Aramis backs Greinke as Crew sweeps Dodgers

Aramis backs Greinke as Crew sweeps Dodgers

Aramis backs Greinke as Crew sweeps Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- Go figure.

The Brewers limped -- quite literally -- into Dodger Stadium this week for a four-game series against the Dodgers, owners of the best record in baseball. But the Brewers, despite a rash of injuries and having lost 10 of their previous 14 games, did something they had never done before.

Sweep the Dodgers.

And it wasn't one of those cheap, two-game series sweeps. With their 6-2 win on Thursday night, the Brewers completed a four-game sweep of the Dodgers and have inexplicably beaten the National League West leaders in six of seven contests this season, finishing up the season series.

It marked the first time any team has swept the Dodgers in a four-game series at Dodger Stadium in nearly 19 years -- the Rockies last did it Aug. 9-12, 1993.

"We played four great games," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We had great pitching, great starting pitching and timely hitting. It should give us a lot [of confidence] winning four games against these guys. We had to play four great games to beat them."

Aramis Ramirez's two-run homer in the third inning off Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley gave Zack Greinke just enough breathing room to get through six innings and hand the ball off to the Brewers bullpen, which finished off the sweep without having to use closer John Axford or setup man Francisco Rodriguez on Thursday.

"That's pretty impressive," Greinke said of the sweep. "And [the Dodgers] have been playing better than they have in a while. We were due for something like this. I hope it continues."

Greinke gave up nine hits but only one run in his six innings. He struck out seven and walked one while making 118 pitches (79 strikes), improving to 6-2. He was coming off his shortest outing of the season, having lasted only 2 1/3 innings on Saturday against the D-backs.

"I thought I pitched pretty good," Greinke said. "They had a lot of singles, it was the same thing as the last game, I just made good pitches when I needed to."

Greinke never retired the side in order in the game, but found a way to pitch out of jams.

"Zack was outstanding," Roenicke said. "He had a great cutter when he got in trouble, his slider is always there, he had a nice changeup and he located his fastball well. They did a good job of battling because I thought he had great stuff today, and they always had guys on base."

The Brewers took an early lead with two runs in the second. Ramirez began the inning with a walk and went to third on Taylor Green's double to right field.

Rickie Weeks then drove in Ramirez with a single to right-center, and Martin Maldonado knocked home Green when he grounded into a force play to give the Brewers a 2-0 lead.

Greinke gave a run back in the bottom of the second when he yielded a two-out RBI single to Billingsley, but the Brewers added two more in the third inning on Ramirez's homer, his fifth of the season, for a 4-1 lead.

"Right now, with runs hard to get, 4-1 seemed like a lot at that point," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Then we kept getting guys up there and giving ourselves chances, but we couldn't get the big hit."

Jose Veras took the ball from Greinke to start the seventh and quickly found trouble as the Dodgers put runners on first and second with no outs. But Veras got Bobby Abreu to hit into a double play, and retired Andre Ethier on a popup to short to escape.

Kameron Loe followed Veras and threw a scoreless eighth inning, and Tim Dillard took the hill in the ninth with two more insurance runs after Carlos Gomez homered in the top of the frame.

The Brewers return home now with a renewed sense of confidence.

"I feel great with the way we're playing," Roenicke said. "We haven't been consistent with what we've been doing and for these four games we were. We should be headed in the right direction. With these games, it should give us a lift. We can compete with anybody."

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