LOS ANGELES (AP) – Jonathan Lucroy put the finishing touches on Milwaukee’s resounding three-game sweep of Los Angeles, giving the NL West leaders plenty to think about should they meet again in October.
Lucroy tied a season high with five RBIs, including his first home run in more than three weeks, and the Brewers beat the Dodgers 7-2 on Sunday to maintain their three-game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central.
Lucroy also had five RBIs on June 17 at Arizona, including a pair of homers – one of which was a grand slam.
“It was one of those days where I got a couple of good pitches to hit and was able to hit them hard,” Lucroy said. “(Dan) Haren made a couple of mistakes up in the zone and I was able to take advantage.”
Wily Peralta (15-7) tied Johnny Cueto and Adam Wainwright for the major league lead in victories, allowing five hits in six scoreless innings. The right-hander is 6-1 with a 1.79 ERA in seven starts since giving up a career-worst nine runs in a 9-7 home loss to Philadelphia on July 8.
“I’ve just been pounding the strike zone and working ahead of the hitters. That’s been the difference since that game in Philadelphia,” Peralta said. “I’ve been able to locate my fastball and mix it in with some off-speed stuff.
“They made me work today, but I was able to make the big pitch when I had to and I was able to put zeroes on the board. And it’s always good when you get early run support.”
Carlos Gomez hit his 20th homer, helping the Brewers become the first team to sweep the Dodgers in a series of three or more games this season. They also won a road series for the first time since sweeping a three-game set from Colorado from June 20-22.
The Dodgers’ fourth loss in five games, coupled with San Francisco’s 5-2 win over Philadelphia, reduced their NL West lead over the Giants to 3 1/2 games.
“We played a really good team and they showed why. They have a very deep lineup and good pitching,” Haren said. “I mean, they’re in first place, so it’s not like we got swept by some last-place team.”
Haren (10-10) gave up six runs and five hits over three innings in his shortest outing of the season, following consecutive victories against the Angels and Atlanta Braves.
Two of the runs on Haren’s line were unearned, the result of an error by three-time Gold Glove first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who dropped a short throw from second baseman Dee Gordon on a grounder by Jean Segura in the second.
Haren, who came in averaging 1.86 walks per nine innings, opened the game by walking Gomez and giving up Lucroy’s 13th homer. He walked Gomez again with two out in the second, and Lucroy cleared the bases with his NL-leading 40th double to give the Brewers a 5-0 lead.
“I definitely was trying to pitch Gomez carefully, and he didn’t swing at anything out of the zone,” Haren said. “The scouting report said he’s a free swinger and he doesn’t walk too much. With a guy with the amount of power he has, you’ve got to be a little careful. And when he gets on first base, he’s a threat to run. So you’ve always got to be conscious of that and be a little quicker to the plate to the next guy.”
Brewers: 2B Scooter Gennett’s troublesome right quad has curtailed his ability to run the bases at maximum efficiency – as was the case in the third, when he was held at third on a double to right-center by Khris Davis for the second time in the series.
Dodgers: At this point, only hip surgery will end RHP Josh Beckett’s season prematurely. “I have not heard anything about him getting shut down for the whole year,” manager Don Mattingly said. “We’re going to do everything to have him have the opportunity to pitch again this year. But I don’t think we look at Josh as somebody who would come out of the bullpen for us.”
Brewers: Mike Fiers (2-1, 1.29 ERA) pitches Tuesday night’s series opener against Toronto. Last Tuesday, he struck out 14 in a 6-2 win over the Cubs, ending a Brewers streak of 286 consecutive games without a double-digit strikeout performance.
Dodgers: Kevin Correia opens the three-game series against San Diego, his second start since he was acquired Aug. 9 from Minnesota and replaced Beckett in the rotation.