Brewers stung by Dodgers in last at-bat
Braun's tying two-run homer upstaged by Ethier's winner
LOS ANGELES -- Ryan Braun hit a two-strike, two-out, two-run home run in the Brewers' four-run ninth inning on Sunday, but the Dodgers had an answer.Andre Ethier responded with a two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth, his second homer of the game and good for a 7-5 Dodgers win that left the Brewers with their first road series loss in nearly two months. It capped a weekend full of heroics on both sides, but that's nothing new for the Brewers, who rallied in the 10th inning on Saturday night for their 22nd win of the season decided in their last at-bats, most in the Major Leagues. "The last couple of nights have been pretty dramatic," said Braun, who started for the first time in a week after missing time with a back injury. "It was a lot of fun. [Saturday] night's was definitely a lot more fun because we came out on the winning end." Ethier also hit a fifth-inning solo home run off Brewers starter Jeff Suppan, who surrendered three homers in six innings. The winner came against reliever Carlos Villanueva (4-6), who was charged with two hits and two earned runs without recording an out. Dodgers lefty Joe Beimel (4-0) recorded one out for the win. That the Brewers were even playing in the bottom of the ninth inning offered some empty consolation. Mike Cameron hit a booming solo home run in the fourth inning, but Milwaukee was in a 5-1 hole after the eighth before getting some help.
Dodgers first baseman James Loney was charged with two errors on the same Craig Counsell ground ball, and Ray Durham, who replaced an injured Rickie Weeks at second base in the sixth inning, capitalized when he singled to right field off Chan Ho Park and cut Milwaukee's deficit to 5-3.J.J. Hardy grounded out to set up a showdown between Park and Braun, who said he hit three home runs in a game against Park in a Triple-A game last season. This time it appeared Park had the upper hand, as he got Braun to wave at consecutive pitches off the plate. The next off-speed offering hung, and Braun ripped it over the left-field wall, tying the score at 5. Park threw his glove to the dirt in disgust. "They probably thought they had that game won with a 5-1 lead in the ninth," Braun said. "No losses right now are easy, but if anything, I think it would have been more of a dramatic win than a tough loss." Braun was replaced by Gabe Kapler as part of a double switch that left Villanueva in line to work multiple innings. He lasted only two batters in the ninth, though he did have two strikes on both hitters he faced. Matt Kemp, who led off the game with a home run, sparked the rally with an opposite-field single. "If you were going to tell a Little League kid about a two-strike approach, you would take a film clip of that and show him," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "That was done perfectly. He didn't try to overswing, he didn't try to do too much. He just put the ball in play." Villanueva missed with his first pitch to Ethier, who fouled off the next offering and then took a called strike. The 1-and-2 pitch was a changeup, Vilanueva's best pitch, but it was too high in the strike zone. Right fielder Corey Hart made a courtesy leap at the right field fence, but this time, unlike on one and maybe two occasions on Saturday night, the baseball did not come back. "I made the pitch I wanted, but it needed to be more down," Villanueva said. "I definitely could have had a better location with both two-strike pitches. When they throw me out there again, I'm going to try to do my job again." The Brewers dropped two of three games at Dodger Stadium for their first road series loss in nearly two months. Since losing two of three at Minnesota from June 27-29, Milwaukee was 5-0-1 in series play and 15-5 in road games before the series here. Suppan worked six innings but surrendered a home run to all three Dodgers outfielders. Center fielder Kemp hit Suppan's first pitch of the game for a quick, 1-0 lead, and left fielder Manny Ramirez followed a few batters later with a two-run shot. Ethier took Suppan deep in the fifth. Ramirez added an RBI single in the seventh off reliever Seth McClung for a 5-1 Dodgers lead. He finished with three RBIs. "Definitely, the addition of Manny changed their lineup," Suppan said. "I knew they were a good team, but when you add a little extra power like that, it's always nice." The Brewers squandered early opportunities against Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who worked six innings and was in line for the win with two outs in the ninth. Weeks was stranded at third base in the first inning, then struck out with the bases loaded in the second. Weeks later left the game with a sprained left thumb. Kershaw scattered eight hits including Cameron's fourth-inning home run that cut the Brewers' deficit to 3-1. Kershaw walked one and struck out six to move to the verge of winning his third straight decision. Suppan was on the hook for the loss before the Brewers staged their second late-inning comeback in as many nights. "That's the kind of team we are," Suppan said. "We play a hard nine [innings]. When you do that, you're going to still lose, but you're putting pressure on the other team."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.