Relievers step up for Crew until fateful 11th

Smith strikes out side in 8th; Jeffress, Knebel, Broxton also hold steady

Relievers step up for Crew until fateful 11th

ATLANTA -- Saturday afternoon's loss will be pinned on the Brewers' bullpen, but the relief unit still put in a tremendous day at Turner Field.

"Every guy that went out there did his job," said manager Craig Counsell following the 3-2, 11-inning loss. "[Will Smith] was great. I think he got five outs, [Jeremy Jeffress] got four. Corey Knebel came in in a tough spot, against some good hitters and went through the 3-4-5 [hitters]. It was great to see. [Jonathan Broxton] did his job in a tough spot. We were just one out away."

After starter Mike Fiers threw a strong five innings, the bullpen held the fort, putting up zeros over the next five innings, as Jeffress, Smith, Broxton and Knebel allowed only two hits and two walks while striking out seven and not allowing a runner past second base.

Fiers fans five

Smith was especially potent, striking out the side in the eighth, including a whiff of Alberto Callaspo, who came in as the toughest active hitter to strike out in the Majors (once every 11.75 at-bats -- and it should be noted that Fiers fanned him as well).

The only run the bullpen allowed, off Brandon Kintzler in the 11th, snapped a streak of 10 scoreless innings in the series.

Brewers relievers allowed only one of the six leadoff men to reach, and the one that did, Freddie Freeman -- who walked in the 10th against Knebel -- was thrown out as part of a strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out double play on the next hitter. Jeffress went 1 1/3 innings to extend his scoreless streak to seven consecutive appearances, covering seven innings.

Jon Cooper is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.