Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay -- swapped for Bush and two other players in 2005 -- dashed the no-hit hopes with a leadoff triple in the eighth inning and then scored on Alex Rios' single to end the shutout. Toronto tacked on six more runs in the ninth to make it a one-run game and actually brought the go-ahead run to the plate against closer Salomon Torres after an infield hit by catcher Rod Barajas, who's no speed demon.
Torres struck out Matt Stairs to finish Milwaukee's three-game Interleague sweep.
"It wasn't nerve-wracking," Brewers manager Ned Yost said.
He smiled and reconsidered.
"I got a little nervous when Barajas beat out the infield hit," Yost said. "I started thinking, 'Oh man, what's going on here?'"
It was that type of afternoon at Miller Park, and not just because Bush was not exactly Milwaukee's leading candidate to throw a no-hitter. Third baseman Russell Branyan continued his incredible return to the big leagues by hitting his 10th home run in 20 games with the Brewers and his third in as many games against Toronto. And big first baseman Prince Fielder motored around the bases with his second career inside-the-park home run, one aided by Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios, who was slow to pick up the baseball after it lodged at the base of the right-field wall.
Fielder had two hits and scored three runs, Branyan drove in three runs and right fielder Corey Hart went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs as Bush and the Brewers built an 8-0 lead through seven innings.
That's when it got interesting.
"We've seen games like that before," Yost said. "You never take anything for granted. I'm never comfortable until that last out is made, and I never sit back and say, 'We have this one in the bag.' Ever."
Bush worked eight innings, allowing a run on two hits, one walk and two strikeouts, including a whiff of pinch-hitter Brad Wilkerson that ended the eighth inning and Bush's outing.
Enter Tim Dillard for the ninth, a hard-throwing rookie right-hander who posted a 1.17 ERA in his first seven Major League outings. He surrendered a hit, recorded two outs on grounders but then a two-run home run to Overbay, a single and a walk.
That prompted Yost to call for veteran David Riske, who came off the disabled list earlier in the day. Riske walked David Eckstein on five pitches and engaged in an eight-pitch battle against Joe Inglett, who had two home runs in 288 Major League at-bats and none this season.
Inglett hit a grand slam that cut the Brewers' lead to 8-7.
"I fell behind, and then I tried too hard to be aggressive instead of just pitching like I normally pitch," Riske said. "You can't dwell on, 'This has got to be a strike.' That can get you in trouble."
Dillard was just as disappointed.
"I was trying to fill the [strike] zone and let the defense play," Dillard said. "But you fall behind, especially in this ballpark, they're going to get something good to hit. When you're beating around the bush and then you come into the zone, it's not safe. I feel like I've had some control issues. The more comfortable you get, the more experience you get, it's going to become more familiar."
"When you've got an 8-1 lead, you need to come in and finish it right there," Yost said. "Dillard struggled to do that. ... That's just not getting the job done."
The Brewers managed to hold on thanks to Torres, who notched his 10th save. They finished a three-game sweep of the Jays and have won four consecutive Interleague games after losing their first five.
Bush extended the team's string of strong starts. Brewers starters have pitched at least six innings and allowed three or fewer runs in 18 of the team's past 22 games, going 13-4 in that stretch with a 2.87 ERA.
"I was really able to throw strikes to both sides of the plate," Bush said. "I probably threw a few more changeups than I did in the past. ...
"Other than that, I tried to pound the strike zone. Sometimes it's tough to hit on day games here with the shadows. I tried to use that to my advantage in situations. Pump strikes in there and put it in play."