video thumbnail

SD@MIL: Headley hits an RBI double in the fourth

MILWAUKEE -- During this fitful stretch where Mat Latos hasn't won a game in his past 11 starts dating back to last season, there have been particular moments and instances when he could at least pinpoint reasons for why he struggled.

Tangible things, such as a misplaced pitch or choosing the wrong pitch at the wrong time to the wrong hitter.

But Monday against Milwaukee, Latos was nearly left speechless after suffering his fifth loss of the season, as the Padres began an eight-game road trip with a 4-3 loss to the Brewers before a crowd of 27,058 at Miller Park.

"I really don't know what to say," Latos said, standing in front of his locker and in front of a group of reporters. "There's no excuses for what happened."

Truth be told, aside from allowing single runs in each of the first two innings, all while he burned through 51 pitches, Latos (0-5) didn't pitch that poorly, allowing four earned runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.

But as has often been the case in 2011, victory eluded him as the Padres (14-21) couldn't do much against Brewers pitcher Zack Greinke (1-1) and three relievers, who limited the Padres to eight hits while combining for 12 strikeouts.

The loss to the Brewers marked the 11th time this season (in 35 games) the Padres have struck out 10 or more times in a game. On five other occasions in 2011, they've struck out nine times.

Greinke, who was making his Miller Park debut for the Brewers, struck out nine in his six innings, though the Padres had sporadic success against him on Monday.

Jason Bartlett singled to right field to start the fourth inning and raced all the way around to score when Chase Headley doubled to the wall in right field.

In the sixth inning, with Greinke tiring, Will Venable tripled into the right-field corner to start the inning. Bartlett then dumped a soft single into right field to make it 4-2. Greinke finished the inning, fittingly, by getting Brad Hawpe on a called third strike.

"He threw the ball well ... we haven't seen a lot of him live," Padres manager Bud Black said of Greinke, who before this season pitched in the American League.

"You can see where he had success, his fastball was crisp and he repeated his delivery -- he threw a lot of strikes."

That's something Latos failed to do in the first two innings against the Brewers (15-20), and it cost him.

Latos faced six batters during the first inning, walking two and allowing a triple to Carlos Gomez that set up the Brewers' only run of the inning. He also uncorked two wild pitches, with one allowing Gomez to score from third base.

Latos threw 29 pitches in the first inning, with 12 of them balls. The primary culprit was his inability to get anything other than his fastball over. Eight of the balls he threw in the inning were breaking balls. Both wild pitches were on breaking balls.

"I was fighting to get everything over," Latos said flatly.

Latos threw another 22 pitches in the second inning, as leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks had an RBI single in the inning just off the glove of Bartlett. As was the case with Gomez's triple, Weeks hit was on a fastball up in the strike zone.

Latos later allowed a solo home run to Weeks in the fifth inning. In the sixth inning, he got two quick outs, then allowed consecutive doubles to Corey Hart and Jonathan Lucroy, the last bringing in a run.

Latos finished with two walks and four strikeouts. He is now 0-10 with one no-decision since he defeated the Dodgers on Sept. 7 of last season.

"His stuff is fine, it's just a matter of him stringing pitches together," Black said. "We'll see the really great pitch and then one out of the zone or bounced up.

"He hung in there again, didn't cave and got us into the sixth inning, where it looked like it might be an early exit."

The Padres made some noise in the eighth inning, as pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia doubled and moved to third base on Venable's single to right field. That's when Bartlett bounced a ball up the middle that shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt gloved and then flipped behind his back to Weeks, who threw to first to complete the double play.

"That was a great play. My visual is it's a hell of a play. Outstanding, spectacular," said Black.

Denorfia scored to make it 4-3, but the inning ended when Ryan Ludwick struck out for the third time. Comments