Brewers’ bullpen showing cracks against Dodgers

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Cracks are showing in the Milwaukee Brewers’ vaunted bullpen.

The Los Angeles Dodgers tied the NL Championship Series at a game apiece after teeing off on Milwaukee’s hard-throwing relievers for the second straight day.

Milwaukee had No. 5 bullpen ERA during the regular season at 3.47, including a best-in-the-majors 1.98 in September.

But the Brewers nearly wasted a five-run lead in Game 1 before holding on for a 6-5 win. Less than 24 hours later, Wade Miley pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings Saturday, but the Dodgers rallied from a three-run, seventh-inning deficit to win 4-3.

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Other than Josh Hader, the Brewers’ bullpen has allowed eight runs in 7 1/3 innings against Los Angeles, a 9.82 ERA

Two runs in the seventh off Corbin Burnes in Game 2 were followed by Justin Turner’s go-ahead, two-run homer off Jeremy Jeffress in the eighth.

Jeffress sat by himself quietly in the dugout after leaving the game, blowing bubble gum

A travel day will allow the bullpen to reset heading into Game 3 Monday at Dodger Stadium.

Josh Hader, who broke a 44-year-old record for regular-season strikeouts by a left-handed reliever, was unavailable Saturday after throwing 46 pitches over three shutout innings in the opener.

Manager Craig Counsell’s pitching-by-committee strategy started to falter when four relievers gave up four runs and five hits in the last two innings on Game 1. Los Angeles stranded the potential tying run on third when Corey Knebel struck out Turner.

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Jeffress blew a lead for the second time in the postseason. He wasted a 2-0, ninth-inning advantage in the Division Series opener against Colorado, a game the Brewers rebounded to win in 10 innings.

“For me, J.J. made one bad pitch today,” Counsell said, “and it cost him.”


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