The Milwaukee Brewers have been scuffling for the last week or so, particularly at the plate, where they have scored just seven runs in their last four games, including just one in the game they won.
So when the Brewers erupted for five runs in the bottom of the first against the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday night, highlighted by Lyle Overbay’s grand slam, there was cause for optimism.
At least until Wily Peralta gave those five runs right back in the top of the second.
The Brewers lost for the seventh time in eight games, dropping a 9-7 decision to the Phillies as their lead in the National League Central was trimmed to just three games after the St. Louis Cardinals walked off the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second straight night.
Peralta (9-6) became the first Brewers to fail to work at least five innings (other than injury) this season as he was rocked for nine runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings. He walked three and fanned four.
The Phillies (39-51) picked up a run in the top of the first when Ben Revere reached on a bad-hop single past Jean Segura at short, moved up to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on Chase Utley’s sacrifice fly.
Jonathan Lucroy followed with a single and Kendrick walked Aramis Ramirez and Khris Davis to load the bases for Overbay, who absolutely demolished a cut fastball, hitting it up into the loge bleachers in right.
It was Overbay’s fifth career grand slam and he is now 3-for-3 with two doubles, a homer and eight RBI this season when batting with the bases loaded.
So everything was good, right?
Koyie Hill reached on an infield single to Gennett with the bases loaded for an RBI in the top of the second and after Peralta finally got an out, Revere drilled a ground-rule double into the gap in right center for two Phillies runs.
Utley then grounded a single to right for a two-run single and Philadelphia had a 6-5 lead. By the time Marlon Byrd struck out to end the inning, Peralta had faced 10 batters and thrown 44 pitches just to get out of the mess.
Domonic Brown homered off Peralta with one out in the third to make it 7-5. Brown has owned the Brewers in his career as he now has five homers and 19 RBI in just 17 career games against Milwaukee after going 2-for-3 with three RBI.
The Phillies finally delivered the knockout blow to Peralta in the fifth. Ryan Howard led off with a walk and one out later, Cody Asche belted a ground-rule double to right. That was it for Peralta, who left in favor of left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, pitching in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Brown pulled a 2-2 slider into right for a two-run single and a 9-5 Philadelphia lead.
Mark Reynolds got the Brewers back to within two in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run pinch-hit homer—his 14th—on a laser beam to right field off Kendrick.
The Brewers wound up with runners at second and third in the sixth after Gennett blooped a single to left and Lucroy doubled to right, but right-hander Justin De Fratus came on to get Ramirez to end the threat.
The Crew had runners at first and second in the eighth with one out after pinch-hitter Jeff Bianchi reached on a ball deflected by reliever Ken Giles and Carlos Gomez followed with a bunt single. But Gennett’s liner was right at Brown in left field and Lucroy rolled a grounder to short to end the inning.
Five relievers combined for 4.2 innings of shutout relief for the Brewers. Gorzelanny allowed the hit while getting the last two outs in the fifth, Brandon Kintzler struck out one in a perfect sixth and Zach Duke pitched a clean seventh.
The Brewers even got a big inning from Wei-Chung Wang. The rookie left-hander came into the game to start the eighth and set down the side in order on 11 pitches, striking out one. Francisco Rodriguez, who hadn’t pitched since June 28, worked the ninth, allowing a hit and fanning one.
Jonathan Papelbon got the final three outs in order for the Phillies for his 21st save and his second in as many nights.