A disaster second inning hung the loss on Brock Stewart, but it didn't define his major league debut. Stewart rebounded nicely after a five-run second frame, but that was more than enough for the Brewers to beat the Dodgers 7-0 on Wednesday night at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
Stewart looked great at the outset, striking out his first two hitters faced in the first inning, then getting Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy to each ground out. But before comparisons could be made to Ross Stripling 's near no-hitter in April, Stewart faced some tough luck, with a shattered-bat, ultra-soft ground ball to the shift-vacated spot at second base for one hit, then a bloop single to right field and an error by Puig to put runners at the corners with one out.
Then it started to unravel, first with an opposite-field home run by Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the first hard-hit ball off Stewart, for a 3-0 lead.
He got a fly ball for the second out and could have escaped further damage with pitcher Junior Guerra at the plate, but instead Guerra singled to extend the inning. Then another single and a walk loaded the bases, and Ryan Braun made Stewart pay with a two-run double to right field.
At this point, the Dodgers weren't going to win the game in all likelihood, but they still are in desperate need of innings from their starters. So Stewart kept pitching and, after that bad second inning, pitched quite well. He retired eight of his last 10 batters faced, and those other two who reached were erased on a stolen base attempt and a double play.
Stewart managed to get through five innings, striking out seven, but got the loss with those five runs allowed. But he showed glimpses of why he was called up in the first place, the fastball with life, at times the changeup, the poise after falling behind.
As for the offense, the Dodgers were completely stymied by Junior Guerra, who allowed all of two hits and two walks in his eight innings, striking out seven of his own. Corey Seager had one of the two hits, a first-inning double, his 20th on the season.
Yasiel Puig had the other hit, a single, but his night was more notable because he became the latest Dodger to get injured. Puig crashed into the right field wall on Braun's two-run home run in the seventh inning, and looked shaken up. Puig grounded out in the eighth inning, but was limping badly when running to first, so he was removed for the final inning on defense.
Now, we wait, not only on injury news on Clayton Kershaw and Joc Pederson, both of whom could be headed to stints on the disabled list, but also now Puig, and the identity of Friday's starting pitcher, whether from inside or outside of the organization.
But most importantly, we await the All-Star break, which can't come soon enough, it seems.
The Dodgers go for the series win on Thursday morning, with an 11:10 a.m. PT start in the series finale. Kenta Maeda gets the call, facing Zach Davies for Milwaukee
Home runs: Kirk Nieuwenhuis (5), Ryan Braun (13)
WP - Junior Guerra (5-1): 8 IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP - Brock Stewart (0-1): 5 IP, 8 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts