Dodgers beat Brewers 7-1 for 3-game sweep

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MILWAUKEE (AP)—With three straight wins in Milwaukee, the Los Angeles Dodgers pulled themselves back into the NL wild-card race.

Casey Blake(notes) hit a two-run homer and six Dodgers pitchers combined on a two-hitter as Los Angeles beat the Brewers 7-1 Thursday for a three-game sweep.

“We’ve been saying all along, first let’s try to put something together and then we’ll see where we are,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “Coming into this series, especially against a ballclub that can hit the way these guys can, to play as well as we have—if this doesn’t give us confidence, I don’t know what the heck is going to do it.”

The Dodgers came into Milwaukee with a 3-14 mark on the road in the second half but took a big step with their first three-game sweep at Miller Park since May 23-25, 2003. Los Angeles is five games behind the San Francisco Giants, who lead the wild-card standings.

“We haven’t done this in a while,” Torre said. “We certainly need more than this, but you can’t go win five in a row unless you win three in a row. I thought we played these three games very well.”

Leading 4-1, the Dodgers broke the game open in the seventh with three runs off starter Yovani Gallardo(notes) (11-6) and reliever Todd Coffey(notes).

Gallardo walked reliever Kenley Jensen with one out and Scott Podsednik(notes) singled for the third time. Ryan Theriot(notes) looped the first pitch from Coffey into center for an RBI single that scored Jensen.

An error by catcher Jonathan Lucroy(notes) on center fielder Chris Dickerson’s(notes) throw to the plate allowed Podsednik and Theriot to advance. Podsednik scored on Reed Johnson’s(notes) single, and Theriot came home on Coffey’s wild pitch.

Torre said the Dodgers knew Gallardo was going to be a tough opponent.

“You certainly know you’re going to have your work cut out for you, at their ballpark with their No. 1 and all that stuff,” he said. “We were able to fight through it.”

Gallardo hasn’t pitched like an ace recently. He has allowed 20 runs and 29 hits in his last four starts.

Blake’s 13th homer, a two-run shot off Gallardo in the sixth, pushed the lead to 4-1. Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier(notes) was ejected during the inning for arguing balls and strikes with plate umpire Adrian Anderson.

“I thought it was a bad call,” Ethier said. “The pitches were repeated to the next batter. Same exact pitch, I thought even a better pitch, and he called a ball that time. I was asking him from the dugout, ‘You sure about that?’ He didn’t like it too much and neither did I.

“One of us has the power to kick the other one out. So, I think that’s what happened. Probably wasn’t the best judgment at the time.”

Los Angeles starter Carlos Monasterios(notes), who allowed one run and two hits in 4 1-3 innings, tired in the fifth before the bullpen came on to protect a 2-1 lead.

“You’re not going to win many games with two hits,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said after his team lost its fourth straight.

With one out, Monasterios walked Gallardo, hit Rickie Weeks(notes) with a pitch for the second time in the game and then plunked the next batter, Corey Hart(notes), to load the bases. That ended the rookie right-hander’s 10th start of the season. Ronald Belisario(notes) (2-1) relieved and got Ryan Braun to strike out swinging.

Torre brought in left-hander George Sherrill(notes) to face left-handed hitting Prince Fielder(notes), who hit into a fielder’s choice to end the Brewers’ threat.

“That’s why they are a good team,” Fielder said. “Good move, bring in tough guys out of the bullpen to shut it down a little bit. That’s what they get paid to do. Sometimes, they make mistakes. Sometimes, they don’t.”

After Fielder’s 26th home run, a solo shot in the fourth, tied the game, Podsednik lined a shot off the glove of a diving Weeks at second base in the fifth. The ball trickled into short right field, allowing Brad Ausmus(notes) to score.

Ausmus also had three hits.

Podsednik singled, went to third on Theriot’s double and scored on Matt Kemp’s(notes) groundout in the first.

NOTES: Ethier fouled a pitch off the top of his left foot in the first inning. Torre and assistant trainer Todd Tomczyk came out to check on Ethier as he walked off the pain. He stayed in the game and struck out swinging on the next pitch. … Dodgers LF Manny Ramirez(notes) got the day off as expected. … The Dodgers won the season series 4-2. Milwaukee has not had a winning record against Los Angeles since going 4-3 in 2000.

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