SAN DIEGO--One night after turning Petco Park into a hitter-friendly venue, the Milwaukee Brewers experienced the flip side.
Facing big right-hander Tyson Ross, the San Diego Padres' young ace, the Brewers' bats were no match. They fell behind in the opening inning and managed just five hits before eventually falling, 4-1.
The performance was a far cry from the one Milwaukee turned in Monday, when it battered San Diego pitching for 16 hits and two home runs in a 10-1 victory, and Ross was the major reason for that.
In 6 1/3 innings, Ross allowed four hits and one run while walking two and striking out six, posting his franchise-record 13th consecutive quality start. It was also the Padres' sixth victory in the last seven starts by Ross, who was roughed up by the Brewers for five runs and nine hits in a loss April 23 at Miller Park.
Milwaukee was able to maintain its 1 1/2-game lead in the National League Central by virtue of the St. Louis Cardinals' loss in Pittsburgh, but fell short in its attempt to win six consecutive road games for the second time this season.
Nelson, who'd faced former Cy Young Award winners in each of his previous four starts, didn't have it much easier squaring off against Ross (12-12). Although he came in at 11-12, Ross ranked sixth in the NL with a 2.68 earned-run average and seventh with 170 strikeouts.
A solo home run by Abraham Almonte with one out in the bottom of the first staked Ross to a quick lead, and after three innings he'd allowed just one base-runner --Khris Davis on a second-inning single.
Nelson retired the Padres in order in the second, recording strikeouts No. 3 and 4, but then ran into major trouble in the bottom of the third.
It started with Ross, who lined a double down the right-field line. After Yangervis Solarte flied out to left, Almonte singled to right to score Ross. That brought up Seth Smith, who sent a slow roller to Scooter Gennett at second base.
Gennett flipped to a covering Jean Segura at the bag, but with Almonte sliding in hard Segura failed to catch the ball, leaving everyone safe. Segura was charged with an error as the defensive struggles that in part led manager Ron Roenicke to hold him out for two straight games over the weekend reappeared.
Yasmani Grandal followed with a single off the wall in right that scored Almonte and moved Smith up to third, and Jedd Gyorko's RBI groundout to the right side stretched San Diego's lead to 4-0.
Milwaukee finally got onto the scoreboard in the fourth inning.
Jonathan Lucroy led off with a double down the right-field line -- his NL-leading 44th -- and wound up at third when rightfielder Rymer Liriano misplayed it. Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez both struck out to bring up Gennett, who smoked a ground-rule double to right-center to score Lucroy and make it 4-1.
Davis followed by drawing a walk, with Gennett moving up to third on a passed ball by Rene Rivera on Ball 4. But Davis made a major mistake only a few pitches later, being thrown out by Rivera at second while trying to advance on a ball in the dirt and with Mark Reynolds at the plate.
That was the best and last opportunity for the Brewers to significantly chip into the Padres' lead with Ross on the mound.
Segura singled to center in the fifth but was thrown out by Rivera trying to steal second with two outs and Carlos Gomez at the plate. Then after Ross departed with a base-runner on in the seventh, Nick Vincent got Davis to ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Nelson, meanwhile, saw his night end after five innings having allowed five hits, four runs (two earned) and two walks while striking out seven in falling to 2-5. Nelson threw 93 pitches.
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