Interleague slate scuttling Crew
After dropping two of three games in a road trip to Boston, the Milwaukee Brewers did the same thing at home against Tampa Bay.
A trip to New York to take on the Yankees looms next week.
"Interleague is not fair," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "That's all there is to it."
Roenicke didn't offer up any big-picture scheduling solutions after Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the Rays. He was more worried about getting his suddenly struggling team back on track.
"We all like it," Roenicke said of interleague play. "But the question is, how in the world do you make this thing fair for everybody? And that's really difficult. I know somebody has to take a tougher schedule and we're the team right now that has to take a tougher schedule.
"But I don't know how you do it any other way."
Kelly Shoppach hit a two-run home run in the second, Elliot Johnson added a three-run shot in the seventh and the Rays beat the Brewers to take the series.
Rays starter David Price (8-6) struck out 10 in eight innings, giving up two runs, five hits and a walk. Price threw 120 pitches and still was hitting 96 mph on Miller Park's radar gun in the eighth.
B.J. Upton's RBI single gave Tampa Bay the lead in the sixth inning.
Milwaukee, one of the hottest teams in baseball earlier this month, has lost seven of its past 10 games.
Brewers starter Shaun Marcum went only three innings after leaving his most recent start with a hip flexor injury. Reliever Marco Estrada (1-5) lost.
Marcum didn't miss a start after pitching only one inning against Boston on Friday because of the injury, but Roenicke said going into Wednesday's game that he intended to keep Marcum on a short leash and didn't expect him to go deep into the game.
"It was time to come out," Roenicke said. "We said three innings at first when we talked to him. We were going to look at three and then if his pitch count was down low, we didn't think he was fatigued at all, we'd let him go back out another inning. He threw enough pitches and we decided we didn't want to take the chance."
Marcum said he felt fine on the mound but might have tweaked his injury at the plate.
"The ball was coming out a lot better that I thought it would," Marcum said. "It was just that one swing I think kind of aggravated it and irritated it a little bit. But that's part of it, I guess."
Kyle Farnsworth gave up a run in the ninth for Tampa Bay.
He loaded the bases with one out and pinch-hitter Nyjer Morgan's sacrifice fly scored Prince Fielder, cutting the lead to three runs. Farnsworth then got pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay to ground out and end the game.
Tampa Bay might have taken two of three games, but the Brewers earned the respect of Rays manager Joe Maddon.
"There's a lot of fight in that team," Maddon said. "There's a lot of fight in that team in this building. I really have a lot of respect for them and how they're playing. The final out here is not easy to get."
Ryan Braun had an RBI single and Corey Hart scored as Prince Fielder grounded into a double play to give Milwaukee a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Braun now has a 14-game hitting streak, the best of his career. Braun came into the game as the only player in the majors with three separate hitting streaks of 10 games or more this season.