Brewers defeat Kershaw to clinch road series

Brewers defeat Kershaw to clinch road series

Brewers defeat Kershaw to clinch road series
LOS ANGELES -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke uttered a phrase Wednesday night he hadn't used all year.

"We're playing really good baseball right now," Roenicke said.

He had been waiting a really long time to say that, and Brewers fans had been waiting a really long time to hear it. The Brewers beat baseball's best team for the third straight game, riding Yovani Gallardo's quality start, 14 hits and three double plays to a 6-3 win over the Dodgers on a cool night at Dodger Stadium.

The victory over reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw ensured the Brewers' first road series win since their very first trip of the season, way back on April 9-12, before the injury bug started biting and the Brewers took three of four games against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Since then, Milwaukee had lost six road series and split one.

Now they can score a four-game sweep of the previously scorching Dodgers behind Zack Greinke on Thursday night.

Go figure.

"I really can't [explain it]," Roenicke said. "That's why this game is so hard, it's so baffling and it drives managers crazy, because we can't figure it out. We think we have the right formula and it doesn't seem to work, and then against teams or pitchers where you think you're going to have a tough time that night, you end up winning."

Wednesday might have been one of those nights. The Brewers faced Kershaw, who entered with a 1.97 ERA. And the Dodgers, even after dropping the first two games of the series, still owned baseball's best record at 32-17.

That record slipped to 32-18 overall, including 1-5 against those pesky Brewers. On Wednesday, the Dodgers became the last team in the Majors to lose three games in a row this season.

"It's hard to figure," Roenicke said. "That's what makes it fun and different every night."

How's this for fun and different: Outfielder Carlos Gomez matched his career high with four hits in his best game since returning from a hamstring injury and delivered one of the game's clutch hits, a two-strike, two-run single off Kershaw in the fourth inning that gave the Brewers the lead for good at 2-1.

"The last three nights, we've put it together, the pitching, the offense," Gomez said. "I know we've got a lot of people hurt, but the last three games, you see the team like you saw it last year."

Adding injury to the Dodgers' loss, L.A. center fielder Matt Kemp exited after re-aggravating his left hamstring on a dash from first to home in the first inning. He had just returned from the disabled list the night before.

Gallardo won his second straight start after allowing a run, three walks and Andre Ethier's RBI double in a troublesome, 33-pitch first inning. He settled into a groove after that. Gallardo allowed three runs on eight hits overall, with three walks and eight strikeouts in his sixth consecutive quality start.

Two of the runs scored after Gallardo exited in the seventh inning, when three successive Dodgers singles loaded the bases with nobody out. Reliever Manny Parra surrendered a two-run hit to Dodgers leadoff man Elian Herrera on his very first pitch, but rebounded to strike out James Loney and induce an inning-ending double play from Tony Gwynn Jr.

"We were wondering whether to put [Gallardo] out in that last inning," Roenicke said. "He may have been a little bit tired then, but before that [he had] good command of the fastball, the slider was real good. He got a big hit for us, so you know he's happy about that."

Gallardo aided his own cause with a long RBI single off Kershaw that smacked off the left-field wall and scored speedster Carlos Gomez from first base amid a three-run Brewers sixth inning. It included rookie catcher Martin Maldonado's first Major League RBI on a safety squeeze bunt, the Brewers' sixth run-scoring squeeze this season, and an RBI infield single with two outs from Norichika Aoki.

Two of Gomez's four hits came off Kershaw, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner who had his worst start this season. He allowed five earned runs on eight hits, matching season highs in both categories, and lasted 5 2/3 innings in his shortest outing since a flu-shortened start against the Padres on Opening Day.

"It was frustrating," Keshaw said. "I threw a lot of pitches and couldn't put anybody away and they had really good at-bats all night. It was just a rough night."

For the third straight night, Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford handled the final two innings. Axford pitched for a fourth consecutive day. The streak began Sunday in Arizona when the Brewers used Axford in a game they trailed, just to give him some work.

Roenicke checked in with his closer on Wednesday afternoon.

"First thing I saw him, he said, 'I'm good today,'" Roenicke said.

Axford conceded he would probably need Thursday off. The rubber-armed Rodriguez would probably serve as the ninth-inning man if the Brewers need him.

The Brewers are 4-2 on their final West Coast trip with Thursday's finale to go.

"It's a good start," Gallardo said. "Hopefully, we keep it going [Thursday] and then when we go back home."

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.