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Brewers' offense having a tough road trip

MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- The Brewers jumped out to an early lead on a home run by Domingo Santana in the second inning Friday night, but it ended up being the club's only hit in a 3-1 loss to the first-place Dodgers in the opener of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.

Santana, who wore "Showmingo" on the back of his jersey for Players Weekend, sent a 1-2 fastball from Kenta Maeda into the visitor's bullpen in right field for his 21st homer. The solo shot left the bat at 101 mph, had a launch angle of 32 degrees and was projected to travel 359 feet, according to Statcast™.

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LOS ANGELES -- The Brewers jumped out to an early lead on a home run by Domingo Santana in the second inning Friday night, but it ended up being the club's only hit in a 3-1 loss to the first-place Dodgers in the opener of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.

Santana, who wore "Showmingo" on the back of his jersey for Players Weekend, sent a 1-2 fastball from Kenta Maeda into the visitor's bullpen in right field for his 21st homer. The solo shot left the bat at 101 mph, had a launch angle of 32 degrees and was projected to travel 359 feet, according to Statcast™.

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It was the only offensive highlight of the night for the Brewers, who combined to go 0-for-23 with three walks the rest of the way against Maeda and three Dodgers relievers.

"We never knew that was going to happen," Santana said. "It stinks."

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Santana's opposite-field homer was his sixth hit and second homer on the road trip, which began with three games in Colorado and then three more San Francisco. He also drew a pair walks Friday to bring his total to six on the road trip, to go along with a .333 average (6-for-18).

"Domingo has got very good opposite-field power, and when the hits keep coming, it's the opposite-field stuff," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. "So he's doing a nice job."

Still, the Brewers are in need of production from other parts of their lineup.

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No. 3 hitter Ryan Braun is batting .115 (3-for-26), and cleanup man Travis Shaw is batting .148 (4-for-27) on this trip.

"Travis and Ryan have had a quiet road trip, and obviously those are two guys in the middle of your lineup, and that's why we're going to struggle scoring runs," Counsell said. "We've got to score more runs. It's simple. We're facing good pitching and good teams for sure, and that makes it really challenging. We've obviously got to create more opportunities."

The Brewers only had one scoring opportunity Friday, when Maeda issued consecutive two-out walks to Shaw and Santana in the fourth inning. The threat ended when Stephen Vogt popped out to third in a full count.

"That was our only other opportunity, really, and that's with two outs and Stephen had a good at-bat," Counsell said. "[Maeda] made a nice 3-2 pitch. If you're hoping for one pitch, you obviously need more opportunities than that."

When the Brewers did manage to make solid contact, the Dodgers' defense made difficult plays all over the field.

Yasiel Puig made a leaping catch into the wall in right-center to rob Eric Thames of extra bases in the third. Enrique Hernandez made an over-the-shoulder grab on a line drive from Neil Walker in the ninth. Vogt lined into a double play in the seventh.

"They played some nice outfield defense, for sure," Counsell said. "Hernandez made two nice plays, Puig made a nice play. So those are extra-base hits obviously that could have started something, but they made some nice plays there."

Fortunately for the Brewers, they did not lose any ground to the Cubs in the National League Central or the Rockies in the NL Wild Card race, as both teams lost on Friday. The Brewers trail the Cubs by three games in the division and are 3 1/2 games behind the Rockies for the second NL Wild Card spot.

"We just have to keep on working and keep on grinding at-bats, and eventually we're going to be there again," Santana said. "We've just got to keep working hard."

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. He covered the Brewers on Friday.

Milwaukee Brewers