Brewers lose sixth straight; Nelson hurt

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Tom Haudricourt
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
September 17, 2015

This season can't end soon enough for the Milwaukee Brewers.

As if all the losing weren't bad enough, starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson was struck on the head by a line drive in a scary incident Thursday night at Miller Park during the Brewers' 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. It was the Brewers' sixth consecutive loss.

By all appearances, Nelson had escaped serious injury. The team later announced he suffered only a bruise but would be held in a hospital overnight for observation.

A hush came over the crowd when St. Louis' Tommy Pham hit a liner back up the middle in the third inning that struck Nelson on the right side of the head and caromed into foul territory in front of the Cardinals dugout. Nelson went down hard and was face down, motionless, for a few moments as the Brewers athletic trainers rushed to his aid.

Nelson eventually rose to his knees, drawing applause from the crowd. He then got up and walked off under his own power, again eliciting a huge ovation. The team announced that he was en route to a nearby hospital for a CT scan but was “lucid,” a very good sign.

The frightening moment put a further pall on another loss to the Cardinals, who swept the three-game series from the Brewers. St. Louis is 11-4 against Milwaukee this season with four games remaining at Busch Stadium.

Yes, the Brewers are having an awful year and, yes, they traded away a half dozen players in July, but the Cardinals' domination goes way back. They are 52-23 in the teams' last 75 meetings and 28-10 in their last 38 games at Miller Park.

The Cardinals wasted no time jumping on Nelson. Matt Carpenter led off the game and Wednesday night hero Pham continued his assault on Brewers pitching with an RBI triple into the right-field corner.

Jason Heyward bounced back to Nelson, but Jhonny Peralta cracked a sacrifice fly to right to make it 2-0.

St. Louis boosted its lead to 5-0 in the scary third inning that included Pham's shot off Nelson's head. That double scored Carpenter, who led off with a double and continued to third on an error by centerfielder Shane Peterson.

After David Goforth replaced Nelson, Heyward singled to right to score Pham. Heyward came around to score when Peralta doubled and Peterson committed his second error of the inning.

And it only got worse. Carpenter made it a 6-0 game in the sixth with his 23rd homer and second in two nights.

Meanwhile, the Brewers were having no luck against Cardinals starter John Lackey (seven shutout innings). They hit into double plays in the first two innings and Elian Herrera lined out to center to strand a pair of runners in the third.

The Brewers' best chance to break through against Lackey came in the sixth, when Scooter Gennett led off with a single and Herrera followed with a walk. But Ryan Braun and Adam Lind flied out, and Khris Davis went down swinging, and that was that.

The bad news just kept coming as the night wore on. St. Louis slugger Matt Holliday, returning from a long absence with a leg injury, pinch hit in the seventh inning and with his first swing sent a scorching liner into the lower stands that drilled a male fan right on his nose. Play was stopped for a period while that fan received treatment.

Jean Segura blasted a three-run homer in the ninth off reliever Mitch Harris to allow the Brewers to avoid a sixth shutout against St. Louis this season.

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