Brewers bullpen blows another lead, Nats win 11
MILWAUKEE (AP) The Milwaukee Brewers' bullpen is still in disarray, and Michael Morse and his Washington teammates took advantage.
Morse hit a tying, two-run homer in the ninth inning, then delivered a two-run double in the 11th that sent the Nationals over the Brewers 11-10 Sunday.
The Brewers have lost nine of 10. Their bullpen allowed nine runs in the final five innings in the latest defeat.
Milwaukee's duo of Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford each allowed three runs in failing to protect another late lead. Jose Veras (3-4), another late-inning reliever, allowed the two-run homer to Morse in the 11th.
"The word I used earlier was `inexplicable,'" Axford said. "It's tough to describe what's happening, especially after the run we had last year."
Axford, who was removed as the team's closer after blowing several save chances this month, said the struggles appear to be contagious.
"In all honesty that's what it kind of seems like," he said.
"Maybe it's kind of a domino effect right now," he said. "It's not really working out."
Morse's homer with one out in the ninth off Axford made it 9-all. The opposite-field shot barely made it over the wall in right.
"It seemed like it was a boxing match," Morse said. "It kept going back and forth, back and forth. We just hung in there and came through on top."
The NL East-leading Nationals rallied for four runs in the eighth to tie it at 7.
Milwaukee opened a 7-3 lead on Weeks' 11th home run of the year in the seventh, but Rodriguez gave up three runs in the eighth and was removed for Axford. Corey Brown then scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the dirt from Axford that went to the backstop.
Aoki and Gomez hit back to back solo home runs in the bottom of the eighth to give the Brewers a 9-7 lead.
Axford struck out Zimmerman to open the ninth. He then walked Mark DeRosa before giving up the home run to Morse, his eighth of the year.
Milwaukee starter Mark Rogers, starting in place of Zack Greinke, pitched 5 2-3 solid innings in his first major league appearance since 2010. The right-hander was the fifth pick in the June 2004 free agent draft, but had pitched only 10 innings in the majors before replacing Greinke in the Brewers' rotation.
Rogers gave up a home run to Steve Lombardozzi to lead off the game, but settled in to keep the Nationals off-balance. He gave up two runs on six hits and struck out seven.
"I felt good but obviously it didn't start the way I wanted it to," he said.
Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said after the game that Rogers would remain in the rotation.
NOTES: Greinke was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday and made his first start for his new team on Sunday. ... Before the game, the Brewers traded C George Kottaras to the Oakland Athletics for RHP Fautino De Los Santos. He was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. The Brewers also optioned RHP Tyler Thornburg to Nashville after the game. ... Aramis Ramirez was held out of Milwaukee's starting lineup to rest his sore left wrist. He pinch hit in the sixth and was intentionally walked.
Updated July 29, 2012