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05/29/08 5:28 PM ET
McClung struggles in loss to Braves
Right-hander exits amidst five-run fifth inning in series finale
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Hot-hitting Braves third baseman Chipper Jones didn't beat the Brewers on Thursday; the guy hitting behind him did. Mark Teixeira drove in four runs and hit a three-run home run after Jones was intentionally walked in a five-run Braves fifth inning, sending the Brewers to an 8-1 loss in the finale of a three-game series at Miller Park. Teixeira did not single-handedly get in the way of Milwaukee's chance to sweep the series. A poor outing by starter Seth McClung (2-2) contributed, as did a sloppy defensive sequence in the third inning, an unlucky interference call against Corey Hart in the fourth, and Hart's baserunning mistake in the sixth. The fact that the Brewers' hitters struck out 12 times while Braves hitters drew 11 walks did not help, either. For the fifth time this season, the Brewers were a win away from a three-game sweep. For the fourth time in those five tries, they instead settled for a series win. "That's what I have to take," said manager Ned Yost. "I wouldn't have settled for that going into today, but that's the way it is." Third baseman Russell Branyan hit a solo home run, but the Brewers were otherwise blanked by Braves starter Jorge Campillo (2-0), who allowed one run on four hits in five innings of work. Campillo also contributed a two-run single in Atlanta's big inning. All of those runs were charged to Brewers starter Seth McClung (2-2), who surrendered six runs, eight hits and six walks in 4 2/3 innings in his second start of the season. Two of the walks were intentional, further damaging McClung's woeful strike ratio -- 48 of his 84 pitches were balls -- and both times the Braves made him pay. Jones, who singled in his first two at-bats to briefly boost his average to .425, was intentionally walked with first base open and one out in the fifth inning. Teixeira followed by lining McClung's 2-0 fastball over the right-field fence for a 4-0 Atlanta lead. "A guy that's hitting .423, you're not going to let beat you in that situation," Yost said, referring to Jones, who was at .420 by game's end. "You can pitch to Teixeira. We just didn't make a pitch." McClung concurred. "I left a pitch in to Teixeira that he hit, that's the bottom line," McClung said. "It got away from me. The pitch was called right; it was down and away. It just got up and in on him, and he hit it. I hate losing; I can't stand it, but he beat me right there." Three batters after Teixeira's home run, with two outs and a runner at second base, McClung intentionally walked Gregor Blanco to face the .080-hitting Corky Miller, who walked on four pitches and prompted a call to the bullpen. Campillo, who was 0-for-8 at the plate in his brief career, singled past a diving Hart in right field for two more runs and a 6-0 Braves lead. McClung, who moved into the rotation last weekend in place of Carlos Villanueva, will get at least one more start, Yost said. "I'm not trying to put a positive spin on anything, because losing stinks, bottom line," McClung said. "I got behind in the count and we lost. It's my fault. But I have to look at this and say, 'What did I do right?' In five days, hopefully, I have to do it again. I have to build on it." At least McClung avoided a Yovani Gallardo-like injury near first base. In a scene somewhat reminiscent of the collision earlier this month that sent Gallardo to the disabled list with a knee injury, McClung tangled with Teixeira when he tried to leap for second baseman Rickie Weeks' high throw with two outs. Teixeira was credited with an infield hit and an RBI on the play, giving Atlanta a 1-0 lead. McClung, after tumbling to the grass, remained in the game. The Brewers did not help McClung's cause at the plate or on the basepaths. Hart was called out for interfering with Atlanta catcher Miller's throw to third base with Ryan Braun stealing in the fourth inning. The throw sailed into left field, and Braun would have scored the tying run, had it counted. Hart did appear to duck as Miller released the ball, but only after he took a step or two back. Miller made contact with Hart and home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild immediately called interference. Yost sought clarification from Fairchild and said he agreed with the call, as did umpiring supervisor Jim McKeon, who watched the game from the press box. "He has to get out of the way," McKeon said of Hart. "It's that simple." "He's got the right to maintain his position in the batter's box, but when you move out of the batter's box ... it's naturally interference," Yost said. "That was a pretty big play, because at that time, I thought that we'd gotten the run." In the sixth, Prince Fielder singled with two outs, but couldn't score when Hart lifted a double into the right-field corner. Fielder was held at third by coach Ed Sedar, who was filling in for regular third-base coach Dale Sveum while Sveum attended his daughter's graduation. Sedar made the correct decision, according to Yost, but Hart didn't see it and was caught in a rundown off second base. Fielder eventually had to vacate third and was tagged out halfway to home plate to end the inning. "I'm a little faster than Prince, so I caught him pretty quick," Hart said. "At the same time, you have to know what Prince is going to do. I thought for sure he was going to get waved in, but obviously [Braves right fielder Jeff] Francoeur has a great arm. It's my fault. I didn't look at Eddie."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.