Looper leads Brewers over Dodgers 4-1
The Brewers beat Los Angeles 4-1 behind Braden Looper’s outstanding effort and Fielder had a tying RBI groundout in the victory that helped them take the series. Milwaukee had gone 0-6-2 since winning two of three from the New York Mets.
“It feels like six months,” manager Ken Macha said with a laugh. “I think the biggest thing is that we came to the West Coast and got a split. To win two out of three in L.A. against the team with the best record in the league should be a confidence booster for us.”
Fielder was booed lustily by the crowd of 50,276 each time he came to bat, one night after his profanity-laced tirade was caught on camera by a news crew. He went 0 for 5, driving in the tying run with a fielder’s choice grounder in the third, and stole a base.
“I’m on the road so you expect it,” Fielder said. “I was just trying to win the game. Their team is the Dodgers so I wouldn’t expect them to cheer for me anyway.”
Guillermo Mota had hit Fielder in the ninth inning of the Dodgers’ 17-4 victory, presumably as payback for Manny Ramirez getting grazed by a pitch by Chris Smith two innings earlier. After the final out, Fielder made a beeline for the Dodgers’ locker room and had to be escorted back to his clubhouse by teammates.
“Last night he was like a raging bull. But nothing happened, so there’s no reason to suspend him,” said teammate Ryan Braun, who drove in two runs with the second of his two doubles.
“We kind of discussed the situation beforehand today, but we didn’t really expect anything to happen,”’ Braun added. “Prince handled it great. He’s really able to stay within himself. He was obviously very emotional and fired up yesterday, but he settled down and stayed within himself today.”
The final meeting of the season between the teams was played with a heavier-than-usual presence of security personnel stationed between both clubhouses before and after the game. Usually there is one security guard in front of each door. This time, there were five on the Dodgers’ side and eight on the visitors’ side.
Looper (10-5) allowed a run and four hits over 6 2-3 innings and struck out four after giving up a leadoff homer in the first by Rafael Furcal. In his previous two starts, the right-hander gave up 11 runs and 17 hits over 11 innings.
“His split was working good, and he controlled their bat speed,” Macha said. “When he’s throwing the ball downhill like he did tonight, he’s extremely effective.”
Trevor Hoffman pitched a scoreless ninth for his record 579th career save and 25th in 27 chances this season. The loss was the seventh in 11 games for the Dodgers, who still own the best record in the majors at 66-42 and hold a six-game lead over San Francisco in the NL West.
Jason Schmidt (2-2) was charged with four runs, five hits and three walks over 3 2-3 innings in the fifth start of his comeback, after pitching six innings of one-hit ball in a 5-0 win at Atlanta last Friday.
“Schmidt wasn’t as sharp as he was last time,” manager Joe Torre said. “He didn’t have the same curveball. He didn’t look like he was locating the way he did in Atlanta. He’s scheduled for Monday, and we’ll go from there.”
The 36-year-old right-hander departed with a 2-1 deficit after hitting former Dodger Craig Counsell in the right ankle with the bases loaded and two outs, forcing in Frank Catalanotto. Braun greeted James McDonald with his two-run double.
Furcal, who came in 3 for 21 against Looper, drove his second pitch into the lower seats in the right-field corner for his 25th leadoff homer and 13th with Los Angeles. Looper has allowed nine home runs in his last six starts, including four against the Dodgers in a no-decision in July 10 at Milwaukee.
NOTES: Mota got the night off, following his 38-pitch effort on Tuesday. Ramirez didn’t start, but pinch hit in the seventh and grounded out to 2B as his bat flew into the crowd. ... Milwaukee stole three bases and have 39 steals overall, the lowest total in the majors. ... Fielder and Braun are the most productive RBI tandem in the majors, driving in a combined 169 runs. Braun was 8 for 14 with six RBIs in the series.