MILWAUKEE (AP) - An ugly road trip for the Toronto Blue Jays has the team longing for a return to Canada.
The Blue Jays lost for the sixth time in seven games on the trip, falling to the Brewers 6 to 1 as Milwaukee pitchers retired 24 consecutive Toronto hitters to close out the game.
“We just want to go home,” shortstop Jose Reyes said. “It seems like we play better baseball at home. You come out with the kind of lineup we have and score only one run.”
In his third start since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Aug. 9, Milwaukee starter Mike Fiers (3-1) held the Blue Jays to two hits and a lone run and retired the final 18 batters he faced in a 106-pitch outing.
“At the same time, you have to give some credit to the pitcher from the other side,” Reyes said. “He did an unbelievable job.”
The Brewers, who won their fifth consecutive game, jumped on Toronto starter J.A. Happ (8-8) immediately, belting three doubles to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
The Blue Jays got on the board in the second on Munenori Kawasaki’s RBI ground out.
The Brewers added two doubles in the third to extend their lead to 4-1. Milwaukee hitters connected for another pair of doubles in the fifth and added two more runs, staking Fiers to a five-run lead.
Happ lasted just 3 1-3 innings, giving up six hits and four runs. It marked his shortest start since going just 2 1-3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels on May 10.
“I got us in a hole early,” Happ said. “It’s tough against anybody, let alone a first-place team. Everybody’s got to do their part and I came up short tonight.”
Toronto manager John Gibbons said his team needs to regroup as it heads into the final stretch.
“We’re in a little bit of a rut,” he said.
The Blue Jays squandered early chances against Fiers and fell behind as Happ struggled.
“We couldn’t do anything with Fiers,” Gibbons said. “But you still have to come back when you’re down early. We really haven’t been able to put together anything offensively in awhile.”
The Brewers set a season high with seven doubles. The team single-game record is nine, accomplished four times. Lucroy’s two doubles brought his season total to 42.
“I got a couple mistakes up in the zone and I was able to take advantage,” Lucroy said.
No primary catcher has ever led his league in doubles for a season. Lucroy, who played first base in Tuesday’s game, has 35 doubles as a catcher, six as a first baseman and one as a designated hitter.
“Luc always has good at-bats,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said.
The major league record for doubles by a catcher in a season is 45 by the Rangers’ Ivan Rodriguez in 1996.
Brewers: RHP Jim Henderson, on the disabled list since May, had right shoulder surgery on Tuesday, ending his season. .RHP Matt Garza, on the 15-day DL with an oblique strain, could return to the rotation in early September, and RHP Kyle Lohse, who is nursing a sore ankle, won’t pitch during the five-game home stand, manager Ron Roenicke said.
Blue Jays: Edwin Encarnacion, who was activated on Friday after missing more than a month with a quad injury, started at first base. He started the previous three games at DH, not an option in the National League ballpark. “We need him,” manager John Gibbons said.
Brewers: Rookie Jimmy Nelson (2-3. 3.86 ERA) has five consecutive quality starts and has been counted on heavily with injuries to Garza and
Lohse. The Brewers are 4-3 in Nelson’s seven starts.
Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey (9-12. 3.95) will pitch the finale in the two-game series. Dickey’s nine losses on the road are tied for the most in the majors.
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