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ARI@MIL: Prince's infield hit gets Brew Crew a run

MILWAUKEE -- If manager Ron Roenicke was looking for a way to explain his club's struggles during the past eight games, he didn't have to narrow it down to one, two, or even three areas.

Tuesday's performance magnified just about every issue the Brewers have gone through in the past week.

Randy Wolf was charged with a season-high seven earned runs during Milwaukee's 7-3 loss to the Diamondbacks Tuesday at Miller Park. The loss was the Brewers' seventh in eight days and marked the first time this season Milwaukee has lost consecutive home games.

"It's been a battle," Roenicke said. "There's a lot of guys that are frustrated. There's a lot of staff members that are frustrated with what's going on. We need to stop it. We need to turn this thing back around again. Coming home, we've played so good at home I thought we'd do it. These first couple of games got away from us, and we need to get that back."

From the pitching -- where the Brewers' starters are 0-5 with an 8.24 ERA during the past eight games -- to the hitting, fielding and coaching, Roenicke said he expected more. The club, whose 29-13 mark is the best home record in the Majors, dropped its third-straight series and its fourth series at Miller Park this season.

The manager felt compelled to call a postgame team meeting for only the second time this year. Usually, he saves such discussions for the team's pre-series meetings.

"I'm not picking out individuals, because that's not the problem," Roenicke said. "The problem is the whole group. The problem is me and the coaches. We're all together in this thing, and we all need to figure it out."

He's hoping for either some consistency, or another hot streak. The Brewers went on one in early May, when they were baseball's hottest team through a three-game sweep of the Cardinals from June 10-12. Since the sweep, Milwaukee has gone 7-14, and is now two games behind St. Louis and in third place in the Central.

"All the good things we were doing in that month, we need to get that back again," Roenicke said.

Wolf would like to figure out how to get back to his mid-June form when he had his way with most of the opponents he faced. The Diamondbacks wasted no time going after the left hander, as Wolf surrendered four earned runs in the first inning.

Things didn't get much better in the third, when Justin Upton led off the inning with a homer to left-center and four batters later Gerardo Parra extended the lead with a two-run home run to right-center. The chorus of boos grew louder as Wolf and the rest of the Brewers headed into the dugout with a six-run deficit.

"It's tough," Wolf said. "Obviously if you give up seven runs, I'm not going to sit here and tell you I was throwing the ball where I wanted to, and that my stuff was cracking and everything was good because obviously it wasn't. When you give up that many runs and a couple of homers, you're leaving balls over the middle of the plate."

Milwaukee continued its offensive struggles, recording just two hits through five innings. The Brewers were out-hit 27-19 during the first two games of the series, and the team's first two RBIs came from Prince Fielder. The All-Star first baseman singled on a soft ground ball to second that scored Rickie Weeks, who had reached base on a walk. Fielder launched a solo shot in the sixth inning, which was his 22nd home run of the season. With the two RBIs, Fielder has an NL-best 71 this season.

"I need to drive in runs, other guys need to kind of contribute, but that's kind of the way it is right now," said Corey Hart, who added a solo homer in the eighth. "Prince can't always carry us and the other guys -- me included -- haven't really picked it up yet."

The Brewers played for the third consecutive game without All-Star left fielder Ryan Braun, who still isn't 100 percent after suffering a left calf strain. Braun remains day-to-day and Roenicke said Braun could return for Wednesday's series finale, after the manager contemplated using him to pinch hit during the game. Utility man Josh Wilson started in left, while Hart batted in the third spot.

Roenicke didn't want to downplay the performance pitcher Zach Duke turned in for the Diamondbacks. Duke did his part to keep the Brewers in check, as the lefty gave up just five hits through seven innings. He recorded just one strikeout through seven, but other than the deep ball to Fielder he minimized the damage.

"I know I've had some bad games here," said Duke, who made his Major League debut at Miller Park in 2005 with the Pirates. "I've had some good games here, but it hasn't worked out where I've gotten a win out of it. I finally did, so that monkey is off my back."

The Brewers stuck with Wolf through six innings as the bullpen was thin after using LaTroy Hawkins, Kameron Loe, John Axford and Marco Estrada during Monday's loss. Wolf surrendered seven earned runs on 10 hits, and tied a season high with four walks in earning his second consecutive loss. With the loss he fell to 6-6 on the season and his ERA rose to 3.72.

"Whether it's location, whether it's been making the wrong pitches at the wrong time, I don't know," Roenicke said. "The first two, three innings, he's giving up runs, and then all of a sudden he throws well. I thought he battled again today.

"It's hard to explain. Our starting pitchers for the last week or maybe a little bit more than that, we've had trouble early. Sometimes, that's where you've got to get starters. All the good pitchers, they say you have to get them early, you can't let them get locked in. Now, we're getting behind early with most of our starters."

But Roenicke spread the blame around.

"I'm not putting this one on Wolfie," he said. "I mean, my gosh, why can't we come out and score three, four runs in the first inning? Our offense should be as good as what we're playing. We've got a good offense. We need to take it to somebody else someday, just as much as they take it to us." Comments