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07/12/08 1:01 AM ET
Defense lets down Brewers in loss
Three errors, three wild pitches help Reds take series opener
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have made some defensive improvements this season, but they sure didn't show them on Friday night.
Second basemen Rickie Weeks, center fielder Mike Cameron and third baseman Bill Hall each committed an error that contributed to an unearned run, including the tying and winning tallies for the Reds, who came from behind to beat the Brewers, 6-5, at a sold-out Miller Park on Friday night.
Hall and Cameron drove in three of Milwaukee's five runs and Weeks scored in a four-run sixth inning, but their miscues loomed large. Weeks missed a ground ball to his backhand in the fifth inning, Cameron lost a line drive in the lights in the seventh and Hall short-hopped a throw to first base in the decisive eighth.
"Tough plays," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "You make them or you don't make them."
The Brewers have mostly been making them this season. After committing the fourth-most errors in the National League in 2007, they made defense a priority in Spring Training. Entering Friday, Milwaukee had committed 60 errors, sixth-most in the NL.
The Brewers took a 5-2 lead in the sixth inning, but the Reds tied it in the seventh and took back the lead in the eighth. Jay Bruce, who had reached base on Hall's 17th error this season, scored the go-ahead run from third on a wild pitch charged to closer Salomon Torres.
It was one of three wild pitches in the game for the Brewers; the other two belonged to starter Manny Parra, who nonetheless cruised into the seventh inning before coming unglued.
"I don't know if I had more adrenaline, or what," Parra said of that fateful frame. "But I did not make a pitch."
Parra and the Brewers were on a high entering that inning after the team rallied for four runs in the sixth against Josh Fogg and two Reds relievers. Corey Hart tied the game at 2 with a check-swing double down the right-field line off Bill Bray. Hall hit a go-ahead, two-run double off Gary Majewski and scored an insurance run when Cameron singled sharply to right field.
The rally ignited a crowd of 41,229, the 18th Miller Park sellout this season and the third this week.
Cincinnati answered quickly. Parra, who had allowed three hits in the first six innings, surrendered three in a row to open the seventh, including a David Ross single that made it 5-3. Parra finally recorded an out when he induced a run-scoring groundout by pinch-hitter Andy Phillips that made it a one-run game.
"All three of the hits in that inning were on meatballs," Parra said. "They did what they were supposed to do with it. I'm really disappointed."
Parra was charged with five runs -- three earned -- on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked one.
"I think maybe the excitement of scoring the four runs may have caught up with him," Yost said. "He went back out and he was really fast.
"There was a lot of excitement when we scored those runs. The crowd was into it and it's only natural for yourself, as a player, to get into it, too. You have to find a way to calm yourself down and get back on the field and get your job done."
The Brewers still had a chance to get out of the inning. Reliever David Riske inherited a 5-4 lead from Parra to face Jerry Hairston with a runner at first base. Hairston hit a line drive to center field but Cameron lost it in the lights, allowing the tying run to score.
"He had ran a mile for it and looked up and the ball was in the lights," Yost said. "It was scored an error, but it's not an error."
Said Cameron: "If you can't see it, you can't catch it. It was one of those trajectories that stayed on the same line. I'm just glad it didn't hit me in the face."
Reliever Brian Shouse (3-1) took the loss and Reds reliever Mike Lincoln (1-2) took the win. Two former Brewers closed the door for Cincinnati: David Weathers pitched the eighth and stranded the tying runner at third base, and Francisco Cordero threw the ninth for his 19th save .
Cordero struck out pinch-hitter Gabe Kapler to end the game. Kapler appeared to take issue with each of the final two called strikes by home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher, and after the game, Yost referenced the "very liberal strike zone."
It was a blessing for Fogg, who was charged with three earned runs on just one hit in 5 1/3 innings and who doubled his previous season-high by striking out six.
"It stinks because we made a good comeback there," Cameron said. "It stinks."