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Brewers keep rolling, down Dodgers 2-1

August 16, 2011 |  8:10 pm

Dodgers-blog_640 And that’s what good teams do. They hang around, scrap here and there, and then find a way to win.

It’s not that the Dodgers played poorly Tuesday night in their 2-1 loss to the Brewers, it’s just that Milwaukee played a tad better, finally coming through in the clutch with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

For the Brewers, it was their 18th victory in their last 20 games. They’re finding lots of ways to win.

Alas, too often the Dodgers discover another way to lose. This defeat came in the ninth when their bullpen stumbled.

Hong-Chih Kuo continued his frustrating season when he came in to start the ninth and walked Prince Fielder. It was the only batter Kuo faced, but it would cost him the loss.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly eschewed bringing in closer Javy Guerra, and instead went to Mike MacDougal. Casey McGehee singled on MacDougal’s first pitch. It was just a routine grounder that found a hole. It was going to be that kind of inning.

Yuniesky Betancourt then came up desperately trying to bunt the runners up. Instead, MacDougal walked him on four pitches to load the bases.

Milwaukee called on Mark Kotsay to pinch-hit, and he lined a single to center to drive in the winning run. Milwaukee had found another way; the Dodgers too.

Former Dodger Takashi Saito (4-1) pitched the ninth to earn the victory.

Both starting pitchers labored early, but managed to avoid serious trouble. Each gave up a run in the second inning.

The Dodgers scored first when Matt Kemp led off the second with a single to center. Kemp stole second and took third on a wild pitch by Yovani Gallardo.

With one out, Brewers Manager Ron Roenicke elected to play the infield in for Aaron Miles. That turned into a costly decision when Miles sliced a single in the hole between third and short to score Kemp.

Milwaukee got the run back in the bottom of the inning after Jerry Hairston led off with a hit and Chad Billingsley walked Jonathan Lucroy. A Gallardo sacrifice bunt advanced the runners. Corey Hart hit a hard bouncer down the third base line that Casey Blake fielded, but Hart scored on Blake’s throw to first.

And it remained a 1-1 game, inning after inning.

Billingsley recovered nicely from a high early pitch count (59 in the first three innings). He retired 12 of his last 13 batters. He left for a pinch-hitter in the eighth with the game still knotted.

In his seven innings, he gave up the one run, four hits and two walks, while striking out five.

The Dodgers weren’t having any more success with Gallardo. They didn’t really threaten until Trent Oeltjen hit for Billingsley with two out in the eighth and earned the Dodgers’ first walk of the night. Tony Gwynn Jr. singled Oeltjen to third, but Gallardo struck out Blake to end the mini-rally.

Gallardo left after eight innings. He gave up one run, four hits and the one walk. He struck out nine.


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Photo: Milwaukee’s Nyjer Morgan and Ryan Braun celebrate following the Brewers’ 2-1 victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday night. Credit: Jeff Hanisch / US Presswire