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Hader falls to earth as Brewers lose to Royals

Miller's 1st HR with Milwaukee closes gap but late rally cut short
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- The Royals hadn't scored more than four runs in a game, much less in an inning, in more than three weeks. Brewers All-Star hopeful Josh Hader hadn't surrendered multiple hits in an inning all year.

But both of those streaks came to an end Wednesday afternoon, when Brent Suter's solid start fell apart and Hader couldn't find the strikeout he was seeking in what became a five-run seventh-inning rally for the Royals. They needed every one of those runs to beat the Brewers, 5-4, at Miller Park.

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MILWAUKEE -- The Royals hadn't scored more than four runs in a game, much less in an inning, in more than three weeks. Brewers All-Star hopeful Josh Hader hadn't surrendered multiple hits in an inning all year.

But both of those streaks came to an end Wednesday afternoon, when Brent Suter's solid start fell apart and Hader couldn't find the strikeout he was seeking in what became a five-run seventh-inning rally for the Royals. They needed every one of those runs to beat the Brewers, 5-4, at Miller Park.

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Jesus Aguilar hit his seventh home run in his past eight starts, and Brad Miller's first Brewers homer was good for three runs in the ninth. But the comeback bid fell just short, and Milwaukee settled for a two-game split.

"It's going to happen," said Hader. "We rallied that last inning to come [within] one run. It shows we don't stop fighting. That's what it's been like all year."

The Brewers finished a 3-3 homestand that could have been better. They won the first two of four games against the Cardinals before losing the next two days. Then the Brewers hit three home runs to beat the Royals on Tuesday before falling Wednesday afternoon.

Despite the recent trials, Milwaukee hits the road for four games against the red-hot Cincinnati Reds (winner of nine of their past 10 games) with the best record in the National League at 46-33.

"Even in our losses, we're making the other team work a lot," said Suter. "From that respect, I love how we're playing. It would be nice to win these series instead of splitting them, but that's part of the game."

Suter, coming off consecutive starts of seven innings, sailed through six scoreless frames, while scattering three hits, making a spectacular defensive play and getting a lead when Aguilar smacked his team-leading 18th home run off Royals starter Danny Duffy in the sixth.

Video: KC@MIL: Aguilar clubs 18th homer of the year

The 1-0 advantage didn't last. Mike Moustakas started the decisive seventh with a solo home run off Suter, who faced three more batters and retired none before yielding to reliever Jeremy Jeffress with the bases loaded and no outs. Jeffress got one out on a fielder's-choice comebacker before Hader took over against switch-hitting Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi.

"To me, Josh is the guy who has the best chance to get a strikeout, so we went for the strikeout with Mondesi, [thinking] he has the better chance of striking out," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

Instead, Mondesi turned on an inside fastball and hit it midway up the left-field wall for a go-ahead two-run single. Lucas Duda and Whit Merrifield also delivered RBIs against Hader, who had stranded nine of his first 10 inherited baserunners and held opponents to a .100 batting average this season before Wednesday.

It marked only the second time this season Hader worked on back-to-back days. He threw two pitches for the final out in Tuesday's win.

"Josh's velocity was good. Everything was good," Counsell said. "He threw the ball well. They jumped on the first pitch, and we've seen that a lot lately, but he's been so effective that obviously multiple hits in an inning is something we haven't seen. They got him today."

Of Mondesi's hit, Hader said, "I just didn't execute my pitch. I think if I executed it, it would have played out differently."

By the time the Royals' nine-batter rally was over, Suter had been charged with four earned runs on six hits. Hader was charged with one run on two hits -- only the third time in 27 appearances he'd allowed multiple hits, and the first time they came in the same inning.

"We're all going to give up hits," Suter said. "He just hasn't given any up at all this year. He'll get right back up on the horse."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Miller time: Down 5-1 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, Miller made it a ballgame by enduring a long at-bat against Royals left-hander Tim Hill that was interrupted by an injury to Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez. When play resumed with Drew Butera behind the plate, Miller pulled a fastball away into the visitors' bullpen to make it a 5-4 game.

"Battling," said Miller. "Hill is nasty. You don't see too many guys with that stuff from that angle. Really, it was just survival."

Video: KC@MIL: Miller hits 1st homer with the Brewers

'Game-changer': Suter's biggest regret was his lone walk amid the Royals' big rally in the seventh inning, but he admitted Moustakas' home run was "definitely a game-changer."

"We had the lead and that gave up the lead," Suter said. "The defense was doing a great job and everything was clicking until the seventh inning. I want the Moustakas pitch back. That changed the whole game."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Suter says he likes to get his uniform dirty, and his fifth-inning putout of Alex Gordon helped him accomplish that feat Wednesday. Suter tumbled off the mound to grab the slow-rolling grounder, showed off some acrobatics with a somersault, stood back up and then applied a diving tag on Gordon at first, completing the inning's second out.

"When the pitcher has dirt on his back," said Miller with admiration, "that's a good sign."

Video: Must C Crafty: Suter tumbles, dives for athletic out

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The game ended with a critical replay review after Ryan Braun was initially called safe on a fielder's-choice groundout. It was induced by right-hander Wily Peralta, the longtime Brewers pitcher who has recently emerged as the Royals' closer, and took over after Miller's home run made it a one-run game. Erik Kratz grounded a one-out single against Peralta before Braun's bouncer to third base. Kansas City manager Ned Yost won the challenge and the ballgame.

"It's one of the best feelings I've ever had in my career, especially in that situation," Peralta said. "I spent 12 years with the [Brewers] organization. I feel part of the family in a way. When you spend that much time with one organization, you know a lot of people there. I'm glad and feel happy to have seen them again."

Video: KC@MIL: Peralta induces game-ending DP for the save

UP NEXT
Right-hander Junior Guerra (3-5, 2.82 ERA) takes the ball as the Brewers head to Cincinnati to start a four-game series with the Reds on Thursday at 6:10 p.m. CT at Great American Ball Park. Guerra threw five innings and allowed one run in a no-decision vs. the Cardinals last Friday, and he surrendered just one hit over 5 2/3 innings against the Reds on April 17. Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (3-1, 4.09) starts for Cincinnati.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Milwaukee Brewers, Josh Hader, Brent Suter