Marcum struggles, Brewers lose on road again
A.J. Burnett pitched neatly into the eighth inning, Russell Martin hit a three-run homer and the New York Yankees kept rolling right along with a 5-2 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
The Brewers lost for the seventh time in nine road games and dropped to 15-26 away from home, the worst record among winning teams in the majors. By comparison, the NL Central leaders are 29-11 at home.
Handed a challenging interleague schedule, the Brewers have lost four of five at Boston and New York.
"I'm hoping this team is what we all feel it is, and that's a team that can play with anybody," manager Ron Roenicke said. "When we're playing our good game, I feel good about us."
Ryan Braun had three singles and an RBI for the Brewers, extending his career-best hitting streak to 19 games. Milwaukee began the day leading the NL with 91 homers and a .422 slugging percentage, but has managed only four runs in two games at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.
"We did have chances. We had guys on base," Roenicke said. "First four innings, three of them they turned double plays. And then we get the bases loaded again, and like I said, we don't get the hit."
Shaun Marcum (7-3) allowed four runs and five hits in five innings, his first loss since May 27. He was limited to four innings over his previous two starts by a strained left hip flexor.
Robinson Cano tripled to start a four-run fourth and Jorge Posada rounded the bases twice on his solo shot in the sixth, which was changed to a home run after umpires watched the video replay.
"They probably didn't see me run them the first time, so I did it again," he said.
Nick Swisher had an RBI single for the Yankees, who have won four straight and 14 of 18 overall. By taking the first two games against Milwaukee in an interleague matchup of division leaders, New York clinched its sixth consecutive series victory since getting swept at home by Boston from June 7-9.
The Yankees improved to 11-3 since shortstop Derek Jeter went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf — he was eligible to come off Wednesday, but wasn't ready yet.
Jeter's replacement, Eduardo Nunez, made a throwing error to start the eighth that allowed leadoff batter Rickie Weeks to reach safely.
That was it for Burnett (8-6), who left to a standing ovation after losing three of his previous four starts. Helped by three double plays, he gave up two runs and seven hits while walking two and striking out four.
With runners at the corners, David Robertson threw a called third strike past Corey Hart to end the inning, painting the outside corner with a 95 mph fastball.
Mariano Rivera got three outs for his 21st save in 24 chances.
New York goes for a sweep Thursday afternoon, with CC Sabathia pitching against the Brewers for the first time since carrying them to the 2008 playoffs.
Marcum kept the Yankees off the scoreboard until giving up four consecutive rockets to begin the fourth.
Nyjer Morgan crashed hard into the fence in center field while chasing Cano's triple, but seemed to be fine and stayed in the game.
"I got a real good break on it. I just ran out of real estate," he said.
Asked how he felt after the game, Morgan thumped his chest.
"Ask the wall how it felt hitting this brick wall," he said, laughing.
Swisher lined a single and Posada ripped a long single off the base of the right-field wall.
Martin lifted a low 0-2 pitch into the seats in left for his first extra-base hit in 68 at-bats since his last homer on May 24. That was the longest drought of his career, the Yankees said, according to information provided by the Elias Sports Bureau.
"It was not located," Marcum said. "It was supposed to be down and away and it came back middle, so it definitely wasn't a take pitch and he did a good job of hitting it."
Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson made a terrific, over-the-shoulder catch to start a double play in the second, with Hart doubled off first base.
Milwaukee loaded the bases in the sixth, but Burnett retired Prince Fielder on an RBI groundout and then induced a grounder from Hart to end the inning.
NOTES: Marcum, acquired from Toronto in December, gave up Alex Rodriguez's 600th home run on Aug. 4, 2010. He is 0-5 in his last nine starts against the Yankees. ... After the game, the Yankees reacquired RHP Sergio Mitre from Milwaukee for cash. ... Slumping 3B Casey McGehee was dropped from fifth to seventh in the Milwaukee lineup, with Hart batting fifth. ... Roenicke spoke with RHP Zack Greinke to make sure he understood why he was lifted after two ineffective innings Tuesday night. Roenicke felt he was quoted out of context after the game and wanted to make sure none of his comments were misconstrued. ... Roenicke said RHP Marco Estrada was fine after leaving Tuesday night's game when he was hit in the left foot by Rodriguez's sharp grounder. But after throwing 62 pitches in that game, Estrada won't be available out of the bullpen until this weekend.
Last updated: 5:20 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012