Baseball / Sports

Brewers swept for 1st time this season as Jays score 3 in ninth

TORONTO -- The Milwaukee Brewers suffered their first series sweep on Wednesday, and it was not an easy loss to swallow.

Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-out, three-run home run off Brandon Kintzler in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Toronto Blue Jays over the Milwaukee Brewers, 7-4, at the Rogers Centre.

The Brewers, who managed only two singles after the third inning, lost both games of the interleague series. That leaves the Los Angeles Dodgers as the lone team in the major leagues to not have been swept.

Starter Wily Peralta struggled through six tough innings. His no-decision snapped a five-game winning streak.

"Today was a tough game to lose," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We score early and then Wily was all over the place again with his command. He did manage to give us innings and keep it tied. But we've got to get him locked in better and making some consistent pitches."

With the game tied, 4-4, Will Smith (1-1) came out to pitch the eighth and not long thereafter, craziness ensued.

Pinch-hitter Steve Tolleson, who was leading off, was hit in the back foot by a pitch and in the aftermath as he was hobbling around home plate, Roenicke was ejected for the first time this season by first-base umpire Phil Cuzzi. He quickly came out of the dugout and gave Cuzzi a piece of his mind before leaving.

"I went out, basically, to make sure the ball hit him in the foot," he said. "(Home-plate umpire) Greg (Gibson) told me I can't come out, but I can come out. . . . He thought I was going to argue the swing. . . . He said it hit him in the foot, and Phil said he didn't swing on it.

"So I started to turn away and I looked at Phil and I just said, 'You missed it,' and he kicked me out for saying, 'You missed it.' That's a really bad job on Phil's part. If he can't take more than that, then you shouldn't be doing this."

With Munenori Kawasaki at the plate, Tolleson then stole second base only to have Roenicke's replacement, Jerry Narron, come out to challenge. Quinn Wolcott's call was overturned in just 45 seconds. That brought out Toronto manager John Gibbons, earning him an automatic ejection from Gibson.

Kawasaki struck out looking not long thereafter to end the eighth.

After the Brewers went down in order against Casey Janssen in the ninth, Smith remained in and was greeted by a sinking liner to left by Jose Reyes. Elian Herrera, starting in left with Khris Davis (shoulder) out, made a diving try but came up short, leaving Reyes at second.

Smith then intentionally walked Melky Cabrera, and Kintzler came on. He got Reyes at third on an Anthony Gose bunt and struck out Darin Mastroianni before Encarnacion homered to hand the Brewers their third walk-off loss of the year.

"If anything, we were just trying not to give him anything on the plate," Kintzler said. "He's not the one you want to let beat you. We were trying to let him chase, and if he was going to chase, great. If not, we'll go to the next guy. At 3-1, either I should just bounce a sinker and walk him, or throw a slider away, off the plate. It definitely didn't go where I planned it.

"But it was the best stuff I've had in a long time, so that's a good sign. It just didn't work out."

Milwaukee was able to match its run total from Tuesday's 4-1 loss in the first inning against Toronto starter J.A. Happ.

With two outs, Jonathan Lucroy doubled down the first-base line -- his 29th of the season, tying him for the major-league lead with Detroit's Miguel Cabrera -- and then scored on a single to right by Carlos Gomez.

Toronto evened the score quickly when, with two outs, Jose Bautista cranked a solo homer to left-center in the bottom of the first. It was his second first-inning homer in as many days against the Brewers.

The score remained tied at 1-1 heading into the third but not without Peralta laboring through the second. He issued a pair of two-out walks before striking out Kawasaki to end the threat, but not before catcher Martin Maldonado made multiple trips out to the mound to talk to the big right-hander.

Pitching coach Rick Kranitz, too, went out to try to calm Peralta down.

He got some room to maneuver in the third when the Brewers' bats came alive for three runs.

Jeff Bianchi led off with a single, Rickie Weeks followed with a ground-rule double to right-center and Ryan Braun drove them both in with a triple to center. Lucroy, up next, sent a drive to center that appeared plenty deep to allow Braun to tag and score.

He did so, but a terrific throw home by Rasmus left him safe by a whisker with a nice feet-first slide to make it 4-1. Gibbons came out to question Gibson, but he didn't challenge the call.

The Blue Jays made it 4-2 in the bottom of the third on a two-out RBI double by Adam Lind, and then got back to even in the fourth thanks to a familiar face.

After Dioner Navarro led off with a bloop double down the left-field line, Juan Francisco, whom the Brewers released on March 24, launched a one-out homer to right on the first offering he saw from Peralta to make it 4-4.

Happ settled in after the third inning, retiring – so much so that he retired13 consecutive batters after Braun's triple.

The man who broke the streak? Maldonado, with a bunt single. Knowing Francisco is a poor fielder, Maldonado dropped one down that Francisco couldn't handle, and the catcher punctuated the play with a head-first slide into first.

Herrera tried following suit on the next pitch, but the ball rolled foul. He eventually popped out to Francisco, and Bianchi flied out to center to end the Milwaukee seventh.

With his pitch count at 106, Peralta came out to start the seventh inning and gave up a leadoff double to left-center by Melky Cabrera. With Bautista up, Peralta hit 98 mph on the radar gun but eventually walked him, finally ending his day.

He allowed nine hits, four runs (earned) and three walks to go along with four strikeouts in a season-high 113 pitches.

"I wasn't OK with scoring early and putting up that many zeros," Roenicke said. "We need to swing the bat better than that. But, again, we're still chasing pitches out of the zone. They did a nice job of pitching, but we need to be better than that. Our pitchers did a nice job of holding them down.

"Wily comes out and then we do a nice job, and you think we're going to score a run and we don't."

Left-hander Zach Duke, who got out of a two-on, nobody-out jam in the seventh on Tuesday in relief of Marco Estrada, induced a huge 2-6-3 double play on a bunt off the plate by pinch-hitter Darin Mastroianni to start.

He then put Encarnacion on to face Navarro, a switch-hitter who actually is a better hitter lifetime from the right side. It wound up not mattering, as Duke struck him out to register his second straight great escape act.

Braun singled with one out in the eighth against Aaron Loup but advanced no further. Smith then came on to pitch the eighth, with his hitting Tolleson setting off the ejections.

(c)2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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