LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Milwaukee Brewers usually don't beat themselves. This time they did.
Too many mistakes - on the bases, at the plate and in the field - added up to a 7-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. It was the Brewers' second straight defeat after a nine-game winning streak.
The tone was set in the first inning, when Norichika Aoki drew a leadoff walk and tried to steal. He was fooled on a perfect decoy by shortstop Justin Sellers and slid into the bag as Ryan Braun flied out to right field. Aoki was about 15 feet past the bag when he realized that Andre Ethier had caught the ball and was relaying it to first base.
In the Brewers' seventh, Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez gave up a go-ahead RBI single by Aoki, who ended up at third base after two-time Gold Glove center fielder Matt Kemp overran the ball for his fourth error of the season. But Aoki was thrown out at the plate by reliever Ronald Belisario (2-2) on a botched suicide squeeze with Jean Segura at the plate.
``You try to outweigh what he's got a better chance of doing - putting it in play and driving in a run, or getting the bunt down,' Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ``It's a sinkerball. It's a heavy sinker, which is actually an easier pitch to bunt than it is to hit.'
The Dodgers came up in the bottom half, and Sellers greeted reliever Burke Badenhop (0-2) with a leadoff single. He advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Jerry Hairston Jr., and Nick Punto drew a two-out walk from Michael Gonzalez. Adrian Gonzalez followed with a drive off the glove of center fielder Carlos Gomez in the warning track as Sellers and Punto scored to give Los Angeles a 5-4 lead.
``I was just looking for a fastball with two strikes,' said Gonzalez, who also had an RBI double in the fifth. ``He had walked Nick on four straight pitches, so I kind of felt a little uncomfortable going up there and swinging at the first pitch. I don't know if he was trying to go in or out what that last pitch or if he was going to try and throw it as hard as he could, but it was right down the middle. I was able to connect with it and luckily Gomez wasn't able to catch it.'
Roenicke said: ``Gomie should make that play. He froze and then misread it when he reached up for it. We just didn't make a play.'
The Dodgers extended the margin to 7-4 in the eighth against Brandon Kintzler on a run-scoring groundout by Hairston and an RBI single by Carl Crawford, who hit a solo homer in the third against rookie Hiram Burgos.
``We should have won the game. At least we should gave gone into the eighth and ninth innings with the lead and gone to (John Axford) and (Jim) Henderson. Kintzler's not in the ballgame if it goes differently.'
Belisario struck out three over 1 2-3 hitless innings after following Rodriguez out of the bullpen. Brandon League gave up a run in the ninth, but got his seventh save in eight attempts. He retired Braun on a groundout with the potential tying run at the plate to end it.
Josh Beckett allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings, striking out five and walking two. The no-decision left him 0-3 in five starts with a 4.75 ERA and eight home runs allowed - including Braun's seventh and Yuniesky Betancourt's fourth. Beckett is 2-6 with a 3.68 ERA in 12 starts since the Dodgers acquired the 32-year-old right-hander along with Crawford, Gonzalez and Punto in a nine-player trade on Aug. 25.
The only other time the three-time All-Star and 2003 World Series MVP was winless in his first five starts of a season was 2002, when he was 0-2 with a 3.42 ERA for the Marlins. This is the seventh time the 13-year veteran had an ERA of 4.00 or worse through his first five starts, including identical 7.22 figures in 2009 and 2010 with Boston.
``It's just nice to be standing here talking to you guys after a win,' Beckett said. ``That's something I haven't gotten a chance to do yet this year, but I don't really care who gets the win. I left a couple of pitches up, but the bats came alive there towards the end and the guys rallied.'
The Dodgers, who totaled only seven runs in Beckett's first four starts, staked him to a 2-0 lead with Ethier's two-out RBI single in the first inning and Crawford's leadoff homer in the third.
The Brewers got one of the runs back in the fourth with a two-out homer to right field by Braun. They took a 3-2 lead in the fifth when Betancourt led off with a homer to left-center and Segura hit a two-out RBI single, but the Dodgers tied it in the bottom half on Gonzalez's two-out RBI double inside first base.
Burgos allowed three runs and four hits, struck out three and walked two in his second big league start. Last Saturday at Chicago, the 25-year-old right-hander went five innings in a 5-1 win over the Cubs.
NOTES: Dodgers 2B Mark Ellis came out of the game with a right quad strain after running out a grounder to the pitcher in the sixth. ... Beckett's only 20-win season was 2007 - the only time he ever won his first five starts. ... The Brewers were 4-0 at Dodger Stadium last year. ... This was only the second time Crawford homered in a game that Beckett started during their two-plus seasons as teammates in Boston and L.A. The other came on Aug. 24, 2011 at Texas, when Crawford's two-run shot in the seventh inning helped the Red Sox win 13-2. ... Dodgers SS Hanley Ramirez, who has yet to play this season after undergoing surgery on his right thumb, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday. He is still wearing a splint, and will continue to even when he is activated. ... The Dodgers had only two errors in 72 total chances at the third base position before Hairston misplayed grounders by Braun and Gomez in the eighth.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved