Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 6/25/12
With the team's first two batters on at the start of Monday's opener with the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds, the Milwaukee Brewers' offense seemed to be on the brink of bouncing back from its recent drought. But as the heart of the Brewers order continued to go down one by one at the hands of Reds' pitcher Mat Latos -- Ryan Braun by strikeout, Aramis Ramirez by pop out, and Corey Hart by another strikeout -- Norichika Aoki and Nyjer Morgan could only look on from the basepaths. The Brewers wouldn't threaten much on offense after that. And with just an Aoki solo home run to show for it, Milwaukee fell to its division leaders, 3-1, dropping to 4.5 games back in the NL Central race. And Monday, it was the offense -- or lack thereof -- that was wholly responsible. "We have to swing the bats," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We're not giving ourselves many opportunities to score runs. When you only get two or three a night, you better be really good with runners in scoring position and we really haven't been." Roenicke did give credit on several occasions to Latos, who threw, by far, his best game in Cincinnati. The right-hander tossed a complete game -- something Brewers pitchers haven't managed in 230 games -- and struck out 13 Milwaukee players, absolutely dominating on the mound against the recently anemic Brewers' offense. "He threw strikes," Roenicke said. "He came at us and through strikes with every pitch. . . . That was a great ballgame." It seems plenty of pitchers have had success against Brewers' pitching in the last few games, as White Sox pitchers Chris Sale and Jose Quintana both held Milwaukee scoreless and Latos allowed just one run on Aoki's homer. That type of offensive ineptitude in three of their last four games has left the Brewers with just two runs in three of four games, excluding their six-run outburst in the second game of their series with Chicago. With the exception of Aoki's run in the sixth inning on Monday, the Brewers have remained scoreless in 21 of their last 22 innings. And when you're playing as many close games as Milwaukee has recently, even the slightest bit of offense can make an enormous difference. That's been evident in the Brewers' past 8 losses, in which they lost by a combined 10 runs. On Monday, however, Roenicke couldn't fault his players for struggling to put runs on the board, even in a close matchup, due to Latos' overall dominance. "We've been in every game for the last two weeks," Roenicke said. "It seems like every night. I think today, I don't think we had a lot of opportunity. Latos, he threw the ball great." Follow Ryan Kartje on Twitter.
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