The seventh inning began as one of triumph for the Dodgers, but quickly broke bad as the Brewers out-rallied the Dodgers for a 9-3 win in the opener of a three-game weekend series at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
The central figure in the seventh inning tug-of-war was Justin Turner.
In the top of the inning, Turner led off the frame with a pinch-hit single, putting the tying run on base in a 2-1 game. Dee Gordon hit into a fielder's choice, then advanced to second on a wild pitch, then after a walk to Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez singled to right field to tie the game at 2-2.
It was the second RBI in the game for Gonzalez, who launched his 16th home run of the season one inning earlier and also doubled.
Up next would normally be Hanley Ramirez, but he left after just half an inning with tightness in his right side. Miguel Rojas, by far the best defensive shortstop on the roster but hitting just .207/.262/.261, was lifted in favor of pinch-hitter Andre Ethier, who delivered with an infield single to shortstop to give the Dodgers their first lead of the game at 3-2.
After the game, manager Don Mattingly said Ramirez would have an MRI exam on Saturday.
That substitution left Turner at shortstop, which looked just fine after a diving grab of a line drive by Aramis Ramirez gave Jamey Wright one out in the inning. But after J.P. Howell walked Rickie Weeks, Brandon League was brought in. Mark Reynolds followed with what looked like a perfect double play ball to shortstop to end the inning, but a bad hop allowed the ball to scoot past Turner.
From there the inning was a nightmare.
Martin Maldonado tied the game with a squeeze bunt, and reached safely because League tried to get the out at home with a poorly executed jai alai-style flip with his glove. After a fly out to center field for the second out of the inning, Khris Davis grounded to Turner, who booted the ball, loading the bases.
Carlos Gomez followed with another grounder to shortstop, and Turner threw low to Gonzalez, who couldn't dig it out, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Gerardo Parra followed with the cleanest hit of the inning, a line drive to center field plating two more runs, putting the Brewers up 6-3.
It overshadowed what was a very effective Dodgers debut by Roberto Hernandez. The right-hander allowed three hits in the first inning, leading to two runs, but recovered to retire the final 17 batters he faced, including five by strikeout.
The only reason Hernandez, who threw just 65 pitches in his six innings, was lifted is because the Dodgers trailed and his spot in the batting order led off the seventh.
Hernandez even got a single at the plate, his third career hit (in 56 at-bats).
Carlos Frias pitched in his second big league game on Friday, asked to get face the Brewers in the eighth inning, but a walk and a hit were compounded when Weeks took him deep for a three-run home run to left center field, putting the game out of reach.
Zack Greinke gets the call for the Dodgers on Saturday, when the two teams start an hour earlier than on Friday. Mike Fiers, who made his first major league start against the Dodgers in Los Angeles in 2012, makes his first start of the year for the Brewers in the middle game of the series.
Home runs: Adrian Gonzalez (16); Rickie Weeks (4)
WP - Jeremy Jeffress (1-1): ⅔ IP, 1 hit
LP - Brandon League (2-3): ⅔ IP, 2 hits, 3 unearned runs