In the same game Wandy Rodriguez made his 47th consecutive start of five or more innings for the Houston Astros, Zack Greinke lasted all of two batters.
It's been that kind of season so far for the Milwaukee Brewers, who on Saturday afternoon lost their ace four pitches into his start at Minute Maid Park after he was ejected for spiking the ball into the dirt following a close play at first base.
Manager Ron Roenicke was tossed in the aftermath, and the Astros went on to beat the shell-shocked Brewers, 6-3, to snap a nine-game losing streak.
There's a chance Greinke could come back and start Sunday in the Brewers' final game before the all-star break. But that was of no solace on Saturday, when Milwaukee literally had the wind taken out of its sails with its best pitcher and manager tossed before the players could even break a sweat.
"It's definitely a blow," said Roenicke afterward. "You've got your guy out there pitching; Zack's been pitching great for us; and we're taken out of a game in the first inning and trying to scramble and figure out what we're going to do."
The Brewers got runners to the corners with two outs in the opening inning against Rodriguez but failed to score when Corey Hart grounded out to second.
Then things got crazy.
On the first pitch Greinke threw, Jordan Schafer sent a sinking line drive to center field that Carlos Gomez made a diving attempt on but missed.
The ball scooted under him and rolled far enough for Schafer to think about an inside-the-park home run, but Schafer ultimately stopped at third, bringing up Jose Altuve.
On the second pitch he saw from Greinke, he sent a hot shot to first that Hart stopped with a dive. As Schafer scored, Hart got up and tossed to Greinke, who was late getting over to cover first.
It was a bang-bang play and umpire Sam Holbrook ruled Altuve safe. Immediately afterward, Greinke angrily threw the ball into the ground. Holbrook, who had his back turned to Greinke at the time, turned back around and threw him out of the game.
While Greinke tried pleading his case, Roenicke sprinted out of the Brewers' dugout. Not long thereafter, he, too, was ejected to the delight of the crowd of 23,027.
"He said he thought Zack showed him up, was mad at the call," said Roenicke, whose ejection was his first of the season and second of his career. "He overreacted. He didn't even see what happened. Zack was behind him - he didn't even see him spike the ball or anything.
"You need to know 100 percent what happens if you're going to throw out a starting pitcher after four pitches in a ball game."
Greinke ejected 4 pitches into Brewers' loss
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Jul 8