CLEVELAND -- When the Brewers lost four straight games to the Cubs in the waning days of April, and it looked like their offense might never put another crooked number on a scoreboard, cleanup man Travis Shaw took to Twitter and borrowed a page from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron
CLEVELAND -- When the Brewers lost four straight games to the Cubs in the waning days of April, and it looked like their offense might never put another crooked number on a scoreboard, cleanup man Travis Shaw took to Twitter and borrowed a page from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' playbook. He urged fans to "C-H-I-L-L."
More than a month later, after Tuesday's 3-2 loss to Corey Kluber and the Indians gave the Brewers their first back-to-back losses since Shaw sent his message, did he have another?
"Nah," he said with a grin. "That was a one and done."
It was "Kluber being Kluber," as Lorenzo Cain put it after the Indians ace stifled Brewers batters over seven innings to out-duel Junior Guerra at Progressive Field. Shaw made things interesting with a long home run leading off the ninth, but it wasn't enough for the Brewers, who, coupled with Sunday's loss to the White Sox in Chicago, have dropped consecutive games for the first time since that frigid four-game sweep at Wrigley Field.
"We've been pretty consistent this last month. But it's a long season and we've got to continue to be consistent throughout the entire season to get to where we want to be, which is in the playoffs," said Cain. "A little hiccup, losing two back-to-back, but we've got to find a way to bounce back."
Cain's run-scoring single in the third inning was all the Brewers could muster against Kluber, who scattered seven hits -- six of which were singles -- in seven innings for his 25th consecutive start allowing three or fewer runs.
The Brewers were aiming for a second win in as many matchups against Kluber, who surrendered a 433-foot home run to pitcher Brent Suter when the teams met at Miller Park on May 8 in a 3-2 Brewers win. In Tuesday's rematch, Kluber struck out seven without a walk, never let the leadoff batter of an inning reach base and limited the Brewers to a trio of two-out singles over his final four scoreless frames.
"They're a good lineup. There's a reason they're in first place," Kluber said. "They're a good team. They did a good job at times when I got ahead of them. They still battled and they were able to waste some pitches, they were able to get some hits behind in the count. I think they did a good job of staying with at-bats and not just kind of bailing on them and trying to hit home runs or whatever the new thing is."
Guerra gave the Brewers a chance with his third consecutive quality start, working six innings while allowing three runs on seven hits, with five strikeouts and one costly walk. The free pass led off the second inning, four batters before Indians right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall announced his return from the disabled list with a two-run single.
Jose Ramirez hit his 19th home run with two outs and the bases empty in the third inning for Cleveland's other run -- a key piece of insurance when Shaw connected against closer Cody Allen in the ninth.
"We had some baserunners. Just couldn't get the next hit to make it a rally," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We pitched well enough to keep us in the game and give us a shot later, but we just couldn't push the next run across."
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MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The third inning looked promising for the Brewers before Kluber locked in. Manny Pina started things with a long double to the left-field gap for what would prove to be Milwaukee's only extra-base hit until Shaw's homer in the ninth. Orlando Arcia and Cain followed with singles, the sort of hits with runners in scoring position that eluded the Brewers as they went 0-for-16 in the clutch while losing two of three to the White Sox. It was a chance for a big inning with the team's May Player of the Month, Christian Yelich, coming up. Yelich made hard contact, only to see his line drive head straight for second baseman Jason Kipnis' glove. Jesus Aguilar struck out, and the inning was over.
"We really had that one good opportunity," said Counsell, "and Christian hit a ball right on the screws and wound up lining out."
Was it a turning point in the game?
"I wouldn't say that was a turning point. I would say I wish that went through," said Yelich. "With Kluber, it's tough to square balls up against a guy like that, and when you do, you'd like to see them get through. It just wasn't meant to be tonight. All you can do is try to hit the ball hard in that situation, and you have to live with the results. … I thought we did a really good job battling him."
HE SAID IT
"Throwing that frisbee slurve, whatever he calls it. It's pretty impressive because he stands all the way to the far right side of the rubber and throws a cutter that looks like it's coming at you, but it ends up on the outside part of the plate or off the plate. He keeps it shin-high, which you can't just do anything with. It's impressive. But it's Kluber being Kluber. I've seen him over the years. He's as solid as any pitcher I know." -- Cain, who was the only Brewer with multiple hits
Brewers hitters will take another crack at Cleveland right-hander Carlos Carrasco in the conclusion of a two-game Interleague Series at 12:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Carrasco struck out 14 batters, a season high for an Indians pitcher, while scattering five hits and two runs in a complete-game effort against the Brewers at Miller Park on May 9. Milwaukee counters with Chase Anderson.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.