allowing 13 hits and four earned runs while striking out 17 and walking seven. He allowed a total of three home runs in his last nine starts.
"The last month and a half I've felt pretty good," Rogers said last week. "This is the best I felt physically in a really long time. I finally feel like I'm over that stuff, and I'm excited to get past it."
That stuff includes a variety of surgical procedures and a lot of time spent in rehabilitation.
The Brewers' bullpen, meanwhile, is still in disarray, and the Brewers have lost nine of 10. Their bullpen allowed nine runs in the final five innings in the latest defeat.
Milwaukee's duo of Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford each allowed three runs in failing to protect another late lead. Jose Veras (3-4), another late-inning reliever, allowed the two-run homer to Morse in the 11th.
"The word I used earlier was 'inexplicable,"' Axford said. "It's tough to describe what's happening, especially after the run we had last year."