LOS ANGELES -- When it became evident that the Milwaukee Brewers would have to face both Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw on consecutive weekends, some wondered if they could survive that pitching-ace gantlet.
The Brewers not only survived, they thrived.
A night after thumping the Los Angeles Dodgers' bullpen after Greinke exited with a 2-0 lead, the Brewers took the fight right to Kershaw, who had beaten them in Milwaukee six days earlier.
Getting home runs from Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez -- the first time Kershaw allowed two in one game this season -- the Brewers pulled out a 3-2 victory at Dodger Stadium, disappointing most of the crowd of 50,849.
It was the third victory in a row for the Brewers and the eighth in their last 12 games. It also assured they would win both series this season against the Dodgers, who have the best record in the National League.
Right-hander Yovani Gallardo matched up with Kershaw and never blinked, out-pitching the brilliant left-hander. Gallardo went eight innings, allowing only six hits, one walk and one run to boost his record to 8-6.
Francisco Rodriguez allowed a leadoff homer to Matt Kemp in the bottom of the ninth but retired the next three hitters to record his 38th save in 42 chances.
Kershaw, who had recorded a career-best 11 consecutive victories, fell to 14-3 with the complete-game loss.
The Brewers had absolutely no luck with Kershaw the first time through the order, as he put down nine in a row without breaking a sweat. It proved different the next time through, however, beginning with Gomez's leadoff double to left in the fourth.
With one down, Braun sent a drive the opposite way to right -- as he has done so often this season -- for a two-run homer, the first of his career off Kershaw. Aramis Ramirez followed with a sharp single before Kershaw bounced back to hold it to 2-0.
The Dodgers came back with a run in the bottom of the inning to cut that lead in half. With one down, Carl Crawford beat out an infield hit, stole second and scored on Justin Turner's single up the middle.
Turner was caught trying to go to second when the Brewers cut the throw home, which proved big when A.J. Ellis followed with a single to right. Gallardo escaped further damage by fielding Miguel Rojas' soft comebacker.
Gomez continued to emerge from his prolonged slump in the sixth inning. He jumped on the first pitch from Kershaw and drove it far out to left for his 19th home run and a 3-1 lead.
The Brewers have been in first place every day since April 5, though the lead often has been scant in recent weeks. Because of that, principal owner Mark Attanasio said it has been difficult to relax.
"The standings look pretty good and have for a while," said Attanasio, who attended the game. "I talk to the other owners about this. For all of us, it's day-to-day anxiety and what you have is more relief than you have any kind of comfort. The only day you need to be in first place is the last day of the season.
"We have a lot of competitive balance. You're a bad week away from not being in your position. This team, you talk to the manager and coaches, the players, it's a resilient group. It's a group that likes and roots for each other, and pulls together."
Attanasio said he and general manager Doug Melvin continue to try to improve the club. Melvin made multiple attempts to acquire relief help before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline but Attanasio said the search continues.
"We put in claims today for relief pitchers, literally today," said Attanasio, who had no idea what the result of that might be.
"I believe Doug will continue to try to improve the team, right through September. You can make trades for players in September. I believe he's going to continue to try to improve the team right until the last day of the season."
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