The Los Angeles Dodgers twice overcame three-run deficits, but could not complete the comeback, losing to the Milwaukee Brewers 8-6 on Thursday night at Chavez Ravine.
The Brewers hit three home runs, including the game-winner by Jonathan Villar in the top of the ninth to snap a three-game losing streak, and send LA spiraling downwards in the National League West division.
"We never take it face down, we always take it face up," Villar said of his team's victory. "I'm happy for the home run and for the team win."
Milwaukee opened up the scoring with a three-run third inning off Scott Kazmir. The left-hander struggled in each of the first three innings, but was finally bitten by the Brewers when Jonathan Lucroy hit a two-run single to right field to give the Brewers an early lead.
"I could have minimized the damage with some quality pitches, but I gave them those three runs in a short outing," Kazmir said. "It was disappointing."
The Dodgers made their first of two three-run comebacks when Trayce Thompson blasted a game-tying, three-run home run to deep center in the bottom half of the inning.
"He left a fastball out over the plate and I was able to put a good swing on it," Thompson said of his home run. "It's an everyday game, so we just have to keep it rolling."
Thompson greeted Junior Guerra with a 408-foot blast that just cleared the centerfield wall. It was Thompson's 11th home run of the year and it tied the game at 3-3.
In Guerra's first ever start against the Dodgers, he allowed a career-high five runs on five hits in 5 and 1/3 innings of work.
Kazmir would get pulled by Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts after just four innings and 93 pitches, his shortest start of the season. The 13-year veteran faced Milwaukee for the first time in his career and received a no-decision allowing three runs on five hits with eight strikeouts.
"I felt like I was able to go out there for the fifth, but I respect the decision that Doc made," Kazmir continued. "90 something pitches in four innings...you don't deserve to go back out there in my opinion."
The Brewers broke the game open in the top of the fifth off reliever Casey Fien. Fien had not allowed a run in eight games with the boys in blue, but he served up a solo shot to Aaron Hill and a two-run bomb to Chris Carter that gave Milwaukee a 6-3 lead.
"You have to watch out with his power," Fien said of Carter. "Even if he touches the ball it can go, especially on a night like tonight. I threw it, they hit it."
LA would rally again in the bottom half of the sixth inning thanks to some defensive miscues by Milwaukee centerfielder Keon Broxton.
Broxton committed errors on back-to-back singles allowing runners to reach second base and into scoring position. Both Howie Kendrick and Joc Pederson benefitted from the Broxton blunders as they each had an RBI and a run scored in the inning.
Speaking of blunders, Dodgers' catcher Yasmani Grandal nearly committed one of the biggest base running blunders you'll ever see in that bottom of the sixth inning.
With runners at the corners and one-out, Justin Turner hit a pinch-hit sac fly to deep left field. Pederson tagged and scored the tying run on the play, but Grandal inexplicably tried to tag as well, and was tagged out before reaching second base.
"With one out and the fly ball is the second out, what you don't want to do is run into an out there. The run scored and it didn't really matter," Turner said of the incident with Grandal. "Sometimes you have differences of opinion."
The Brewers challenged the play and replay showed that Pederson just barely crossed the plate before Grandal was tagged out. The veteran catcher was lucky he wasn't out a second sooner or it could have spelled disaster for the Dodgers.
"Yaz made the right play tagging there to force the throw, but the ball should stop you," Roberts said of the play. "I applaud the effort, but that was a lot closer than it should have been."
Ultimately, disaster did eventually strike down the boys in blue in the top of the ninth inning off reliever Pedro Baez. The right-hander allowed his sixth home run of the season when he served up a changeup to Villar that was absolutely crushed into the empty space past centerfield.
Milwaukee closer, Jeremy Jeffress, loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but he struck out Corey Seager to end the game, earning his 19th save of the season.
"I like Corey in that spot, we gave ourselves a chance to tie the game," Roberts concluded. "But that's a good closer with great stuff. He was throwing 98 MPH."
Players of the Game:
Trayce Thompson: Three-run home run.
Chris Carter: Two-run home run.
Jonathan Villar: Game-winning two-run home run in 9th.
1. No-Hit Stuff: Former Dodger Josh Beckett was in attendance and sat behind home plate for Thursday's game between the Brewers and Dodgers. Beckett pitched three years for the boys in blue and threw a no-hitter in 2014.
2. Family Feud: Dodger Teammates Justin Turrner and Yasmani Grandal got into a heated exchange in the dugout after LA tied the game in the sixth inning. Turner's RBI sac fly with one-out almost never materialized after Grandal was tagged out trying to advance to second base in a boneheaded baserunning blunder.
3. Fits Like a Glove: Newest Dodger, Will Venable, made his first start in right field on Thursday and he paid homage to his manager Dave Roberts by wearing his old glove during the game.
ICYMI, Vin Scully pointed out that right fielder Will Venable is using Dave Roberts' old glove. — Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) June 17, 2016
Brewers (31-36): Zach Davies takes the hill for the Brew Crew in Game Two of the seven-game series.
Dodgers (35-33): Julio Urias gets the call as the "Teenager" is still search of his first career win. First pitch is 7:10PM PST.
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