The Milwaukee Brewers were the last team in Major League Baseball to have not lost a game when leading after eight innings. On Saturday night, they became the last team to lose a game after leading after eight innings.
Closer Jim Henderson surrendered a pair of two-out hits in the top of the ninth, including a go-ahead two-run pinch-hit homer to Hank Conger that clanked off the right-field foul pole, and the Brewers lost a 6-5 decision to the Los Angeles Angels at Miller Park.
With the loss, the Brewers continue to be zero-for-the-century against the Angels in Milwaukee. Los Angeles has won seven straight over the Brewers in Milwaukee, dating to the Brewers’ final season in the American League in 1997.
The loss spoiled a big night at the plate for catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who continues his career year. Lucroy drove in four runs while going three-for-five, extending his career-high RBI total to 69.
Milwaukee took a quick 2-0 lead, fell behind 3-2, tied it up and was trailing 4-3 in the seventh inning.
Jerome Williams had allowed two early runs, but was in position to get the win for Los Angeles after pitching six decent innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead for him.
Left-hander Buddy Boshers came on to start the seventh for the Angels and manager Ron Roenicke went with an unconventional move, sending Norichika Aoki—out of the starting lineup with his lingering knee tendinitis—to the plate to hit for fellow lefty-swinging Juan Francisco. Aoki responded with a single to center field. Aoki was on the move when pinch-hitter Yuniesky Betancourt, batting for Marco Estrada, grounded out and Scooter Gennett was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base.
That was it for Boshers as the Angels brought in right-hander Michael Kohn. Jean Segura reached on an infield single that shortstop Erick Aybar couldn’t field cleanly in the hole and Lucroy followed with a single to right field to chase home Aoki and Gennett to give the Crew a 5-4 lead.
Lucroy had put Milwaukee up 2-0 in the bottom of the first, doubling to right field after Gennett and Segura led off the game with consecutive singles.
The Angels got to Estrada in the third. J.B. Shuck and Aybar led off the inning with consecutive singles, setting Los Angeles up with runners at the corners. Mike Trout hit an end-of-the-bat nubber into no man’s land in shallow right field and reached on a single to score Shuck. Kole Calhoun tied it with a fourth straight hit for the Angels, a single to right, and Luis Jimenez drove in Trout with a single to center with one out. Estrada escaped by rolling a double-play grounder.
Lucroy reached with a two-out single in the bottom of the third, stole second base and scored when Aramis Ramirez grounded a double just over the bag at first base.
Chris Iannetta put the Angels back in front when he led off the top of the fourth with his seventh homer of the season, a long drive to left-center field.
From there, Estrada tightened up, retiring the final 12 batters he faced. He worked seven innings, allowing four runs on nine hits with a walk and eight strikeouts.
For Henderson, it was the first time he’s blown a save this season as the closer. He is now 22-for-26 in save opportunities, but the first three blown saves came when he was pitching in a setup role. He fell to 3-4 with the loss. Reliever Dane De La Rosa, who worked a scoreless eighth for the Angels, got the win to go to 6-1 and Ernesto Frieri closed it for his 29th save.
Conger’s late pinch-hitting heroics for the Angels were something the team hasn’t seen in awhile.
— Jacob Jaffe (@Jacob_Jaffe) September 1, 2013
The series concludes Sunday afternoon at Miller Park. Kyle Lohse (9-8) will start for Milwaukee, with C.J. Wilson (13-6) scheduled for Los Angeles. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m. Central Time and the game will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Wisconsin.
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