Baseball / Sports

Bullpen falters as Brewers' 5-game winning streak ends

MILWAUKEE -- It was one of those winnable games you hate to let get away, especially with the playoff race starting to heat up.

Things fell apart in the sixth inning Wednesday afternoon as the Toronto Blue Jays rallied for five runs and pulled away to a 9-5 interleague victory at Miller Park that snapped the Milwaukee Brewers' five-game winning streak.

The loss reduced the first-place Brewers' lead in the NL Central to two games over St. Louis, pending the Cardinals' night game against Cincinnati.

The final score was not indicative of the position the Brewers were in to win the game and sweep the short two-game series. Rookie starter Jimmy Nelson was unable to hold leads of 2-0 and 3-2, and the bullpen had issues behind him as the Blue Jays scored all of their runs from the fifth inning on.

The Brewers also had some late chances to get back in the game but were unable to come up with a big hit.

After smacking seven doubles in their 6-1 victory Tuesday night, the Brewers resumed their two-bagger attack in the second inning. Gerardo Parra led off with one -- an opposite-field drive to left -- off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

After Scooter Gennett lined out to left and Mark Reynolds went down swinging, Jean Segura sent an opposite-field blooper that landed inside the right-field line for an RBI double. When the relay to second base was wild, Segura continued to third but was stranded there when Nelson struck out.

With one down in the bottom of the fourth, Parra struck against Dickey again with a booming triple to right-center. Dickey had a chance to escape when Gennett fouled out but Reynolds sent home Parra with yet another double -- a liner to left that Melky Cabrera couldn't glove while banging into the wall.

Nelson had to battle through the early innings to keep the Blue Jays off the board. Their biggest threat came in the fourth when Colby Rasmus walked and Danny Valencia followed with a single up the middle.

Nelson shut down that budding rally by getting Josh Thole to ground into a 6-4-3 double play and retiring Munenori Kawasaki on a fly to center.

The Blue Jays finally broke through against Nelson for two runs in the fifth inning to tie the game. With one down, Jose Reyes pulled a double into the right-field corner and Cabrera followed with an opposite-field drive down the left-field line that bounded over the wall for a run-scoring, ground-rule double.

Nelson struck out Jose Bautista but Edwin Encarnacion bounced a two-out single up the middle to tie the score.

The Brewers came right back with a run in the bottom of the inning to go back on top. Carlos Gomez led off with a walk, moved to third on Jonathan Lucroy's single through the right side and scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Ryan Braun that third baseman Encarnacion threw away at second.

That error left two on with no out but Aramis Ramirez grounded into a double play and the inning fizzled.

Again, Nelson could not hold the lead. With one down in the sixth, Thole and Kawasaki smacked back-to-back doubles to tie the game at 3. After Dickey went down swinging, manager Ron Roenicke summoned lefty Zach Duke.

Batting right-handed, the switch-hitting Reyes singled to right to score Kawasaki with the go-ahead run. Switch-hitter Melky Cabrera also singled, and with right-handed slugger Bautista up, Roenicke went to right-hander Brandon Kintzler.

That move completely blew up with Bautista ripped a 1-2 pitch from Kintzler out to left-center for a three-run homer that put the Blue Jays on top, 7-3.

Gomz got two of those runs back in the bottom of the inning with a two-run homer, his third in four games and 21st overall, to send Dickey from the game.

The Brewers put two on with two out against reliever Aaron Sanchez in the seventh but Reynolds flied out to deep left to end the inning. They threatened again in the eighth by putting two on against reliever Brett Cecil but Dustin McGowan took over and induced Lucroy to ground into a rally-killing double play.

(c)2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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