MILWAUKEE (AP) - The Milwaukee Brewers are throwing away their chance to easily win the NL Central.
Raul Ibanez doubled and scored on reliever LaTroy Hawkins' throwing error in the 10th, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.
``I tried to make an unbelievable throw,' Hawkins said. ``And, it was a terrible throw, plain and simple.'
Milwaukee lost its fifth straight as its NL Central lead shrank to six games with the Cardinals' 4-3 victory over the Braves.
``You have got to bring it up? I know it now,' Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks said. ``It's just one of those things where you come to the ballpark every day, groundhog day.'
It's the Brewers smallest division lead since Aug. 14.
``The cushion never felt comfortable,' Brewers starter Randy Wolf said. ``Until we're in, I don't think you should or ever could be comfortable with any lead.'
Casey McGehee scored a run in a plate collision with Carlos Ruiz and drove in another off Cliff Lee to end the Phillies starter's scoreless innings streak at 30 2-3.
But in the 10th, Ibanez led off with a double against Hawkins (1-1) and scored when Ruiz laid down a bunt.
Hawkins took a bad angle, thinking McGehee would field the ball from third, then fired well over Prince Fielder's head at first for an error.
``I think he thought Casey was going to get it. Casey thought he was going to get it,' Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. ``That's a bunt that's in between the spot where Casey thinks the pitcher is going to get, we have a shot at third, which he did. It's a judgment play.'
Hunter Pence homered in the first and Placido Polanco added a solo shot in the fifth for the Phillies, who are now 12 games ahead of Atlanta in the division.
McGehee reached second on a throwing error before his vicious forearm blow tied it in the second inning. Yuniesky Betancourt singled and Ruiz got center fielder Shane Victorino's throw in plenty of time, blocking the plate well.
But McGehee lowered his body and slammed his forearms into the catcher's mask to jar the ball free, then popped up and let out an emotional scream with both fists clinched tightly for a team that's sputtering at the wrong time.
``If I was the runner, I would've done the same thing,' Ruiz said. ``He asked me next at-bat, 'Are you OK?' And I said, 'Yes, thank you for asking me.' It's a part of the game.'
Polanco's homer just over the left-field wall off Wolf in the fifth was his first since June 10, and Lee escaped major trouble in the seventh to end his night.
``Pitching against this staff, I don't see how you could ever see that there is a better pitching staff in the history of baseball, one through five, as this one,' Wolf said. ``We just have to keep on battling and put these games behind us.'
The NL East-leading Phillies are on pace for their best season in franchise history and could clinch a playoff berth on Sunday with a win and a loss by St. Louis.
Michael Stutes (6-1) pitched the ninth for the victory and Ryan Madson converted his 30th save. Philadelphia has dominated two of the other three NL playoff contenders over the last six games, also sweeping Atlanta.
``They're down. I'm down,' Roenicke said. ``It's a tough loss. This was a hard on to lose. There were a lot of positives things today. That's why it's disappointing to lose.'
NOTES: Weeks (left ankle) played in a simulated game before the game and made his first appearance since July 27. ... The Brewers called up RHP Mike Fiers and had him pitch in a simulated game to Weeks. Fiers is expected to be available out of the bullpen on Tuesday. ... Sunday's finale features Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo (15-10, 3.71 ERA) against Phillies RHP Vance Worley (11-1, 2.85).
The Associated Press News Service
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