Brewers capture series over Dodgers in LA
LOS ANGELES -- Jimmy Nelson (aka "Big Sweat") stifled the Dodgers' lineup and Hernan Perez (aka "Pan Blanco") went deep as the Brewers won the Players Weekend finale, 3-2, on Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
The Brewers handed the Dodgers their first series loss since June 5-7 (vs. the Nationals) and inched closer in the National League Central race, sitting two games back of the first-place Cubs.
"We proved to ourselves that we're right there with the best teams," Nelson said.
Nelson cruised through five innings, holding the Dodgers hitless until Chase Utley (aka "Silver Fox") broke up the no-hitter with a one-out pinch-hit single in the sixth. The righty struck out six and gave up two runs on six hits over 6 2/3 frames, tossing 102 pitches.
"Jimmy was really good today," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He pitched beautifully, he really did."
Yu Darvish (aka "Yu-San") returned from the disabled list and lasted five innings, allowing three runs on six hits and fanning seven on 95 pitches. Milwaukee opened the scoring when a one-out grounder to Corey Seager got under his glove, driving in a first-inning run with men on the corners. Perez homered off Darvish and Domingo Santana (aka "Showmingo") added an RBI single in a two-run third.
Seager extended his hitting streak to 15 games in the sixth with his RBI single and scored after Santana lost track of Justin Turner's fly ball in the sun to cut the deficit to 3-2.
The Dodgers threatened in the ninth with runners on first and second and two outs, but Brewers closer Corey Knebel (aka "Bird Dog") struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer with a 3-2 fastball to nail down his 29th save.
"It was a pretty intense inning," Knebel said. "A lot of emotion going through there. I had to make my pitches. It was big."
The Dodgers were unable to score more than three runs for the fourth time in five games and dropped to 3-3 without Cody Bellinger (aka "Codylove") in the lineup since he went on the DL on Tuesday. Roberts said Bellinger will return the club on Wednesday and will go back to first base.
"I think that -- look at our club offensively -- I think that's where we're a little cold right now," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "It happens to every ballclub at some point in time in the season. You look at the guys throughout the lineup that aren't swinging the bat the way they're capable of or have been this year, it's all kind of happening at once. We'll get through it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
'Nerd Power' with nerd leather: In the seventh, Yasiel Puig (aka "Wild Horse") came off the bench with two outs and a runner at first. He seemed poised to spark a rally when he smoked a liner up the middle that looked destined for center field. Eric Sogard (aka "Nerd Power") had other plans. Sogard made a great diving stab and got up in time to make a throw to first to end the inning.
"It was great to kill that rally," Sogard said. "He's a good runner, and so I just tried to get my feet under me as quick as I could and get enough on the throw, and it worked out great."
Thank you, sun: The Dodgers struggled through five innings against Nelson until breaking through in the sixth. After Seager cut the lead to 3-1, Turner (aka "Redturn2") hit a routine fly ball to shallow right field with two outs. Santana nearly tracked it down before losing it in the sun and watching the ball drop to score Seager.
Brewers: Following a day off on Monday, the Brewers return to Miller Park to play the Cardinals on Tuesday in the opener of a six-game homestand. Matt Garza (6-7, 4.67 ERA) takes the mound, with first pitch scheduled for 6:40 p.m. CT.
Dodgers: Los Angeles will have a day off before heading to Arizona for a three-game series with the D-backs. Rich Hill (9-5, 3.32 ERA) makes his first start since his near perfect game, with first pitch slated for 6:40 p.m. PT.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles and covered the Brewers on Sunday.