For the second straight start, Matt Garza was cruising. Then in the eighth inning, the roof caved in.
Garza took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Thursday and took the mound in the eighth with a 1-0 lead, but the Philadelphia Phillies rallied for seven runs in the eighth en route to a 9-1 win and a four-game sweep at Miller Park.
It was the first time the Brewers have been swept in a four-game series at home since the St. Louis Cardinals turned the trick from May 2-5, 2013.
Milwaukee (52-41) has lost five straight games for the first time this season and is just 1-9 in its last 10 games.
The Brewers have had sole possession of the National League Central lead since April 9, but their lead is down to just 1½ games over the Cardinals pending the result of St. Louis’ Thursday night game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Garza (6-6) took a hard-luck loss despite pitching six no-hit frames. Jimmy Rollins broke up the no-hit bid leading off the top of the seventh with a single to right field.
Garza left with two outs in the eighth, still leading 1-0 but with runners at second and third.
Cameron Rupp lined a one-out double to right field and pinch-hitter Cesar Hernandez walked. After Tony Gwynn Jr. grounded out to advance the runners, left-hander Will Smith came in from the bullpen to turn around Rollins.
Smith, who has been lights out so often this season, didn’t have it.
Rollins lined a single into left that gave Philadelphia (41-51) a 2-1 lead, but they weren’t done yet.
Rollins stole second and Chase Utley worked a walk. Ryan Howard then hit a towering fly ball down the left-field line that Khris Davis couldn’t quite get to. It hopped the wall and clanked off the foul pole for a ground-rule double and a 3-1 lead for the Phillies.
Howard clubbed a long two-run homer off Wei-Chung Wang in the top of the ninth.
Garza allowed two runs on three hits in 7.2 innings, walking two and striking out three.
Smith was charged with five runs on three hits and two walks and did not retire a batter, with his ERA soaring from 2.16 to 3.24. In his last three outings, Smith has worked two innings and allowed nine earned runs.
Smith, a converted starter who was acquired from the Kansas City Royals in a trade for outfielder Nori Aoki last December, has appeared in a career-high 47 games and could not get his devastating slider into the strike zone on Thursday.
Wang, who went on the disabled list after the game, surrendered two runs on a hit and a walk in the ninth.
Milwaukee is hitting a major-league worst .195/.249/.303 in nine games in July and has scored only 21 runs—seven of those in one game.
The Brewers open a crucial three-game series with the Cardinals Friday, heading into the All-Star break. Yovani Gallardo (5-5, 3.45 ERA) is scheduled to start for Milwaukee against right-hander Joe Kelly (1-0, 0.59 ERA), who is expected to be activated for the game after being out since April 16 with a severely strained hamstring.