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Phillies 4, Brewers 3: Depite return of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, offense sputters for the most part

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel logo Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 5 days ago Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
a baseball player standing on top of a dirt field: Christian Yelich strikes out in the third inning Monday night. Yelich returned to the lineup after missing three weeks. © Rich Schultz, Getty Images Christian Yelich strikes out in the third inning Monday night. Yelich returned to the lineup after missing three weeks.

PHILADELPHIA – Hidden inside the Milwaukee Brewers' strong start to the season, particularly considering the ridiculous number of injuries they have suffered, has been an offense that often struggles to score runs.

Despite getting Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain off the injured list and back in the lineup for the first time in three weeks, the Brewers again sputtered for too many innings, resulting in a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. 

Combined with a 16-4 thumping Sunday at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers, it was the first time the Brewers lost two games in a row since dropping three straight after opening the season with an extra-inning victory over Minnesota. 

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Brewers starter Adrian Houser took the loss but deserved a better fate. In a season-best six innings, he surrendered four hits and four runs, but only two were earned, to go with a walk and two strikeouts.

After long absences with injuries, Cain and Yelich were activated before the game and went right to work. With one down in the first inning, Cain blasted a 1-1 fastball from right-hander Vince Velasquez onto the food patio beyond the stands in left-center, a 446-foot shot that provided a quick 1-0 lead.

BOX SCORE: Phillies 4, Brewers 3

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Yelich followed with a sharp single to center and Travis Shaw drew a walk but Velasquez stopped it there by striking out Avisaíl García looking and popping up Daniel Vogelbach.

The Phillies didn’t take long to respond. With one down in the bottom of the inning, Brad Miller singled to left and J.T. Realmuto crushed a tape-measure homer of his own, a shot into the second deck in left to put his team ahead, 2-1.

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Luis Urías led off the Brewers second with a double into the left-field corner and moved to third on a groundout by Luke Maile but Velasquez struck out Houser and retired Kolten Wong on a fly to left to keep the Phillies on top.

A careless two-base throwing error by Urías on a routine grounder by Odubel Herrera with one down on the second opened the door for two unearned runs off Houser. He scored when Roman Quinn rippled a triple to left-center and Velasquez scored him with a grounder to first base on what should have been the third out.

Both starting pitchers settled down after some shaky early work. Beginning with the outs after Quinn’s one-out triple in the second, Houser retired 13 hitters in a row before walking Did Gregorious with two out in the sixth.

Houser bounced right back to get Alec Bohm to bounce out to second before exiting the game.

Velasquez also went on a roll before calling it a night, retiring the last 10 hitters he faced. He covered six innings, easily a season high, while allowing only four hits and two walks with six strikeouts.

Sam Coonrod struck out the side in the seventh but the Brewers finally got some action on the bases in the eighth when Connor Brogdon walked Kolten Wong and Cain to open the inning amid a heavy rain shower. A sharp infield single by Yelich loaded the bases with no outs for Shaw, who delivered a sacrifice fly to deep center that also sent Cain to third.

After Phillies closer Hector Neris was summoned for a five-out save, García made it a one-run game with a run-scoring force-out at second base. García then committed a grievous base-running mistake, however, getting picked off first base to end the inning and keep it 4-3.

The Brewers had one last chance in the ninth when Vogelbach snapped out of a 1-for-23 skid with an opposite-field double to open the inning. Neris struck out Urias and Maile before pinch-hitter Billy McKinney kept the game alive by drawing a seven-pitch walk. 

That brought to the plate Wong, who chopped an infield hit up the middle to load the bases. Neris finally stopped it there by making Cain his third strikeout victim of the inning to end the game. 

RECORD

Overall: 17-12

Home: 8-8

Away: 9-4

COMING UP

Tuesday: Brewers at Phillies, 6:05 p.m. Milwaukee LHP Eric Lauer (1-0, 0.00) vs. Philadelphia RHP Aaron Nola (2-1, 3.11). TV: Bally Sports Wisconsin. Radio: AM-620.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Phillies 4, Brewers 3: Depite return of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, offense sputters for the most part

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