Fri. Final: Dodgers 12, Brewers 8, 10 innings
By Todd Welter
History repeated itself and it was not the type of history worth repeating.
The Brewers' bullpen melted down for the second straight game as Trevor Hoffman blew just his second save opportunity of the year and Carlos Villanueva gave up six runs in the 10th inning. The Los Angeles Dodgers pounded out 13 hits to top the Brewers 12-8 in 10 innings at Miller Park.
The Brewers (44-41) have now dropped seven of their last nine games and are now three games back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL Central Division lead. The Dodgers (55-31) improve to a National League best 24-games above .500.
Talk about deja vu! The Brewers' bullpen blew a 1-0 lead in Thursday's 5-1 loss to the Cardinals thanks to the bullpen giving up all five Cardinals runs in the eighth inning. The difference in this game was this latest bullpen fiasco was not just a meltdown. It was a total crash.
"We couldn't close the deal," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "Everything broke loose in the 10th."
Villanueva gave up three hits and three walks during the 10th inning. He allowed the go-ahead run to score on a RBI triple by Casey Blake which brought Manny Ramirez home. Things just kept getting worse from there as Russell Martin drove in Blake with a RBI single. Villanueva walked Orlando Hudson to load the bases and those bases were cleared on Matt Kemp's grand slam to left.
Kemp has been making a habit out of hitting grand slams as it was his third of the year.
The frustrating part of this loss was the Brewers almost won this game when Mat Gamel hit his fourth career home run in the eighth to put the Brewers ahead by a run.
Hoffman could not close the deal in the ninth as he gave up three hits and allowed the tying run to score on Mark Loretta's single.
"It shows how important it is to shut things down on a good team like that," Hoffman explained. "You get the lead like that, it is important to close the door."
Villanueva (2-6) took the loss much like he did on Thursday. Although, Villanueva's job does not seem to be in jeopardy.
"Before the last two days, he had four scoreless appearances," Macha pointed out. "One day he goes out and he's bad and then runs off a couple three [good] games. The thing that concerns me is you don't know which your going to get."
Ramon Torosco (3-0) got the win in game that had more twists and turns than a Hollywood script. The game had five lead changes, was tied three times and had plenty of villains-- namely Manny Ramirez, who has booed every time he came to the plate or made a catch in the field.
Nobody was booing after he hit an absolute crowd silencing two-run shot to right-center field in the sixth inning off Braden Looper that put the Dodgers ahead by a run. That home run tied Ramirez with Mickey Mantle for 15th place on the all-time home run list with 536 career home runs.
Looper gave up five runs that came on four home runs. He gave up a solo shot to Andre Either in the first. James Loney hit a solo dinger in the fourth and Russell Martin added a solo blast in the sixth. Martin finished up with a 3-for-5 night with three runs and 2-RBI's.
"It is tough to win when you give up four homers," Looper described. "It's frustrating because I felt like I threw the ball pretty good. I made a couple bad mistakes and when I made a mistake, they made me pay."
Looper lasted six innings, allowed five hits, walked one and struck out two as he settled for a no-decision thanks to the Brewers tying the game up in the bottom of the sixth.
Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley loaded up the bases with walks to Prince Fielder and Mike Cameron along with a single to Gamel. Frank Catalanotto drove in Fielder with a single and that would be all for Billingsley as Guillermo Mota came on in relief. Mota yielded another run on J.J. Hardy's sacrifice fly to center.
Billingsley will have to wait another day to get his 10th win of the season as he had to settle for a no-decision. He was not particularly effective in his five innings of work. He gave up five runs on five hits, walked four and struck out four.
The Brewers got their first runs in the bottom of the first courtesy of Gamel's sacrifice fly and Mike Cameron's RBI single. Cameron reached base four times on three singles and a walk.
Hardy broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fourth inning with a shot over the right-field fence. Hardy finished with 3-RBI's. The Brewers did make one last charge in the bottom of the 10th but it was too little, too late as the Brewers picked up just two runs.