MILWAUKEE (AP) — In a season of disappointments, the one thing the Milwaukee Brewers had been perfect at was protecting a lead after eight innings.
Closer Jim Henderson, who had recorded a save in each of his last 12 appearances, surrendered a two-run pinch homer to Hank Conger in the ninth inning on Saturday night, giving the Los Angeles Angels a 6-5 victory.
Milwaukee had been 50-0 this season when leading after eight innings, the last team in the majors without a loss.
"I felt good with my fastball tonight. It was lively. I throw a lot of fastballs," Henderson said. "Conger, credit him. He was just timing it up there, saw three of them and timed up the third one. It was a little bit too middle, for sure."
Henderson (3-4) retired his first two batters in the ninth before pinch-hitter Josh Hamilton doubled off the glove of sliding right fielder Caleb Gindle. Conger followed with his seventh home run, driving a 2-1 delivery down the right-field line that barely stayed fair.
"Two outs, Hambone gets that big clutch hit for us to keep the inning alive," Conger said. "I stepped up to the plate, I'd never seen him before, so I'm trying to track him. After a couple, I was just trying to put a good swing on it, just try to drive the ball . Let's just say I was swinging very hard."
Dane Da La Rosa (6-1) pitched a perfect eighth for the win and Ernesto Frieri worked the ninth for his 29th save in 33 chances.
"It was a bad game to lose. We played well, battled back and got the lead," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Henderson has been great all year. We know he's not going to be perfect and there's going to be a time he gives up some runs. It's unfortunate when we battle back like that, it's just hard to lose those games."
Jonathan Lucroy drove in four runs and scored another for the Brewers. He doubled in two runs in the first and singled home two more in the seventh to give Milwaukee a 5-4 lead.
"Guys on base . he's tough. He stays inside the ball, he stays on off-speed stuff," Roenicke said. "They try to come in on him and he can still get to it. He's a tough guy to get out."
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