Published May 10, 2011
MILWAUKEE – Mat Latos refuses to make excuses. The losses keep coming anyway.
Latos (0-5) snapped a nine-start losing streak with a no-decision in his previous outing, when the bullpen blew his chance at a win. He's been foiled by a lack of run support throughout this ugly skid, receiving two runs or fewer while he was on the mound in eight of those games, including Monday night.
"I don't know what to say, to be honest with you. I really don't. There's no excuses for what happened," Latos said. "Like I said, I don't know what to say, I really don't."
Milwaukee took a 2-0 lead on a wild pitch by Latos in the first and three consecutive singles in the second, capped by Rickie Weeks' run-scoring hit.
"His stuff is fine. It's just a matter of stringing pitches together. We'll see the really great pitch, then we'll see one that's out of the zone, either bounced or up," Padres manager Bud Black said.
San Diego cut it to 2-1 on Chase Headley's double. Weeks homered, but the Padres got back within a run the next inning on Jason Bartlett's broken-bat RBI single.
Meanwhile, Brewers starter Zack Greinke was sharp in his home debut, striking out at least one batter in every inning, including Will Venable to start the game. Greinke froze Brad Hawpe with a 93 mph fastball to end the sixth.
Greinke left for a pinch hitter in the sixth after consecutive two-out doubles by Corey Hart and Jonathan Lucroy chased Latos and gave the Brewers a 4-2 lead.
"He hung in there again, which was a positive again. He hung in there, didn't cave in," Black said. "He got us into the sixth inning. After the first two innings it looked like it could be an early exit. So, that was good."
It still wasn't enough for the Padres, who are hitting a major league-worst .216 as a team. Greinke struck out nine over six effective innings and the Brewers got a key double play turned by shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and Weeks in the eighth.
With the Padres trailing 4-2, Milwaukee reliever Kameron Loe put runners on the corners with none out.
Betancourt snagged Bartlett's grounder deep up the middle and flipped a behind-the-back toss out of his glove to Weeks at second, who barehanded the ball and completed the double play while a run scored to make it 4-3.
The effort drew more oohs and ahhs from the crowd when a replay was shown after the inning, and cameras caught Betancourt and Weeks smiling and watching it again in the dugout.
"Great play. I still haven't seen a replay, but my visual right now is it was a hell of a play. Outstanding play. Spectacular play," Black said. "You'll find in games as they are moving late and if they are close, there are times when a great defensive play changes the inning."
John Axford pitched the ninth for his sixth save.
Just how bad has the hitting been for San Diego? Hawpe went 2 for 4, raising his average from .180 to .194, but the Padres didn't have a single hitter who finished the game with an average above Ryan Ludwick's .245.
Why have hits been so hard to come by? Black never finished his thought.
"Greinke had a good game. Axford has pretty good stuff. (LaTroy) Hawkins has a good arm, so ..." the manager said, trailing off.
NOTES: Padres 2B Orlando Hudson (right hamstring) and C Nick Hundley (right oblique) are traveling with the team even though neither is eligible to return from the 15-day DL on this eight-game road trip. ... The Padres have alternated wins and losses in their last eight games. ... San Diego's bottom of the order went 1 for 9 with five strikeouts. ... San Diego hitters struck out 12 times in 34 at-bats.
Colin Fly can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/cfly