Excellent pitching, home runs power Brewers past Dodgers
MILWAUKEE -- Starter Zach Davies set the tone on the mound for the Milwaukee Brewers. Then the bullpen bounced back after two forgettable games against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Davies pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning, Eric Thames hit his 15th homer and the Brewers averted a three-game series sweep with a 3-0 victory on Sunday.
Three relievers followed Davies to combine for three hitless innings, quite the confidence boost for a bullpen that was battered for nine earned runs over the previous two games.
"The past two games have been pretty tough so to get that win today, especially a shutout, was very important for us," closer Corey Knebel said. He struck out the side around a walk in the ninth for his fifth save.
Davies (6-3) struck out six and allowed a walk in six-plus innings, effectively mixing a curveball, sinker and fastball that hovered around 90 mph. The right-hander retired 13 in a row from the first until Yasmani Grandal reached on a one-out infield single up the middle in the fifth, the Dodgers' first hit.
"He kept the ball down. He kept the ball away. He changed speeds. I think if you look at the at-bats today, we didn't get off too many good swings," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Los Angeles didn't get a runner to second until Adrian Gonzalez and Cody Bellinger opened the seventh with singles that chased Davies.
This time, the bullpen shut down the Dodgers.
Grandal bounced into a double play against Oliver Drake, and Austin Barnes flied out to Hernan Perez.
On Saturday, Chris Taylor hit a grand slam off Carlos Torres in the ninth to complete the Dodgers' 10-8 comeback win. On Friday, Grandal homered in the ninth off Knebel to tie the game at 1 before Cody Bellinger went deep in the 12th off Neftali Feliz in a 2-1 loss.
MAEDA ON THE MOUND
The Dodgers fell behind after Thames hit a hanging curveball from starter Kenta Maeda (4-3) over the wall in right-center for a 1-0 lead in the first. He threw 92 pitches in working just four innings against a lineup that likes to work counts and extend at-bats.
"I know that he finds a way to settle in but it's still laboring to get through each inning. I know he's trying to figure it out," Roberts said.
The right-hander struck out seven, walked three and allowed two hits and two runs. He has not worked more than five innings since coming off the disabled list on May 25 following a left hamstring injury.
Thames hit his first homer at Miller Park since May 9. He seems to be getting back into a groove after dealing with a sore hamstring and strep throat for much of May.
He is hitting .278 with two homers since May 30.
"I've been trying to work on staying short to the ball, I've been getting long a lot the last few weeks," Thames said, "but I kind of flipped my wrists and the ball just kind of jumped off the bat a little bit."
Sogard, who started at second with Jonathan Villar getting a day off, had a RBI single in the second. The utility infielder is hitting .400 with five runs and five RBI in seven starts in the leadoff spot.
Dodgers: Roberts said 3B Justin Turner (right hamstring) could return from the disabled list late next week. The Dodgers begin a six-game road trip to Cleveland and Cincinnati on June 13. . . . Roberts said that RHP Brandon McCarthy, who left his start on Thursday against St. Louis early with a blister on his right index finger, had a good bullpen session before the game on Sunday. McCarthy is expected to make his next scheduled start on Tuesday against Washington.
Brewers: RHP Matt Garza was sore after leaving his start Saturday after four innings following a collision on defense at first with 6-foot-3, 250-pound first baseman Jesus Aguilar. Manager Craig Counsell said it was too early to say if Garza might miss his next start.
Dodgers: Los Angeles returns home to open a three-game series Monday against NL East-leading Washington, LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (2-5) taking the hill. It's the first meeting this year between two of the top squads in the National League.
Brewers: RHP Junior Guerra starts Monday when San Francisco begins a four-game series. Guerra is 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA in two starts since coming off the disabled list for a right calf injury. He got hurt during his opening-day start.