A series that began with lots of promise ended in embarrassing fashion for the Milwaukee Brewers.
After shutting out the best team in the major leagues in the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Brewers had their doors blown off in consecutive games – the latest a 12-6 defeat at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night that capped a disappointing 2-4 road trip.
Los Angeles batted around twice in the first four innings, with much of that initial damage coming against starter Adrian Houser. All told, the Dodgers outscored the Brewers, 22-7, in the final two games of the three-game series.
“We pitched really well the first game; we didn’t pitch very well the last two games,” manager Craig Counsell said on the postgame broadcast. “That’s the story.”
The loss left the Brewers with a 3-4 mark against the Dodgers for the season.
More important, it cost them a prime opportunity to gain ground in their hunt for a postseason spot as both the San Diego Padres (1½-game lead for the third wild-card spot) and St. Louis Cardinals (up 5½ games in the Central Division) were losers on Wednesday as well.
The game got off to a good start for the Brewers when Willy Adames hit a solo homer off left-hander Andrew Heaney two batters in.
It was the career-high-tying 25th for Adames, who is now four away from tying Robin Yount for the franchise record by a shortstop.
But things degenerated from there – and quickly.
Houser, making his first start since June 30 after being reinstated from the injured list, opened by walking Mookie Betts and Trea Turner, a harbinger of what was to come.
Before all was said and done, the Dodgers had plated four runs and the right-hander’s pitch count sat at 39.
Los Angeles drew three walks and got RBI singles from Freddie Freeman and Justin Turner with Cody Bellinger then capping the damage done against Houser with a two-out, two-RBI double to right that made it 4-1.
“It was a rough first inning,” Counsell said. “It makes it tough for anything positive to come out of it, really.”
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Houser didn’t allow a run in the second inning but still labored, issuing his fourth walk and also having to endure an Adames error as his pitch count climbed to 66.
Adames singled and Hunter Renfroe doubled him in to draw Milwaukee to within 4-2 in the third.
After allowing a Chris Taylor double and Bellinger single with one out in the third, Houser was removed in favor of Peter Strzelecki. Then two batters later, a botched toss by Adames on what should have been a double-play grounder by Austin Barnes allowed Taylor to score.
Houser (4-9) threw 81 pitches in his 16th start, allowing five hits and four walks while being charged with five runs. He’s won once since May 5 while the Brewers dropped to 5-11 in his starts.
The Brewers’ offense failed to make much headway against Heaney – he’d generated 15 swings and misses and had struck out eight through four innings – not that it would have mattered much anyway with the way the Dodgers were swinging it.
Three singles, two doubles and a walk against Hoby Milner in the fourth increased the deficit to 9-2 and moved the game into blowout territory for the second consecutive night.
Heaney struck out 10 in six innings, limiting the Brewers to four hits and two runs.
Jason Alexander pitched 3 1/3 innings out of the bullpen to eat up some important innings and help save the bullpen from being further taxed heading into a six-game homestand against the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Adames doubled off Joey Gallo’s glove in the seventh to reach base for the fourth time in as many plate appearances. He had a chance at the cycle but flew out in the ninth against position player Hanser Alberto.
Renfroe capped the scoring with a two-run homer in the ninth.
Pablo Reyes pitched the eighth for Milwaukee and retired the side on nine pitches – one of which was clocked at 36.7 mph.
Brewers make roster moves
Before the game, the Brewers optioned right-hander Trevor Kelley to Class AAA Nashville in order to make room for Houser on the 26-man roster.
In addition, right-hander Jake Cousins was reinstated from the 60-day IL and optioned to Nashville, and right-hander JCMejía was outrighted to Nashville.
Cousins, who is 2-1 with a 4.50 earned run average and 13 strikeouts in eight innings over eight appearances for the Sounds, had been on the IL since May 1 with a right-elbow issue.
Mejía, who pitched twice for the Brewers earlier this season before being banned for 80 games after a positive PED test, is 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings over 13 appearances for Nashville.