MILWAUKEE (AP) — Brewers rookie Jimmy Nelson is learning about pitching in the big leagues in the middle of a pennant race against some of the most well-known starters in the game.
For the fourth straight game, Nelson faced a Cy Young Award winner on the other side. Things didn't go so well Wednesday against R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Jose Bautista's three-run homer capped a five-run sixth inning and Toronto Blue outslugged Milwaukee 9-5 to snap the Brewers' five-game winning streak.
Nelson (2-4) took the loss after allowing the first two runners to reach in the sixth. He gave up four runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings.
"That's not going to work," Nelson said. "I need to do a better job second and third time through. I need to mix my pitches up better and put guys away better."
Overall, though, not a bad four-game stretch for Nelson, having given up more than three runs for the first time since July 12, spanning seven starts. The previous three starts came against the Giants' Tim Lincecum, and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
Manager Ron Roenicke said he thought Nelson threw the ball well, and credited the table-setters in Toronto's order, Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera, with hitting good pitches to get Nelson in trouble. Once again, the sinkerballer was doomed by one problematic inning.
"These are good hitters, and if you can't put the ball where you want to — and we know he has good stuff — you still have to command the ball, and he's going to continue to do better at that," Roenicke said.
Bautista hit a 1-2 pitch from reliever Brandon Kintzler into the Brewers' bullpen in right field. The homer made a winner of R.A. Dickey (10-12), who gave up five runs in 5 2-3 choppy innings.
Dickey left after Carlos Gomez's two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth made it 7-5.
Colby Rasmus also homered for Toronto, which outhit the NL Central leaders 15-10.
The Blue Jays, who were a season-high nine games out of first in the AL East entering the day, finished 2-6 on their road trip.
"This has not been a good road trip for us, anybody will tell you that," Dickey said. "The home run by Jose was the difference and you could kind of hear a collective sigh on the bench."
Milwaukee had the potential go-ahead run up with one out in the eighth and NL doubles leader Jonathan Lucroy at the plate. The .304 hitter hit a hard bouncer to reliever Dustin McGowan for an easy 1-6-3 double play.
Dickey, who won the Cy Young in 2012 while with the Mets, allowed eight hits. Gerardo Parra had a double and triple off Dickey, making him a career 6 of 9 off the knuckleballer.
"I expect more out of myself. Especially there in the sixth, I was one out away from it being a tolerable outing," Dickey said.
Blue Jays: RHP Brandon Morrow, on the disabled list since May 3 because of a torn tendon in his right index finger, has "cut it loose" in throwing side sessions but isn't at full strength, manager John Gibbons said. Toronto hopes Morrow will be ready in September, likely out of the bullpen.
Brewers: Roenicke said he hasn't started discussions about what to do with Mike Fiers once RHP Matt Garza returns from the disabled list with a rib cage muscle injury. Garza will go back into the rotation when ready, likely in early next month. Fiers is 3-0 with an 0.86 ERA in three starts since being called up Aug. 9 from Triple-A.
Blue Jays: After an off-day, Toronto returns home to face the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday. RHP Marcus Stroman (7-4) will try to rebound from a rough outing, after he failed to get out of the first and allowed five runs on Aug. 15 to the White Sox.
Brewers: Milwaukee gets its second off-day in four days Thursday. RHP Yovani Gallardo (8-6) has a chance to put the struggling Pirates in deeper trouble in the NL Central when Pittsburgh begins a three-game series Friday.
Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP