Parra takes tough-luck loss

Parra takes tough-luck loss

HOUSTON -- Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Mike Cameron summed it up succinctly: "It's time to go home."

The Brewers finished a three-city, nine-game road trip with a 3-2 loss Sunday to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Milwaukee, heading home to face Pittsburgh and Arizona, won five out of nine on the trip, successful enough to make the Brewers feel good about themselves.

"Going into New York and playing in Philly, we came out of this pretty good," Cameron said. "Every game we lost but the blowout game in Philly we had a chance to win."

"It was a very good road trip," manager Ken Macha said. "We were over .500 on the trip. I'm real happy with that. Last year, this team played really well at home."

Cameron admitted that the long road trip "kind of wears on you."

It didn't stop Cameron from going 5-for-11 in the three games vs. Houston. He doubled in Milwaukee's first run Sunday, doubled and scored the second and flew out to deep right with two on and two out in his third at-bat.

"It would have been nice for that one to go somewhere, off the fence or something," he said. "It felt like I hit it good."

Sunday's contest seemed like a snoozer compared with Saturday night's wild 9-8 Milwaukee win in 11 innings.

"It took a lot out of us [Saturday] night," said left-hander Manny Parra, who took the loss Sunday despite giving up only one earned run in five innings.

The Brewers' best opportunity to take charge occurred in the seventh inning, down by a run. Rickie Weeks led off with a walk and Craig Counsell singled him to second off reliever Doug Brocail. That brought up Ryan Braun, the team's hottest hitter, and Prince Fielder, who homered twice Saturday.

But Braun fouled out to first base, and Fielder struck out.

"It was a good situation for us," Fielder said. "Unfortunately, they were able to make better pitches. That's just how it is. Sometimes they're going to win."

"It was our three hottest hitters," Macha said. "You're not going to get it done every day. Brocail made some pitches on us."

Cameron did walk to load the bases with two outs, but Brocail struck out Brad Nelson to end the threat.

Macha was pleased with what he saw from Parra (0-4).

"I thought Parra used his changeup a lot today," Macha said. "That's good. He kept hitters off-balance. It came down to walking a pitcher, and that cost you. The only problem was five innings and close to 100 pitches [95 exactly]."

Parra walked opposing pitcher Russ Ortiz with one out and nobody on in the bottom of the third with the Brewers leading, 1-0. Michael Bourn singled Ortiz to second, and Parra struck out Jeff Keppinger.

Then Lance Berkman hit a liner behind second that Weeks got a glove on, but couldn't hold. Ortiz scored on the error with Bourn racing to third. Carlos Lee drove in Bourn with a single to left.

"I missed it," said Weeks of the play, offering no alibis. "It hit my glove. It was slicing a little bit. I was probably shielded [by the umpire], but I should have kept coming. I was just late."

The winless Parra looked upset after the game.

"I hate losing," he said. "I'm tired of this, losing when I'm out there. It's just frustrating. It's [difficult] to try to take a positive out of this, because you're losing. It's a matter of not letting things snowball. I walked the pitcher. There you go.

"I felt like it's the best I've thrown. I was commanding my fastball a lot better, down in the zone. I threw a few more changeups. The difference was I was able to throw my fastball for strikes more. I wish my curveball could have been there a little bit more."

The only earned run Parra allowed was Pudge Rodriguez's second homer of the year, a solo shot on a 3-2 count in the fourth that proved to be the winning run.

"I made three pitches to him right where I wanted," Parra said. "Basically, he was able to wait me out until I made a mistake, and I made a mistake right over the middle. I hadn't made too many all day, and he got one of them."

It was the fewest runs the Brewers had scored since being shut out a week ago Saturday by New York's Johan Santana.

Cameron improved his average to .328 over the weekend.

"I've got a pretty good stretch going on," he said. "I can't complain at all. I've just been able to maintain some type of consistency and keep it going. I'm playing some good ball out there [in center field]."

"Cameron's been good all year -- terrific," Macha said. "He had a big play [Saturday] in the outfield running the ball down."

The Brewers managed seven hits Sunday, 10 fewer than Saturday. Cameron's doubles were their only extra-base hits of the game.

Time to head home.

Gene Duffey is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.