MILWAUKEE -- Manny Parra's up-and-down season took another dip on Tuesday, when the Brewers left-hander left his start against the Cardinals after one inning with neck spasms and watched a parade of relievers scramble to fill innings in his wake.
They almost made it, but Trevor Hoffman's blown save in the ninth led to a 4-3 loss that had the Brewers feeling down about more than losing their starter.
"Outstanding," Parra said of the relief effort. "That's tough to come out and pick up eight innings of work like that. I give everybody credit."
As for his own prognosis?
"I have no idea, really," Parra said.
Parra woke up Tuesday morning with a stiff neck but said it was "completely out of my mind" by the time he took the mound against the Cardinals. On ball four to Matt Holliday, the Cardinals' fourth of five hitters in the first inning, Parra said his neck snapped back and he felt the pain return. He retired Ryan Ludwick to end the inning but alerted the trainers to his predicament.
"It's probably from sleeping [funny] or something like that," Parra said. "It doesn't sound like it's a big deal."
At the moment, Parra's next scheduled start is Sunday in Arizona. If he's unable to pitch, the Brewers could bump up right-hander Yovani Gallardo to work in his place.
Prince Fielder's first-inning homer gave the Brewers a 2-0 lead and Carlos Villanueva replaced Parra for three scoreless innings. Manager Ken Macha used eight pitchers in all, matching a franchise record for a nine-inning game.
The short night may have been especially disappointing to Parra given the opponent. He entered the night 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA in four starts this season against the Cardinals and 8-9 with a 7.49 ERA against everybody else.
Parra spent three weeks in Triple-A Nashville after a June 13 demotion, but hasn't missed a start since 2007, when he fractured his left thumb during a late-season bunt attempt.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.