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Thursday November 23rd, 2017 2:07AM

Brewers hand Dodgers 1st series loss since early June

By The Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — After steamrolling through just about every opponent over the past three months, the Dodgers finally hit a bump in the road.

Jimmy Nelson and the Milwaukee Brewers managed something Sunday that no other team had pulled off against Los Angeles since early June — they won a series.

Nelson took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning and the Brewers beat Yu Darvish in his return from the disabled list, defeating the Dodgers 3-2 to take two of three games from Los Angeles.

In building baseball's best record (91-38), the Dodgers had gone 19-0-3 in series since dropping two of three games at home to Washington from June 5-7.

"That team played a good series," manager Dave Roberts said of the Brewers. "They really did. They pitched well. They got the hits when they needed to.

"You look at our club offensively, that's where we're a little cold right now. It happens to every ballclub at some point in the season."

Hernan Perez homered and Domingo Santana had two hits and an RBI for the Brewers, who pulled within two games of the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

"It's the start of something," manager Craig Counsell said. "We played pretty good baseball today. You've got to play really good to beat these guys.

"Beating this team is important and it's meaningful."

Nelson (10-6) was charged with two runs on four hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out six.

Corey Knebel set down the Dodgers in the ninth for his 29th save in 34 attempts. With two on, he struck out pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer on a full-count pitch to end it.

Darvish (8-10) came back from lower back tightness to make his fourth start since the Dodgers acquired him from Texas at the July 31 trade deadline. The right-hander lasted only five innings, again laboring and throwing 95 pitches. He allowed three runs on six hits and three walks, striking out seven.

Roberts said Darvish was working on mechanical adjustments during his rehab stint and struggled with his fastball command.

"He was really trying to find a rhythm and some consistency," Roberts said. "The pitch count got up, but he still pitched well."

OFFENSE STRUGGLING

The Dodgers have lost consecutive games for the first time since July 20-21, and three of five for the first time since dropping that last series against Washington.

The offense that has powered their success is suddenly struggling.

"You look at the guys in the lineup who aren't swinging the bats the way they are capable or have been this year, it's all kind of happening at once," Roberts said. "We'll get through it."

HOMEWARD BOUND

The victory enabled the Brewers to finish their road trip 5-4 and return home with some momentum.

"We feel like we're in every single game," Nelson said. "This is a really tough road trip and we've proved to ourselves we're right there with the best teams."

GONZALEZ AILING

Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, fresh off a long stint on the disabled list because of a herniated disk, left in the seventh with back stiffness.

"Right there I just want to be cautious," Roberts said. "I don't think it's anything."

Roberts, however, said when Cody Bellinger (ankle) returns from the disabled list Wednesday, he will go back to first base. Bellinger was expected to play some left field, but the Dodgers acquired veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson from the Mets last week.

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS

Brewers minor league infielder Julio Mendez suffered a cardiac event Saturday night after being hit by a pitch during a rookie league game in Tempe, Arizona. The 20-year-old Mendez was treated on the field and taken to a hospital where he was in critical but stable condition, the club said. "We're thinking about him, and our thoughts are with him and his family," Counsell said. "It's obviously very scary."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Brewers: Hurricane Harvey is impacting the team's plans for rehab assignments. "Our Triple-A team is in New Orleans today and then they're supposed to go to Round Rock (Texas). We have some players that are close to rehab. We're not sending them there," Counsell said.

Dodgers: Roberts said ace Clayton Kershaw (back strain) came out of his Saturday rehab start at Triple-A well and will next start for the Dodgers on Friday. ... To open a roster spot for Darvish, the Dodgers placed reliever Josh Fields on the 10-day DL with a sore lower back.

UP NEXT

Brewers: After an off day, Milwaukee sends RHP Matt Garza (6-7, 4.67 ERA) to the mound Tuesday at home against St. Louis. Garza is 7-5 with a 4.01 ERA in 16 career starts vs. the Cardinals.

Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (9-5, 3.32), who lost a no-hitter in the 10th inning of his last start, is scheduled to pitch Tuesday at Arizona. Hill is 6-2 with a 2.38 ERA in his last 11 starts.

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