Baseball / Sports

Reeling Brewers swept by Phillies after eighth-inning meltdown

MILWAUKEE -- This is how bad it has gotten for the Milwaukee Brewers.

They managed to turn a serious no-hit bid by their starting pitcher into a resounding 9-1 defeat Thursday afternoon and a four-game sweep at home by a last-place team.

Can you say low point of the season?

After starter Matt Garza took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, the Brewers melted down completely in the eighth as the Philadelphia Phillies scored seven times and pulled away to a 9-1 victory at Miller Park, prompting boos from many of the 36,394 in attendance.

The four-game sweep by the lowly Phillies left the Brewers with a season-high five consecutive losses and nine in their last 10 games. The collapse shrunk the Brewers' lead in the NL Central to 1 1/2 games over St. Louis, pending the Cardinals' night game against Pittsburgh.

Trying to pitch the Brewers to a 1-0 victory for the second consecutive start, Garza found trouble in the eighth when No. 8 hitter Cameron Rupp lined a double into the right-field corner. Pinch-hitter Cesar Hernandez then drew a walk, with both runners advancing on Tony Gwynn Jr.'s grounder to third.

Manager Ron Roenicke then summoned lefty Will Smith, who was so terrific for much of the season before struggling of late. And Smith continued to struggle, retiring none of the five hitters he faced.

Jimmy Rollins lined a hanging 2-1 slider to left for a two-run single that gave the Phillies the lead. After Rollins stole second and Chase Utley drew a walk, Ryan Howard drove a ground-rule double down the left-field line to knock in another run.

And it only got uglier. After an intentional walk to Marlon Byrd to load the bases, Cody Asche pounded a ground-rule double to right to send in two more runs. That was finally all for Smith, with Brandon Kintzler coming on to allow two more runs to score on a single by Dominic Brown.

For six innings, Philadelphia starter David Buchanan matched zeroes with Garza, allowing only one hit. That spell finally was broken in the bottom of the sixth when Carlos Gomez led off with his 14th homer of the season to snap the 0-0 tie.

It was the second time this season Garza took a no-hitter into the seventh inning at Miller Park, only to lose it. In his first start with the Brewers on April 2 against Atlanta, Garza and the Braves' Aaron Harang each lost no-hit bids that inning, with Chris Johnson hitting a two-out homer for the only run of the game.

Garza put down the first 13 hitters with relative ease. The Phillies finally got a runner on base with one down in the fifth when Byrd took a low 3-2 fastball to draw a walk but Garza put down the next two hitters.

Rupp led off the sixth with a drive to deep right-center. Gomez and right fielder Ryan Braun converged on the ball and Gomez caught it just before the two collided and went tumbling to the warning track.

With the no-hitter intact, Garza retired the next two hitters before Rollins spoiled the bid with his leadoff single in the seventh. When Utley followed with a hit and the runners moved up on Howard's grounder to first, Garza had to go to work.

The Brewers brought in their infield, a ploy that worked when Byrd grounded sharply to shortstop Jeff Bianchi, who came home to get Rollins. With runners on the corners, Garza retired Cody Asche on a fly to deep center to preserve the 1-0 lead.

That was before the wheels came off for the Brewers.

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