LOS ANGELES -- When the Brewers and Dodgers met Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, it had the game-time temperature of early August, but the feel of October.
Unfortunately for the Brewers, it also had the sting of a tough loss.
Lorenzo Cain starred on the basepaths early, Mike Moustakas and Manny Pina delivered clutch RBIs late and Moustakas made a game-saving defensive play to help push a back-and-forth thriller toward a decisive 10th inning. That's where the Dodgers won, 6-4, on Yasmani Grandal's second home run of the night, a walk-off two-run blast.
"This was very much like the playoffs," said Moustakas, who could show you his World Series ring, which he won with the Royals in 2015, to prove his credentials on the matter. "The crowd was into it, [the Dodgers] were into it, we were into it. It was fun.
"This is what baseball is about, coming down the stretch and playing these types of games. It's going to be a lot of fun going forward with this team, and we'll see what happens at the end of it."
The Brewers fell a game back of the Cubs in the National League Central with their second loss in the first eight games of this West Coast road trip.
With Josh Hader unavailable two days after throwing 39 pitches in Milwaukee's series-opening win on Monday, Joakim Soria coming off back-to-back games and Jeremy Jeffress, Corey Knebel and rookie Corbin Burnes having already pitched, the winning two-run homer came against Brewers reliever Matt Albers, who faced two batters and retired neither. Matt Kemp snapped an 0-for-26 slump with a single before Grandal hammered a sinker to the right-field seats.
It was Albers' second appearance off a long stint on the disabled list for a shoulder injury, and he has allowed five earned runs on four hits and a walk while recording one out in those two games.
"I feel good, though," Albers said. "I feel like I should be executing. No excuses. Hopefully I get there. I feel like I'm on the way."
Cain reached safely four times and scored twice on highlight-reel plays -- first on a triple and an error leading off the game, then on a two-base wild pitch in the third inning. Those runs backed Brewers starter Chase Anderson, who pitched six quality innings but was burned by back-to-back fastballs in the fifth that both went for Dodgers home runs. Grandal hit the first and James Dozier the second as part of Dozier's three-hit Dodgers debut.
Both teams swapped clutch hits and defensive plays down the stretch, with the Dodgers taking a 4-2 lead in the seventh and the Brewers answering with two runs in the eighth on Moustakas' first extra-base hit and RBI with the Brewers -- he doubled in a run -- and Pina's two-out RBI single that tied it at 4.
Moustakas denied the Dodgers a go-ahead rally in the bottom of the eighth with the Brewers' best defensive play since, well, 24 hours earlier, when Cain robbed Cody Bellinger of a home run in the seventh inning of Tuesday's 1-0 Brewers win.
The bases were loaded with two outs when Chris Taylor hit a grounder over third base. Moustakas made a diving stop, and instead of trying to race the runner to the bag, he threw across the diamond to first, where Jesus Aguilar picked it for the inning-ending out.
"Wherever I was going to go, it was going to be a bang-bang play no matter what," Moustakas said. "So I just took my best shot and tried to get him at first, and it ended up working out for me."
The Brewers traded for Moustakas because of his bat, but it's been his glove that has impressed most so far.
"He's leaving his feet every night, it feels like, and making exceptional plays," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's been outstanding. The big hit, obviously, to get us there. Manny Pina with a huge hit as well. But Mike's been a nice addition, and it's been heavy action at third base so far, for sure."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Shaw off the bench: The side effect of the Brewers' creative trades for Moustakas and Jonathan Schoop (who went 0-for-5 in Wednesday's Milwaukee debut) is that Counsell will have a power-hitting infielder on his bench most nights. On Wednesday, that was Travis Shaw, who was called upon to pinch-hit with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth after Pina tied the game. Shaw, who entered the day with a .512 OPS against left-handed pitchers, was Counsell's choice against southpaw Scott Alexander over right-handed hitters Orlando Arcia and Erik Kratz. But Shaw grounded into an inning-ending double play.
"You're going with the bat," Counsell said. "Travis is playing every day, he's comfortable in the at-bat. ... I thought Travis swung at a good pitch to hit. It was a ball up. He just got on top of it a little bit."
Knebel vs. Machado: The Dodgers moved the winning run to third base with two outs in the ninth and set up a showdown between Brewers closer Corey Knebel and Dodgers newcomer Manny Machado, who homered off a Knebel fastball in Monday's opener. Knebel went back to that pitch, firing four straight four-seam fastballs between 97.5-98.6 mph. The last one was the firmest, and induced a swinging strike three that sent the game to extra innings.
"I'm going to throw it until he hits it. He missed the first one, so I'm going to keep going," Knebel said. "Missed the second one, just keep going. That's my best pitch. I'm not going to let him beat me on my secondary pitch."
A pair of long hitting streaks came to an end. Christian Yelich had the Majors' longest active streak at 15 games, but he went 0-for-5. Schoop's 12-game streak was the third-longest active in the Majors, but that ended, too.
HE SAID IT
"They have a really good team, good starting pitching, really good bullpen and the offense is unbelievable. For us to come out with a win is huge." -- Grandal, on the Brewers
IN THE MINORS
The Brewers' catching depth took a hit Wednesday when Jacob Nottingham was placed on Triple-A Colorado Springs' disabled list with a chip fracture of his right wrist. Nottingham, the Brewers' No. 11 prospect per MLB Pipeline, was struck by a foul ball on Sunday. His wrist will remain immobilized per doctor's orders for three weeks before the team re-evaluates Nottingham's status.
There was better news for No. 5 Brewers prospect Brice Turang, the team's first-round pick in this year's Draft. Turang was promoted to advanced rookie-level Helena after hitting .319/.421/.362 in 57 plate appearances in the Arizona Rookie League.
The Brewers and Dodgers saved the best pitching matchup for the final day of their four-game series. It's Jhoulys Chacin, who went 4-0 with a 2.64 ERA to win the Brewers' Pitcher of the Month honors for July, against Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw at 8 p.m. CT. The Brewers have won three of the last four games Kershaw started against them, including July 21 at Miller Park.