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Missed chances frustrate Brewers in loss

Missed chances frustrate Brewers in loss

MILWAUKEE -- Frustration came early and often for the Brewers on Saturday night.

One night after putting together a complete all-around performance, the Brewers missed a number of scoring opportunities in Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Rangers at Miller Park.

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With it turning into a one-run ballgame in the ninth inning, any one of those chances could have changed the game for the Brewers. Instead, Milwaukee came up just short of yet another thrilling walk-off victory.

"Pretty frustrating loss. We had the leadoff man five times on base and only one of those guys scored. That doesn't happen very often," manager Ken Macha said. "Then we had those guys in scoring position in seven innings, and we scored three runs."

For the Brewers, the frustration started in the first and continued throughout the game.

After lefty Manny Parra allowed the Rangers to take an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first, the Brewers answered in the bottom of the frame by putting the first two batters on base without a hit. But instead of cashing in on Rickie Weeks' hit-by-pitch and Corey Hart's walk, the Crew came away empty-handed after a fielder's choice and a double play.

In the second inning, the Brewers had another big opportunity, as they loaded the bases with two outs after getting a single and two walks in three consecutive at-bats.

Unfortunately for the Brewers, another groundout ended the inning.

"The first two innings were a battle getting through that," Rangers starter Scott Feldman said. "We made some big plays. From there, I started to settle down and didn't have to throw quite as many pitches. It's nice to work out of those situations. That's been kind of a struggle for me."

Feldman took advantage of the Brewers' struggles, tossing six scoreless innings while giving up just four hits. Feldman (4-6) walked three and recorded six strikeouts in his best outing of the season, as he lowered his road ERA from 7.18 to 6.03.

Although he entered the game having held opponents under four runs just three times this season -- all of which came at home in April -- Feldman delivered an impressive performance.

"He threw really well," right fielder Corey Hart said. "If you look at his past starts, his curveball wasn't nearly as effective as it was tonight."

While Feldman was strong over six innings, Parra (1-4) was even better over his last five innings of work.

In the second through sixth innings, Parra gave up one run on two hits, while allowing just four Rangers to reach base.

Parra finished the night allowing three runs on five hits over six innings -- good for his first quality start of 2010 -- while striking out eight and walking three.

"I had a tough first inning, but I was able to bounce back," Parra said. "I was efficient with my pitches, and I thought I gave us a chance to win.

"I thought that was key for me to do. If you hold them there, it keeps the team in the game. That's the benefit of being a starting pitcher, you can give up a couple runs early and still turn it into a positive."

After missing a number of opportunities in the game, including failing to score after two of three leadoff doubles and going 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position while leaving nine runners on base, the Brewers rallied in the eighth and ninth.

Weeks hit his second double in the game -- the first of which notched his 500th career hit -- to lead off the eighth. Three batters later, Ryan Braun doubled as well, cutting the lead to 4-1.

In the ninth, the Brewers tagged Rangers closer Neftali Feliz for two more runs, as he gave up a single and two walks to the bottom of the Brewers order, much like Feldman did in the second inning.

This time, however, the Brewers had just one out and managed to capitalize as Weeks got his third hit of the game, an RBI single to right. After a pitching change that brought in Chris Ray to face Hart, the Brewers' right fielder followed with a groundout that made it a one-run game with two down.

But like he did three times already on the night, next-batter Prince Fielder did not deliver a hit with a runner in scoring position, flying out to left field to end the game.

"We did a lot of things that you could look at and say it cost us the game," Hart said afterward. "But we were there in the ninth and just couldn't get that hit."

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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