PHILADELPHIA — With Ryan Braun back and helping in a big way, the Brewers finally snapped their losing streak — barely.
Domingo Santana singled home the go-ahead run in the ninth inning after the Brewers blew a big lead, and Milwaukee beat Philadelphia 9-8 on Saturday night to snap a season-worst, six-game losing streak.
Braun homered, doubled, singled and drove in four runs, and Travis Shaw also homered for the Brewers, who maintained a one-game lead over the Cubs in the NL Central.
Milwaukee led 8-1 after batting in the seventh and manager Craig Counsell removed Braun, who had missed the past three games with a wrist injury. The Phillies rallied to tie it with four runs in the seventh and three in the eighth.
“We all got quite the scare watching them come back,” Braun said. “Things have not been going our way, but sometimes all you need is that one win to turn everything around as a team.”
Santana came through with a one-out single to left off Hector Neris (2-4) to score Hernan Perez and put Milwaukee back in front.
“We all needed it pretty bad,” Santana said.
Counsell said afterward that, in hindsight, he would’ve liked Braun batting in the ninth. But he stuck by his decision to remove Braun to give him rest before a day game and improve Milwaukee’s late-inning defense in the outfield.
“He had the kind of night that clearly you want him up there,” Counsell said.
Showing no signs of discomfort, Braun scorched a single up the middle in his first at-bat. He put Milwaukee up 2-0 with a two-run double down the right-field line in the third, and his two-run homer in the fifth made it 6-0.
Jacob Barnes (3-1) gave up three runs on four hits in the eighth but ended up getting the win. Nick Williams and Odubel Herrera led off with singles and Cameron Rupp tied the game with a three-run homer to right.
Corey Knebel pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save.
Herrera had four hits with a homer and a pair of doubles for Philadelphia, which had won three straight.
Brewers starter Brent Suter threw just 85 pitches in six innings, giving up one run, but Counsell replaced him with Oliver Drake, who gave up four runs on four hits, including Cesar Hernandez’s three-run homer.
“It was nailbiting,” Suter said. “Looks like the world is crumbling around us but we find a way to put a run in. That’s the resilience we’ve seen from the team all year.”
The game was delayed 26 minutes at the start due to rain.
BRAUN LOVES PHILLY
For his career, Braun is batting .379 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs in 65 games against the Phillies, including a .398 average in 30 games at Citizens Bank Park.
Philadelphia’s fans booed Braun during every at-bat, something Braun embraces.
“This place and Wrigley are two of the more challenging places to play,” he said. “Fans are always loud, they’re into it and as a competitor it’s an atmosphere and an environment that you look forward to.”
Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson may have damaged his trade value, allowing six runs on seven hits in five innings. The Phillies are likely to be sellers at the July 31 trade deadline, and the veteran right-hander is one of their best assets.
But the Brewers hit him hard, especially in the third, when they tallied four runs on four hits. All of the runs came with two outs.
After giving up three runs with no outs to start the inning, the Brewers turned an important double play for the first two outs of the eighth when Hernandez popped up a bunt to third and Cameron Perkins, who was running on the pitch, got doubled off at first.
A noticeably upset Pete Mackanin appeared to be displeased with Perkins in the dugout. Afterward, the Phillies manager said Perkins misread a sign and thought it was a hit-and-run.
Brewers: Eric Sogard (sprained ankle) returned to the lineup for the first time since July 4 and went 0 for 5. To make room for Sogard, the Brewers optioned struggling OF Keon Broxton to Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Phillies: OF Daniel Nava was not in the lineup after injuring his left hamstring in the seventh inning on Friday night. OF Aaron Altherr could return as early as Tuesday from a right hamstring injury that was expected to sideline him for at least two more weeks.
Phillies RHP Jerad Eickhoff (1-7, 4.83) takes the mound for Philadelphia against RHP Junior Guerra (1-3, 4.77) in Sunday’s series finale.
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