Brewers' lapse opens door for D-backs

Brewers' lapse opens door for D-backs

Brewers' lapse opens door for D-backs
PHOENIX -- Considering the Brewers' and D-backs' season so far, one clubhouse was going to be filled with players talking of a turnaround, and the other with players packing their bags in silence.

One step into the visitor's side, and you knew how things fell for the Brewers on this getaway Sunday.

Nyjer Morgan's mental error shorted a Brewers rally in the top of the sixth inning, and Taylor Green's physical error aided a D-backs rally in the bottom of the frame as the Brewers absorbed a particularly disheartening, 4-3 loss.

The mistakes doomed the Brewers to a two-games-to-one series loss in this matchup of disappointing division champions. Arizona traveled to San Francisco on Sunday night sensing some momentum, and the Brewers went to Los Angeles feeling as down as ever.

"I feel we should have won this ballgame," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.

The defending National League Central champion Brewers fell to 19-28, matching their season low at nine games under .500. The NL West champion D-backs are 22-26.

Green had two hits, an RBI and scored a run for Milwaukee, but his error in the sixth inning extended Arizona's go-ahead rally. He was not the only Brewers player guilty of a miscue in the inning.

The Brewers owned a 3-1 lead in the sixth and were bidding for more when Morgan batted with the bases loaded and one out. It seemed a prime opportunity for Morgan's first RBI of the season in his 112th at-bat, most by far of any Major Leaguer without an RBI.

With Arizona's infield playing in, Morgan hit a grounder to shortstop Willie Bloomquist, who threw home. Morgan slowed up and looked back to see if the runner would sneak in, a lapse that gave D-backs catcher Henry Blanco the extra time he needed to complete a rally-killing, 6-2-3 double play.

"Most definitely," said Morgan, asked if his glance home cost him. "I thought Rick [Weeks, the runner at third] was going to blast him, to tell you the truth. I was looking back to see some action, got caught up looking at the play and that cost me a little bit of speed there."

"I don't know what he was looking for," Blanco said. "He probably thought I wasn't going to make that throw. But, you know, I have to try, and we got him. It worked out pretty good for us."

The D-backs capitalized in the bottom of the inning. Jason Kubel hit an RBI single to chase Brewers starter Randy Wolf and cut the deficit to 3-2. Jose Veras relieved Wolf and induced what should have been an inning-ending grounder, but Green booted it.

Ryan Roberts and Blanco followed with successive run-scoring singles to erase the Brewers' lead.

The Green error, Roenicke said, "was not an easy play. The ball is hit hard, it's chopped, it's going to be an in-between hop, and he tries to take a half-step back, which is fine, and the ball came up with him."

More disappointing might have been surrendering the hits to Roberts, who has slumped at the plate and in the field this season, and Blanco, the onetime Brewers starter who entered the day with a .194 batting average and one RBI.

"I'm not saying, 'It's not going our way.' We're not playing well," Roenicke said.

Wolf and D-backs starter Daniel Hudson dueled their way through the early innings before Arizona struck first. Wolf had two outs in the fourth before engaging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in a nine-pitch battle that included three two-strike foul balls. It ended with Goldschmidt hammering a full-count fastball for a 471-foot home run to straightaway center field.

The Brewers answered with two runs in the fifth inning against Hudson, who was making his first start since April 18 after missing time with a right shoulder impingement. Corey Hart's broken-bat single with two outs gave the Brewers the go-ahead run, and Green extended the lead to 3-1 in the sixth with his own RBI single.

D-backs relievers Brad Ziegler, David Hernandez and J.J. Putz finished the win, with Hernandez enduring a scare on Ryan Braun's second deep flyout of the afternoon. Both of Braun's drives, the first coming in the sixth inning off Hudson, may have sailed out of Miller Park.

"So many times we've been so close to feeling good about ourselves again," Braun said. "We have to start somewhere. We haven't won a series in a long time. These guys [the D-backs] are a really good team; they're obviously in the same predicament we are in, that they haven't played as well as they expected to from the beginning of the season.

"If we had won this series, against a good team, we would have felt better about ourselves moving forward."

The Brewers put another player -- first baseman Travis Ishikawa -- on the disabled list after the game and will have to regroup beginning Monday in Los Angeles.

"Yeah, we're banged up, and we still should win ballgames," Roenicke said. "That's what's disappointing. I mean, it's hard when you're banged up, but if you do the little things that you should be doing, we are winning ballgames. Randy pitched a great game today, kept us in the game, and we don't finish it for him."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.