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REDS 6, BREWERS 5 &t


REDS 6, BREWERS 5 &t
Cincinnati - This round was actually competitive.

Unlike the game before, this one wasn't decided within the first two innings.

And unlike the last one, the Milwaukee Brewers weren't such a celebratory bunch when things wrapped up.

Following their 12-run smacking of the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, the Brewers fell short of the sweep and a perfect four-game road trip with a 6-5 loss at Great American Ball Park on Thursday night.

The Brewers came within inches of tying the game in the ninth inning when pinch-hitter Brad Nelson's towering fly ball to right was caught on the warning track.

The defeat snapped a four-game winning streak, but Brewers manager Ken Macha was pleased with his team's brief stint away from home.

"We're playing great," Macha said. "If you just look at one segment of the season and focus in on (this game), you're a little disappointed because we had a chance to win this game.

"Overall we had a good road trip. I'll take 3-1. We're playing good ball."

At least three times in his postgame interview, Macha used the word "battle" to describe the Brewers' effort Thursday, and they did that, scratching their way back into the game twice before falling short.

The reason they were forced into the come-from-behind scenario was that right-hander Braden Looper succumbed to a rarity recently for the rotation - a really poor start.

"The moral of the story is I didn't give the guys a chance," Looper (2-2) said. "They tried to battle back, but I put us in a hole and I can't do that.

"Basically, I (was terrible)."

Looper threw 3 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on eight hits, by far his worst start of the season.

The Reds, who obviously lacked offensive production a night before, got off quickly against Looper. Jay Bruce smacked a two-out home run to right in the first inning, and Willy Taveras hit one to left in the second. Bruce later walked in that inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by former Brewer Laynce Nix for a 3-0 lead.

But the Brewers offense gave Looper a clean slate to work with in the fourth.

Rickie Weeks led it off with a single and reached second on an error by second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr., who came off the bag too early as he caught a throw from third baseman Adam Rosales, also allowing Corey Hart to reach.

After Ryan Braun's single loaded the bases, Prince Fielder doubled home two runs and Mike Cameron followed with a groundout to score Braun from third to knot the game, 3-3.

But Looper couldn't keep it that way.

With Paul Janish on first after a single, opposing pitcher Micah Owings, one of the best-hitting pitchers in the game, sent a first-pitch slider into the left-center field gap past a diving Braun and a sprinting Cameron.

"He happened to hit it where the guys couldn't get to it," Looper said. "But the damage was done."

Janish scored easily, but the relay throw from shortstop J.J. Hardy appeared to beat Owings to third base and Bill Hall's tag appeared to swipe Owings' leg before he hit the bag. However, home plate umpire Greg Gibson, trailing the play, called Owings safe, which brought out Macha for an emotional discussion.

Owings scored two pitches later on a wild pitch and Looper left the game minutes later after walking Taveras and allowing a bunt single to Hairston.

"The big hit was the pitcher," Macha said. "Tying it up, going right back out there and those guys taking the lead - sometimes that's the backbreaker."

Looper was upset with his final line, but he seemed more bothered by the fact that the offense got the team back into the game and he failed to keep it there.

"The whole outing was just . . . frustrating is putting it the nice way," Looper said. "They gave me a tied game there and I need to go out there and put up a zero."

The Reds tacked on another run in the fifth on a double, sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly. The Brewers scored twice in the sixth to pull within a run, but the crater was too deep to crawl out from.

PASSING ROAD TEST

Coming into Thursday's game, the Brewers were tied for the third-best road record in the major leagues:

Team Road record

Phillies 8-3 (.727)

Reds 10-5 (.667)

Brewers 9-6 (.600)

Blue Jays 9-6 (.600)

Royals 7-5 (.583)

Cardinals 7-5 (.583)

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 8, 2009

anthony-gwynn---milwaukee-brewers
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