Lucroy just misses, Brewers lose to Angels 5-3
The Brewers had their hottest hitter at the plate Sunday with the game on the line.
After a feisty at-bat, Jonathan Lucroy went down swinging.
Lucroy struck out with the bases loaded in the eighth inning on the 12th pitch of a battle with Angels closer Ernesto Frieri, and Los Angeles held on to beat Milwaukee 5-3 for a three-game sweep of their interleague series.
Lucroy, who was batting .327 over his previous 85 games, was disappointed that he chased pitches out of the strike zone. Frieri then struck out rookie Khris Davis as well and worked a scoreless ninth.
''I swung at balls and I missed a couple of hangers,'' Lucroy said. ''I got myself out, so I'm not too happy about it. It's the way the game is. It's baseball. Things happen. Sometimes they fall, sometimes they don't.''
Lucroy lined one pitch just foul down the right-field line and then the next pitch just foul down the left-field line. If either ball had been fair, the Brewers likely would have tied the score or taken the lead.
Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said the at-bat proved again that baseball is a game of inches.
''Luc hits the ball down the right-field line, inches foul. Hard groundball down the left-field line, inches foul,'' Roenicke said. ''The guy threw him a fastball away that he couldn't get to. But, he always gives you a good at-bat.''
For his part, Frieri said he just kept trying to throw one by Lucroy.
''One of the toughest hitters I've faced all season,'' said Frieri, who earned his 30th save in 34 chances. ''He just kept on fighting and I just kept trying to get a pitch past him.''
Kyle Lohse went six innings for Milwaukee, giving up one run and seven hits. Rob Wooten (3-1) allowed three runs in relief.
Roenicke thought Lohse did a great job of keeping Milwaukee in the game.
''He did not have his good command today,'' the manager said. ''He struggled through the sixth. I thought it was great, getting us to the sixth with just giving up one run. He really battled well.''
Angels lefty C.J. Wilson (14-6) gave up three runs and three hits over six innings to improve to 10-1 in his last 15 starts. Wilson has gone 10 consecutive starts without a loss, tying his career high set in 2011 with Texas.
J.B. Shuck hit a three-run double that put Los Angeles ahead in the seventh. Kole Calhoun had two RBIs.
Calhoun's RBI single in the third gave the Angels a 1-0 lead.
Milwaukee tied it in the bottom half. Jeff Bianchi doubled to right and went to third when the ball got by Calhoun for an error. One out later, Lohse bunted in front of the plate and Bianchi was able to slide under the tag of catcher Hang Conger when the toss from Wilson was high.
Carlos Gomez's two-run homer in the fourth gave the Brewers a 3-1 lead. It was his 19th of the season and first since Aug. 6.
Los Angeles grabbed the lead for good in the seventh by scoring four runs. Conger and Luis Jimenez singled to start the inning. Andrew Romine advanced both runners with a sacrifice, and pinch-hitter Josh Hamilton was intentionally walked.
Shuck then hit a grounder down the first-base line that hit the bag. The ball rolled into short right field and by the time Norichika Aoki could get it back in, all three runners had scored.
''That was a really big hit for us,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''Our guys are playing hard and really getting after it every day.''
Calhoun's RBI double made it 5-3.
NOTES: Hamilton was out of the starting lineup for the third straight game. He is battling a sore left shoulder and migraines. ... Milwaukee acquired RHP Michael Blazek from St. Louis as the player to be named in Friday's trade that sent reliever John Axford to the Cardinals. Blazek appeared in 11 games for the Cardinals this season, compiling a 6.97 ERA. ... The Brewers recalled RHP Donovan Hand from Triple-A Nashville. Hand is 0-4 in 21 appearances this season with Milwaukee.