MILWAUKEE (AP) — The slumping Milwaukee Brewers feel like the breaks aren't going their way.
Opponents are getting on with some soft but well-placed hits, leading to run-scoring innings. The margin for error on the mound is smaller with the lineup stuck in a rut.
The 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night epitomized a tough stretch for the NL Central leaders, who have lost four straight and eight of nine.
"We're just in a funk right now. I don't know how to put it any other way than just the mistakes we miss, they are not missing," manager Ron Roenicke said. "We need to get big hits like they're getting big hits."
Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley homered to support Roberto Hernandez's solid start for the Phillies' third straight win in Milwaukee.
Hernandez (4-8) needed just 84 pitches in eight innings to dispatch the aggressive Brewers. He allowed three hits, and Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save.
"It looked like the ball was darting both ways," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said of Hernandez's pitches. "It looked like (the Brewers) were having a hard time gauging him."
Rollins and Utley homered off Kyle Lohse (9-4), who at one point retired 13 straight batters after Utley's first-inning solo shot.
But Lohse gave up a leadoff single to Cameron Rupp in the sixth before Rollins hit a 2-1 hanging curve with two outs over the wall in right field for a two-run lead. Rollins snapped an 0-for-20 slide at the plate.
"It just seems like a lot of breaks are going the other way, and that's how it goes," Lohse said. "We've just got to battle our way through it and try to head into the break on a little better note."
One night after the teams combined for 16 runs and 23 hits in a Philadelphia victory, Hernandez and Lohse matched up in a pitchers' duel for much of a cool but picture-perfect summer evening.
Milwaukee had seven runs and 13 hits on Tuesday but still lost despite the offensive outburst. On Wednesday, they fell right back into their familiar problems at the plate.
"Don't panic, every good team does this so it's just a matter of making sure we're getting good at-bats," said Lyle Overbay, who went 2 for 3.
The Brewers scratched out a run in the second on Overbay's hard single up the middle. Aramis Ramirez had a poor jump after freezing at second to make sure the ball wasn't caught but center fielder Ben Revere's throw home was offline to allow Ramirez to score and tie the game at 1.
Otherwise, Hernandez took advantage of the first-pitch swinging Brewers and got nine groundball outs in the first seven innings, including Jean Segura's chopper to short with a runner on third to end the fifth. Hernandez didn't allow a hit after the fourth.
"I know that (the Brewers) like to swing. The key for the game today, keep the ball down," Hernandez said. "I control every pitch. Groundballs — that is the key to the game."
Lohse was even better for a stretch by working ahead with first-pitch strikes and finishing Phillies off with 90-mph sliders before running into trouble in the sixth.
NOTES: RHP Jeff Manship (right quad) rejoined the Phillies after being activated from the 15-day DL following Tuesday night's 9-7 win. Manship was 1-1 with a 5.89 ERA in 16 games before going on the DL on June 1. RHP B.J. Rosenberg was demoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... Brewers RHP Jim Henderson's rehab assignment was moved to Double-A Huntsville. The setup man has been on the DL since May 2 with right shoulder inflammation. ... RF Ryan Braun (back) was out of the starting lineup a second straight day. Roenicke said Braun was feeling better and was available off the bench Wednesday. ... Philadelphia's RHP David Buchanan (4-5) opposes Milwaukee's Matt Garza (6-5) when the teams wrap up their four game series Thursday afternoon.
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