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Garza dominates before injury, bullpen fails Brewers in 3-2 loss to Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS - For six innings, Matt Garza was in top form. Then he tweaked a left oblique and it all fell apart for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers' bullpen quickly surrendered a two-run lead that had once seemed so secure in a 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.

"It was bad enough where I had to take myself out of the game and I don't do that," Garza said. "There's too much left in the season and I thought I'd make the smart play."

Manager Ron Roenicke said Garza will be examined on Monday after feeling his side grab on one of his final pitches.

"He couldn't keep going," Roenicke said. "Great game, great fastball. He had a lot working."

Garza said he had a similar injury last spring.

"I hadn't even thought of it and it just happened, and you try and think of what you did," Garza said. "It felt like a muscle grab, and it was one of those, and son of a gun."

John Lackey won his St. Louis debut when the Cardinals rallied for three runs in the seventh inning, capped by a go-ahead from rookie Oscar Taveras.

The Cardinals took two of three from NL Central-leading Milwaukee and pulled within one game of the division lead.

"We played a good ballgame," Roenicke said. "Got a couple of runs of Lackey and put up some zeroes and you feel pretty good about the game.

"It didn't work out."

Lackey (1-0) was the Cardinals' big catch at the trade deadline that capitalized on Boston's sell-off. The right-hander won the clinching Game 6 of the World Series against St. Louis last fall allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings and is 12-7 overall.

Trevor Rosenthal struck out Carlos Gomez with two on for his major league-leading 34th save in 38 chances.

Matt Holliday homered off Zach Duke with one out in the seventh. Recently acquired A.J. Pierzynski hit a tying single off Jeremy Jeffress (0-1) and Taveras singled up the middle.

Aramis Ramirez had an RBI single in the first for Milwaukee, his seventh hit of the series, and Mark Reynolds hit his 19th homer in the second.

Lyle Overbay pinch-hit for Garza in the seventh with two outs, a runner on first and the Brewers up 2-0. Garza had been coming up the dugout steps, but Roenicke said the pitcher hadn't heard him say he was coming out.

"When you're talking about obliques, you can't go out there," Roenicke said.

Overbay singled, raising his career average to .364 against Lackey, but Gomez popped up. Garza was out after just 71 pitches, and the Brewers' bullpen quickly surrendered the lead.

Garza needed just 38 pitches and faced the minimum the first four innings. He went to a full count for the first time against Matt Adams, who doubled leading off the fifth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Brewers: Second baseman Scooter Gennett and shortstop Jean Segura did not start, both nursing sore quads. Gennett struck out pinch-hitting in the ninth.

Cardinals: Outfielder Jon Jay missed his fifth straight start with a sore wrist from a checked swing in San Diego. He had to be extra disappointed, given he's 8 for 13 with a homer against Garza.

UP NEXT

Brewers: Milwaukee awaits the Giants, with Jimmy Nelson (1-2, 4.30) facing Tim Lincecum (9-7, 4.21) on Tuesday at Miller Park.

Cardinals: After an off-day, the Cardinals host Boston for a three-game series beginning Tuesday night. On Wednesday, Shelby Miller (8-8, 4.14) faces ex-teammate and close friend Joe Kelly (2-2, 4.37), who was traded to Boston in the Lackey trade. Miller and Kelly were the best man in each other's wedding.

NUMBERS GAME

Ramirez is batting .522 (12 for 23) during a six-game hitting streak. He's batting .459 (17 for 37) against the Cardinals this year with two homers and nine RBIs. He has 37 homers and 139 RBIs against St. Louis, most among active players.

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