LOS ANGELES — The Milwaukee Brewers accomplished a rare feat Sunday afternoon, handing the Los Angeles Dodgers a 3-2 loss at Dodger Stadium and a series loss for the first time since June 5-7.
Left fielder Hernan Pérez gave the Brewers a solo home run in the third inning to give run support to Jimmy Nelson, who didn’t allow a hit through his first five innings. He finished with 6.2 innings of work, giving up two runs on four hits.
The day before, Milwaukee had beaten Los Angeles 3-0 behind a solid performance from Zach Davies. Nelson says the Dodgers series puts the Brewers back on track after a disappointing series loss last week to San Francisco.
“We proved to ourselves that we’re right there with the best teams,” Nelson said.
Though idle on Monday, the Brewers had climbed back to 2.0 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central standings with 31 games to play.
Sunday’s win was a chance for Milwaukee to show it was still a contender in the division with the season winding down. In the seventh inning, Eric Sogard made a defensive play which spoke to that mindset. With two outs and a runner on first, Yasiel Puig drove a liner up the middle which was stopped with a diving effort from Sogard, who then quickly got up and scorched a throw to Neil Walker for the out.
“It was great to kill that rally,” Sogard said. “He’s a good runner, and so I just tried to get my feet under me as quick as I could and get enough on the throw, and it worked out great.”
Corey Knebel came to the mound for Milwaukee for the final inning, notching his 29th save of the season.
MILWAUKEE — Zach Davies threw six-plus innings of shutout baseball, backed up by Eric Thames and Domingo Santana home runs to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday afternoon.
Davies allowed just three hits on the afternoon, striking out six batters and helping lower the ERA of Milwaukee’s starters to 1.32 over the last 10 games. After back-to-back bullpen collapses against the Dodgers, Milwaukee avoided the series sweep.
“They’re all in a very good place right now,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s a good feeling when we send a guy out there that’s on top of his game. I feel these guys are on top of their game and we’re getting to see quality outings, for sure.”
Closer Corey Knebel notched his fifth save of the year after blowing his two previous save opportunities. Prior to last night’s game, Milwaukee’s bullpen had given up 16 games — the most in MLB.
The Brewers bats were the only ones making any noise in Sunday’s contest, with Thames going yard in the first inning and Santana following suit in the eighth.
Pitcher Matt Garza was re-evaluated after suffering a chest contusion in Saturday’s 10-8 loss. He relayed the message from his doctor stating that it’s an injury that could get worse by Thursday (his next scheduled start) or it could dissipate.
MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers suffered yet another heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, this time by a score of 10-8 Saturday evening at Miller Park.
The Brewers took a 2-1 lead into the second inning and expanded it to 8-4 after a Travis Shaw grand slam in the seventh. But it was short-lived after Chris Taylor returned the favor in the ninth.
Matt Garza’s outing was cut short after running into teammate Jesus Aguilar. His night ended after four innings, giving up just a single earned run on three hits. Unfortunately for Milwaukee, the injury to Garza meant going to the bullpen early and that’s where the Dodgers took advantage. But while some fans blamed Carlos Torres for giving up the winning run(charged with the loss and a blown save), beat reporter Tom Haudricourt supported the decision made by manager Craig Counsell.
For what? Not trying to kill Barnes and Knebel and going with guy who had 1.54 ERA in last 12 games? https://t.co/LTeXoeV3Iv
Garza was diagnosed with a chest contusion and is considered day-to-day. There’s still no timetable for the return of Ryan Braun, who went on the 10-day disabled list on May 26 with a left calf injury.
Perhaps making matters worse for fans who believe in conspiracy theories, there’s this from MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy.
The Brewers have lost 9 of 13 since the rainless rainout at Wrigley Field.
MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson shined with 11 strikeouts over eight shutout frames, but solo home runs in the ninth and 12th innings gave the Los Angeles Dodgers a 2-1 victory Friday night at Miller Park.
Yasmandi Grandal homered off Corey Knebel (blown save) in the ninth to tie the game at 1-1, while teammate Cody Bellinger blasted the deciding run in the 12th off Neftali Feliz. Feliz would take the loss for Milwaukee, dropping his record to 1-5.
“I thought Neftali made a decent pitch to Bellinger. I did not think it was a bad pitch,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He executed a pitch that was up. I give [Bellinger] a lot of credit right there. It was an ‘up’ pitch, which is what we wanted to do. He got on top of a 95 mph fastball right there.”
Nelson’s performance on the mound was significant, as he became the first player in Brewers history to strike out at least 10 batters in consecutive outings without a walk. Just one season ago, Nelson led the Majors in walked batters with 86.
But Los Angeles received a gem of a performance from their starting pitcher, as Clayton Kershawk struck out 14 over seven innings to become the third-fastest pitcher to reach the 2000 strikeout mark in a career. The Brewers swung the bat early and often, striking out 26 times and tying a franchise record.
MILWAUKEE — When he stepped up to the plate in the eighth inning, the cheers grew loud from the fans as Ryan Braun had perhaps his final swings at Miller Park as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.
It was an ovation that drew a tip of the cap from Braun before striking out in the 4-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
“The fans here have treated me so well,” Braun told reporters after the game. “The love and support I’ve received here is as great as any athlete can hope to get from any fan base. People here, at least most of them, recognize there’s at least a chance that today’s my last home game as a Brewer. I’ve always appreciated the support. It means a lot to me.”
The Brewers finish the regular season with six straight road games before heading into an uncertain offseason. The Aug. 31 trade deadline fell just short of a blockbuster trade that would have sent Braun to Los Angeles as a member of the Dodgers, while Milwaukee would have received budding outfield superstar Yasiel Puig. Terms of the deal, including money exchanged, was reportedly decided before time ran out on the midnight deadline. Both teams have vowed to reconvene those talks this winter.
“Obviously that’s the closest I’ve ever come to being traded and it was an eye-opening experience. It made the last couple months for me a little bit more enjoyable here just to make sure that I took the time to reflect on everything and really enjoy the last couple months here just in case they’re my last.”
Those discussions with the Dodgers are part of a larger effort by the Brewers to not only shed some unnecessary weight of big contracts, but to build with a vision towards the future under general managerDavid Stearns. Braun knows that’s just part of the business.
Braun had some shining moments in Milwaukee:
Sept. 28, 2008 | Braun’s two-run home run in the eighth inning gave the Brewers a 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs, clinching a National League wild card spot
Sept. 11, 2011 | Braun drives in three with a home run to give Milwaukee a 4-1 win over Miami to help secure a National League Central title
May 25, 2015 | Braun clobbers a 474-foot home run in 8-4 loss to the Giants, the fourth-longest home run in Miller Park history
But fans will likely always remember the betrayal they felt after Braun tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in December 2011. He successfully argued his urine sample had been tampered with, only to be found guilty during the Biogenesis scandal of 2013.
Whether trade talks resume between the Brewers and Dodgers remains to be seen. But Braun seemed pretty confident his time was up with the Brewers, the team that drafted him fifth overall in 2005.