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Brewers seal losing record at home in shutout

September 25, 2010

MILWAUKEE — When their home record sat at 4-14 in mid-May, third baseman Casey McGehee told reporters the Brewers would get back to .500, even if it took until September.

It came down to the 80th game of the season at Miller Park, but they ultimately came up short. With a 4-0 loss to the Marlins on Saturday, the Brewers guaranteed a second consecutive losing record at home, dropping to 39-41 on the season in Milwaukee.

“I think my point in saying that before was that we weren’t just going to roll over on it, and just say, ‘Oh, well we struggle at home,'” McGehee said. “We were going to keep battling. From where we started to where we are now, we made up some pretty good ground as far as our record here I think.

“It’s a great place to play, and we didn’t do the best job of taking advantage of it at times. I think the whole thing is just a little bit disappointing overall when you look at the overall results, whether it be at home or on the road. We’ve got our work cut out for us, that’s for sure, for next year.”

With all the offense they put up over the last three days, the Brewers probably would have liked to have saved a couple runs for Saturday night.

After scoring 27 runs over the course of three straight wins, the Brewers couldn’t figure out Marlins right-hander Chris Volstad.

Any remaining doubts as to what side of .500 the Brewers would finish on overall were put to rest Saturday as well. With the loss, they dropped to 72-82 overall, guaranteeing they would finish with their second consecutive losing record.

The biggest reason behind the Brewers’ poor home and overall records could be attributed to their inconsistency, especially offensively. Fittingly, this week has provided an excellent example of such inconsistency.

Despite being among the league’s top run-scoring clubs — as evidenced in their 13-1 win over the Reds on Wednesday — the Brewers are among the leaders in being shut out as well. Saturday marked the 14th time this season Milwaukee was held scoreless.

“I think that’s going to happen when you have offenses like this,” McGehee said. “We’re kind of built on hitting the ball out of the park. We can do other things, but that’s how we’re built really, and you’re going to run into stretches where you’re not hitting the ball out or you run into tough pitching. It’s tough to sustain a barrage of power over any time.”

Volstad (11-9) tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering six hits while striking out two batters with no walks. Of those six hits off Volstad, none were for extra bases, which limited the Brewers’ ability to put together any sort of big inning.

Volstad’s success came on the heels of a five-hit shutout in his previous outing, a 4-0 Marlins victory over the Cardinals.

“I definitely tried to bring the last game into this game as much as I could,” Volstad said. “The pace I was working at helped me get momentum. I was getting the ball, getting the sign and making the pitch with not a lot of time to get myself out of whack.”

The Brewers’ biggest opportunity came in the eighth inning, when they loaded the bases with two out on three singles in a four-batter span. Reliever Jose Veras entered to face catcher George Kottaras, who ripped a liner to center field.

Unfortunately for the Brewers, it was hit right at center fielder Cameron Maybin, who secured the final out of the inning.

“You go up there and put a good swing on the ball,” Kottaras said. “That’s what I did. … He made a good play on it.”

Left-handed starter Chris Narveson delivered his fourth quality start in five chances this month, tossing 6 2/3 innings while giving up two runs on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts.

For Narveson, three hits — two first-inning singles and a seventh-inning homer — ruined what was otherwise an impressive outing.

“I felt pretty good,” Narveson said. “I know it’s toward the end of the season, but for me it actually felt pretty good. At times, I was a little erratic, but for the most part … when I missed with a pitch, I was able to make the adjustment.”

Narveson dropped to 11-9 on the season, despite posting his 11th quality start. Over his past 12 starts, Narveson has posted a 4-3 record with a 4.12 ERA, allowing 34 earned runs in 74 2/3 innings of work. In 14 previous starts, Narveson was 6-6 with a 5.87 ERA, giving up 50 earned runs over 76 2/3 innings pitched.

The biggest change, as his manager sees it, has been Narveson’s ability to realize what he needs to do to be effective.

“I think he’s kind of learned what type of pitcher he has to be, what works best for him,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha. “He does the fastball-changeup thing and mixes in a couple curves.

“I think he was trying to do too much with his breaking balls [earlier in the season]. He’s learned the back-and-forth game with his changeup, and that’s made his fastball better. He kind of saves his curveball for a finishing [pitch].”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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