MILWAUKEE -- Another game against the Brewers, another walk-off loss for the Dodgers on Wednesday night.
This one went to Milwaukee, 3-2, on Ryan Braun's game-winning sacrifice fly in the 10th inning on the heels of Tuesday night's 5-4 decision. The Dodgers are 9-1 against the Padres and Pirates, but 0-2 against Milwaukee, a team that reached the playoffs last year.
The Dodgers even deployed a five-man infield at the end, and thought they had narrowly escaped when Matt Kemp, playing left-center field in a two-man outfield, caught Braun's shallow fly ball for the second out and two-hopped catcher A.J. Ellis with a throw just to the third-base side of the plate.
Pinch-runner Nyjer Morgan, running through third-base coach Ed Sedar's stop sign against a two-time Gold Glove outfielder, not only was beaten to the plate by the throw, but his lead foot was blocked by Ellis' barehand while Ellis' glove tagged Morgan's backside as he tumbled onto the plate.
Plate umpire Mike DiMuro didn't see it that way, calling Morgan safe and telling Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, "[Morgan] got to the plate." Mattingly was left seeking technical assistance.
"I just saw the replay and, obviously, we should still be playing," said Mattingly. "That's a good argument for another case for instant replay. They'll look at a home run, but not a play at the plate that costs a game.
"It looked like the ball beat him. From our end [the third-base dugout], you can tell. A.J. said he tagged him up the line, tagged him on the butt. He still isn't on the base yet."
More surprising than the umpire's call was Morgan's decision to run on Kemp over the judgment of his third-base coach.
"Nyjer, he's got energy, and he felt it," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "Sometimes the player may see something a little bit different than a coach does. It worked out good."
Jonathan Lucroy led off the winning rally with a walk from Matt Guerrier, who followed two scoreless innings from Josh Lindblom and one from Kenley Jansen. Former Dodger Cesar Izturis popped up a bunt for an out, but Morgan stole second and continued to third when Ellis' errant throw sailed into center field.
"I just tried to make a play," said Ellis, who threw out Carlos Gomez trying to steal second to end the eighth inning. "I saw he got a great jump on a slow curveball and I rushed it. I wish I stayed within myself. It came back to haunt us."
Mattingly then unveiled the five-man infield, which he said the club worked on in Spring Training and is designed to plug the infield on slow-hit balls for a play at the plate and increase the chances of a double play on hard-hit grounders.
He brought left fielder Jerry Hairston to play between first baseman James Loney and second baseman Mark Ellis. Rickie Weeks was walked intentionally to put runners on the corners, then stole second. Pinch-hitter George Kottaras, whose two-run double won it Tuesday night, walked to load the bases for Braun, who neutralized the five-man infield by hitting the ball to the outfield.
"I felt we had to have something to give ourselves a better chance to get out of the inning," Mattingly said of the strategy, which required Kemp to move laterally from left-center to catch the ball instead of toward home plate had he been playing a normal center-field position.
The final play was the only time the Brewers led. The Dodgers gave starter and former Brewer Chris Capuano two slim leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but the Brewers battled back both times, tying it at 2 on a monstrous 444-foot home run by Aramis Ramirez in the sixth inning.
"It's kind of a familiar sight," Capuano said of the postgame celebratory scrum by the home team. "They have a lot of walk-off wins. They're tough here."
The Dodgers scored in the first inning on a Mark Ellis triple and Kemp single, his 17th RBI this season, then in the fifth on a double by Hairston, a broken-bat single by Tony Gwynn (both ex-Brewers) and an RBI forceout by A.J. Ellis, who lives in Milwaukee.
Capuano was lifted after six innings, allowing two runs in a no-decision. Brewers starter Zack Greinke left for a pinch-hitter after allowing two runs in seven innings.
"We've got to move on," said A.J. Ellis. "It's been two tough losses, but I'm sure they will help us in the long run. To be in close ballgames, all it can do is make us better."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.