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LAD@MIL: Ishikawa doubles home Kottaras in the second

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' walk-off winning streak had to end sometime.

After two dramatic nights at Miller Park, the Brewers went quietly in the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon and fell to the Dodgers, 4-3. Los Angeles closer Javy Guerra made sure there were no last at-bat heroics from the home team.

The Brewers' best chance actually came in the eighth, a near carbon copy of their 10th-inning rally the night before. This time it was speedster Carlos Gomez pinch-running at first base, stealing second and taking third when the catcher's throw ticked into the outfield.

But this time that runner never scored. Instead, shortstop Alex Gonzalez hit a screaming grounder down the third-base line. Jerry Hairston, part of the Brewers' postseason team last October, made a beautiful diving stop and threw from one knee to first base, ending the Brewers' threat and preserving Matt Kemp's solo home run in the fifth inning as the game's decisive hit.

"That saved the game for them right there," second baseman Rickie Weeks said.

The Brewers were aiming for their first sweep of the Dodgers. They'll try again next month in Los Angeles.

"The bottom line is, we got a great win," said Hairston. "I know how tough it is to win here. The Brewers have a good team and play good at home. We battled every single game and were in position to win every one. Unfortunately, we didn't win them all, but we salvaged today, which is good.

"I try to take the emotion out of it, but being [in Milwaukee for this series] was special. It was an unbelievable run. We were two games short of the World Series. I made a lot of friends over there. But I have new friends [with the Dodgers], and we have a chance to do something special here."

The Brewers entered the offseason with a strong desire to bring back Hairston, but he received a two-year offer from the Dodgers in November, when Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was focused on Prince Fielder's likely departure, and finding a cleanup hitter and an everyday shortstop. He was not ready to hand a two-year deal to a utility man.

"When [Hairston] went to the Dodgers, we knew we were going to miss out on a good player," left-hander Randy Wolf said.

The Brewers got their offense on Thursday from the bottom of the batting order. Travis Ishikawa had two hits and two RBIs in his first start, and Wolf helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly.

But the rest of the hitters were stymied by Dodgers starter Aaron Harang (six innings, eight hits, three runs), reliever Jamey Wright (a former Brewer who struck out the first five batters he faced) and Guerra (sixth save).

Kemp continued his early-season MVP push with two more hits, including an opposite-field home run off a quality Wolf pitch that gave the Dodgers a two-run lead and Kemp a Major League-best seven homers. He and Andre Ethier each drove in a run, and the two lead the Majors in RBIs, with 18 apiece.

Kemp had a much better week than the man who beat him in last year's National League MVP race. Ryan Braun, playing through the illness that has swept through the clubhouse, won Wednesday's game with a sacrifice fly but went 0-for-11 in the series against his childhood team.

"Braun's going to hit," Kemp said. "That's what he can do; he can hit. I'm sure he's not worried about this series. He'll get his hits, just not against us."

The Brewers are batting .232 as a team through their first 13 games.

"I think we've hit pretty good individually in spots, here and there, but not as a team," Weeks said. "We've got some new guys here, so everybody is trying to feel for one another. At the same time, we want to get that done as soon as possible."

Wolf (0-2) surrendered four runs on seven hits in six innings, a better outing than his 4 1/3-inning, eight-run struggle in Atlanta six days earlier. He was bested by a fellow veteran, right-hander Harang (1-1).

Just as they did on Wednesday night, the teams traded barbs in the early innings. The Dodgers scored in the second with help from Wolf, who surrendered an Ethier double, hit a batter and walked another before Matt Treanor's sacrifice fly.

The Brewers quickly answered. George Kottaras and Gonzalez singled to start the bottom of the second, Ishikawa cashed in with an RBI double -- his first Brewers hit -- and Wolf followed with his sacrifice fly to make it 2-1.

The Dodgers answered right back in the third with four consecutive one-out singles, including RBI hits by Juan Rivera and Ethier that squirted through the right side of the infield for a one-run L.A. lead.

"It's pretty frustrating," Wolf said of those well-placed hits, "but that's sometimes how your day will go."

Kemp made it 4-2 in the fifth when he hit a full-count fastball from Wolf, a pitch down and away, for an opposite-field home run into the visitors' bullpen.

"I played with Matt, and he's an amazing hitter," Wolf said. "It was a good down-and-away fastball that he kind of took the other way. Here in the clubhouse, they showed the side view, and he just kind of flipped it. ... That means you're pretty strong, right there." Comments