"It seems like baseball kind of took it away from us today," said McClung, who was unable
to escape the fifth after issuing three of his five walks in that inning. "That's the way the game works
sometimes. I felt like I had my best stuff of the year, spotting up pretty good, and they
don't see it the same way I do."
Matt Holliday homered leading off the seventh against reliever Carlos Villanueva, a strike that loomed large after Prince Fielder's two-run blast in the eighth
pulled the Brewers within a run. One batter earlier, Ryan Braun had grounded sharply into a
run-scoring double play, as the ball caught the pitcher's mound and bounced right to
shortstop Clint Barmes.
"That's fluky," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "It's going to go right through, and
there's nothing you can do about it. Brauny smoked it. He hit the ball as hard as he could
on the ground."
Rockies right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez kept Milwaukee off the scoreboard for seven innings,
despite issuing five walks of his own. He also struck out seven and permitted just three
hits as Colorado gradually built its lead with single tallies each of the fourth through
"He fell behind, but he made pitches," Yost said of Jimenez. "When you come at 98 [mph], you can
get away with a lot of mistakes. With action, that's not a straight 98, and it makes it
very tough to hit. When he's in the strike zone, he's going to do well. When he's not,
he's going to get kind of like Seth is. Walk a guy, walk a guy, base hit. "
McClung allowed two runs on three hits in 4 2/3 innings, and he limited the damage of his
five walks. Garrett Atkins' sacrifice fly was the only score after Colorado loaded the
bases with no outs in the fourth, and Matt Holliday's RBI single was all that came from a
seven-batter fifth inning.
"The ball was jumping out of my hands," McClung said. "I had a nice 91-92 [mph fastball], and could pump it up to 96-97. It just felt like it was coming out of my hand
really well. My curveball was real nice, you can look at the tape. "
Jimenez helped his own cause by picking Braun and Corey Hart off first base in
consecutive innings, and Russell Branyan's error on a Jimenez grounder in the sixth
allowed Jeff Baker to score from second base with two outs.
"He has a little balk move, one of those things that kind of buckles [your knees] and kind
of catches you off guard," Hart said. "But that's quick feet. So if you're leaning at
all, that's pretty effective. It's one of those moves that could be [a balk], but you
don't call it.
"He threw a pretty good ballgame. It didn't help that we got picked off, but even with
that, we didn't have many baserunners. They were able to get the timely hits and got a
pretty good lead."
The loss put a damper on a big day for Milwaukee. Hart was announced as the early leader
in the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote, J.J. Hardy was awarded National
League Player of the Week honors and the team announced its deal for Sabathia, who
received a rousing ovation after being shown in the dugout on the Miller Park scoreboard.
"Everybody loves their fans, but our fans our special," Yost said when asked about the
reaction. "Corey Hart's leading the voting, all of our guys were well-represented in the
[All-Star Game] voting. When I was with Atlanta, it was fun and everybody got into it, but
the town was so transitive. You had fans from every team in that city. You live in Milwaukee,
you're a Brewers fan. You're born and raised a Brewers fan."
Hoping to see their team reach the playoffs for the first time in 26 years, the faithful
now turn their attention to Sabathia's appearance Tuesday.
"We've got the big fella going tomorrow," McClung said. "He's a championship-caliber guy,
and I'm excited to see him throw tomorrow."