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Dan Haren, Dodgers swept away by Brewers

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Harry How

LOS ANGELES -- Dan Haren and the Dodgers were blown out 7-2 by the Brewers on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, completing a three-game sweep for Milwaukee that exposed a series of problems for Los Angeles.

The Dodgers lost five of six games to the Brewers over the last two weekends.

"They got us [in Milwaukee] came in here and got us good again," manager Don Mattingly said. "They came in and said, 'We think we're better than you,' and for these three games they were."

Haren was terrible, allowing six runs and needing 73 pitches to last just three innings, allowing a two-run home run to Jonathan Lucroy in the first inning, then a three-run double to Lucroy in the second.

"I felt good in the bullpen. After the first two hitters I struck some guys out and felt good about it," Haren said. "I was trying to limit the damage there in the second inning but just couldn't do it."

Haren has allowed 24 home runs, second-most in baseball, four behind Marco Estrada, who has already been banished to the bullpen by Milwaukee.

The shortest start of the season for Haren wiped away any thoughts the right-hander may have turned things around with two consecutive solid starts. His ERA since the All-Star break is 5.64, and his ERA in his last 18 starts is 5.35.

Haren had a 10.03 ERA over a five-start losing streak before allowing three total runs over his last two starts, both wins. After Sunday's outing, Haren said he didn't see another personal losing streak coming.

"I'm confident it's not going to turn into something like before when I had some bad outings in a row. I just have to get back to doing things that made me successful the last few games," Haren said. "Like walking the leadoff batter, leaving a few cutters over the plate. I really limited mistakes the last few games, but today I just left a few balls out over the plate."

But this is less about a three-month slump for Haren and more about what is just a bad season. Haren is now 10-10 with a 4.59 ERA, a 77 ERA+ that ranks 91st among 94 qualified starters in MLB. But he has also allowed 15 unearned runs, most in baseball, including three on Sunday in the second inning.

Haren's 88 runs allowed are tied for the fifth-most in MLB.

His 4.50 FIP is tied for 85th.

If there was any upside to his start on Sunday, it's that Haren only lasted three innings, making it that much more difficult to reach the 180 innings this season required to turn his $10 million club option for 2015 into a player option.

As it stands, Haren is at 143 innings, needing 37 more innings to hit 180, with potentially six or seven starts remaining. Haren in his last seven starts has totaled 34⅓ innings.

The miserable outing by Haren drew attention away from the slumping Dodgers offense, held to just seven runs in the weekend series and 16 runs in six games in the last two weekends against the Brewers.

37 -Innings needed by Dan Haren to reach 180 on the season, converting his $10 million club option for 2015 into a player option

The Dodgers have scored two or fewer runs in 15 of their last 34 games, averaging 3.44 runs per game during that time, third-worst in the National League ahead of only the Mets (3.34) and Marlins (3.29).

"This club, we seem to go up and down," Mattingly said. "I think we have a good offensive club, and I think the numbers league-wide bear that out. We're just not as consistent as I would like."

Wily Peralta allowed five hits and three walks in six innings for his 15th win of the season.

Coupled with San Francisco's win, the Dodgers are now 3½ games ahead of the Giants in the National League West.

Notes

The Dodgers were swept in a three-game series for the first time since Sept. 6-8, 2013 in Cincinnati.

The three-game losing streak matches the longest of the season for the Dodgers, done two previous times.

Carlos Frias relieved Haren in the fourth inning and allowed a home run to Carlos Gomez on his second pitch, but then recovered to retire his next 12 batters faced, including six ground ball outs and two strikeouts.

Frias also batted in the fifth inning, grounding out to first base in his first major league plate appearance.

Andre Ethier entered the game in the seventh inning at first base, his second career game at the position and first since Aug. 5, 2010.

The home run for Gomez in the fourth was his 20th of the season. Coupled with his 27 stolen bases, Gomez is the first player in the majors to reach 20-20 status this season.

Up next

After going 11-9 in their last 20 days, the Dodgers get a day off Monday for the first time in three weeks.

"When you lose three straight, a day off sounds pretty good," Mattingly said.

On Tuesday they open a three-game series against the Padres, with Kevin Correia starting the opener against Ian Kennedy for San Diego.

Sunday particulars

Home runs: Jonathan Lucroy (13), Carlos Gomez (20)

WP - Wily Peralta (15-7): 6 IP, 5 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

LP - Dan Haren (10-10): 3 IP, 5 hits, 6 runs (3 earned), 3 walks, 3 strikeouts