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Brewers hold team meeting after loss to D'backs

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COLIN FLY
July 6, 2011
— Brewers manager Ron Roenicke rarely calls team meetings, opting to let his players work it out on the field. After eight ugly days, he'd witnessed enough.

The Brewers spent more than 15 minutes discussing their woes after falling into an early six-run hole behind starter Randy Wolf and losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-3 on Tuesday night.


"There's a lot of guys that are frustrated. We need to stop it. We need to turn this thing back around again," Roenicke said. "Coming home, we've played so well at home, I thought we'd do it. These first couple games got away from us. We need to play well these five games (before the All-Star break)."


Milwaukee (45-42) has lost seven of eight since taking a three-game lead in the NL Central and dropped five games in that span in the standings, falling behind St. Louis and Pittsburgh.


The Brewers also lost consecutive games at Miller Park for the first time this season after having the major leagues' best mark for most of the year.


Everything is unraveling at the wrong time, too, with their pitchers' recent struggles and a homer-happy offense suddenly unable to outscore opponents.


"We definitely want to play better than what we're playing," Wolf said. "We know we have a good team, but we're not playing well, especially right now. That's very frustrating for all of us because we do care about the end result. We want to win here, and when we don't, we take it personally. If you care, sometimes you do put a pressure on yourself and sometimes that is counterproductive."


Justin Upton and Gerardo Parra homered for the Diamondbacks, who built a 7-1 lead early and improved to 3-2 on this 10-game road trip before hosting the All-Star game Tuesday.


Milwaukee failed to figure out Zach Duke, who tossed seven effective innings to win for the first time in 12 starts in Miller Park. David Hernandez picked up his fifth save.


Ryan Braun missed his third game with a strained left calf and watched Milwaukee blow five-run leads on Sunday at Minnesota and in Monday's opener. There was no chance of that in this one after trailing 7-1 after three.


"I'm not putting this on Wolfy. My gosh, why can't we come out and score three, four runs in the first inning? Our offense should be as good as what we're playing," Roenicke said. "We've got a good offense. We need to take it to somebody else just as much as they take it to us."


Prince Fielder hit an RBI infield single off Duke (2-3) in the first before his 22nd homer landed deep into the right-field bleachers in the sixth to make it 7-2.


Corey Hart hit a solo shot in the eighth, his second homer in as many days, and Milwaukee got the tying run into the on-deck circle with two outs in the ninth. But Hernandez entered and forced Hart to ground into a fielder's choice to end it.


That led to the postgame meeting that Roenicke hopes will change Milwaukee's direction quickly. After Wednesday's series finale, the Brewers play four games with Cincinnati before the break, followed by a 10-game road trip with stops in Colorado, Arizona and San Francisco.


"These guys want to win. I'm not picking out individuals because that's not the problem. The problem is the whole group," Roenicke said. "We need to figure out what we need to be more consistent, for one, and to get back and have that one good month that we had."


Notes: Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo (9-5) faces Josh Collmenter (4-5) on Wednesday. ... Braun took batting practice before the game and is expected to return either Wednesday or Thursday. ... The Brewers streak of 41 home games without losing two straight had been the longest since the Yankees went 45 home games without losing two in a row in 1996. ... Eleven of Fielder's 22 home runs this season have been solo shots. ... Brewers RHP Marco Estrada turned 28 and pitched two scoreless innings of relief.



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