MILWAUKEE -- Clayton Kershaw hit a wall, and the Brewers took advantage to make a winner of their rookie manager on Monday.
Held to a run on three hits while Kershaw cruised through the first seven innings on 76 pitches, the Brewers scored three runs in the eighth off Kershaw and reliever Chris Hatcher for a 4-3 win over the Dodgers at Miller Park. The game ball went to new Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who had been formally named to the post less than 12 hours earlier.
"You're hoping that's what happens on Day 1. You're hoping your closer is giving you the game ball," said Counsell. "It's a nice feeling. It's one of those games you can list so many guys that played a part in it. That's a great way to start it, getting a team win like that."
It was the Brewers' third straight win and their fourth in five games during a relative hot streak that began with Ron Roenicke at the helm. He was dismissed late Sunday, and Counsell took over Monday morning on a three-year contract.
Hector Gomez, Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun delivered an RBI apiece during an eighth inning full of quality Brewers at-bats. Hector Gomez, who had tripled and scored in the sixth inning, connected again against Kershaw in the decisive eighth for his first Major League home run. Carlos Gomez greeted Hatcher with a tying double that denied Kershaw career victory No. 100, and Braun put the Brewers ahead when he hustled for a two-out infield single.
"After the fourth, we didn't do a lot offensively and their bullpen did a nice job," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who was ejected in the third inning for arguing after Kershaw was called for a balk.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Double web gem: With two out in the bottom of the second inning, Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins slid into left field while backhanding Martin Maldonado's bouncer, quick-released a one-hopper that first baseman Adrian Gonzalez gloved to end the inning.
Short honeymoon: Just three pitches into his managerial career, Counsell found himself managing a deficit when Joc Pederson lined a changeup from Brewers starter Kyle Lohse into the right-field bleachers. Lohse surrendered two more runs in the fourth inning, and was out of the game by the end of the fifth after allowing three earned runs on four hits and three walks.
No relation: Shortstop Hector Gomez and center fielder Carlos Gomez highlighted the Brewers' tying rally in the eighth inning. Hector, who had already tripled and scored against Kershaw in the sixth, connected again for career home run No. 1 in the eighth. After Adam Lind delivered a pinch-hit double after a nine-pitch battle that knocked Kershaw from the game, Carlos Gomez hit his tying double off Hatcher. More >
Upon further review: After the Gomezes conspired to tie the game in the eighth inning, the Brewers still needed one big hit, and Braun delivered it with his legs as much as his bat. He narrowly beat a slow roller to third base while Carlos Gomez scored the go-ahead run, then had to wait while the umpiring crew converged to check the replay. After one minute and 40 seconds, the call stood, and the Brewers owned the first lead of the Counsell era. More >
"It is a crazy game," Braun said. "You guys are around it every day. That's why you continue to compete and believe in the process. We were really able to do that tonight. We were competing every at-bat, every pitch and believing we were going to find a way to win."
"Look, I'm more nervous when I'm away from the ballpark. When you get me back in the ballpark, it feels right. I was nervous [Sunday] night, but when you get here, you're at the ballpark and you feel like you're where you're supposed to be." -- Counsell, on whether he had butterflies before his managerial debut
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The pitch counts through five innings offered an indication of each starter's stuff in the first half of the game: Lohse was at 105 pitches and finished for the night. Kershaw was at 53 pitches and cruising.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: Former Brewer Zack Greinke starts for the Dodgers at 5:10 p.m. PT, seeking to go 5-0 for the second consecutive season. He's 0-2 in four games against Milwaukee, but was 15-2 at Miller Park pitching for the Brewers.
Brewers: Here's an odd quirk: Matt Garza has pitched in 226 Major League games over parts of 10 seasons, including five in the National League -- and he's never worked against the Dodgers. It's the only franchise he's never faced. Garza will attempt to continue a streak of two quality starts beginning at 7:10 p.m. CT.