Brewers' Bats Slumping
Next game: NL Division Series Game Three
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Prince Fielder had the perfect chance to help Milwaukee break out at the plate. Instead, his bat shattered everywhere and the ball never left the infield.
After a September full of clutch hits, Fielder, Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers are suddenly coming up short at the plate.
"Right now I'm just kind of garbage, but hopefully I can pick it up at home," Fielder said. "We just can't get that big hit when we need it."
Braun went 2-for-4 but Fielder was hitless again and grounded out in a key spot as Philadelphia won 5-2 to move within one win of the NLCS.
"I'm not taking anything away from them," Braun said. "But we have to find a way to swing the bats better, to walk, to get hit, to bunt, to do whatever we can do to try to manufacture some runs and get some guys on base."
Fielder came up in a big spot in the eighth, batting with two on and two out. He broke his bat on the first pitch from J.C. Romero, hitting a dribbler to second baseman Chase Utley to end the inning.
Braun and Fielder, who combined for 71 homers in the regular season, have not produced for the Brewers. Braun has managed three hits in the series, but Fielder and leadoff hitter Mike Cameron are 0-for-7.
Braun and Fielder each had game-ending home runs in the final week of the season as the Brewers won six of their last seven to secure the wild card, but Milwaukee had trouble scoring without the longball in late September. That troubling trend has continued against the Phillies.
Struggling to get runners on base in the first two games, the potent Brewers have gone flat.
"I don't remember the last time we've really been ahead or had a big lead in early in a game," Braun said. "It seems like every day we kind of hang out for the first six or seven innings and get a big hit in the eighth or ninth."
The Brewers managed just four hits in Game 1 -- only two off Cole Hamels in the first eight innings -- and managed two more off Brett Myers in Thursday's loss. The Phillies pitcher provided most of Milwaukee's offense in the first inning, walking three batters, including J.J. Hardy with the bases loaded to force in a run.
The Brewers had a chance to do more damage in the first but Corey Hart tapped back to the mound for an inning-ending double play.
"On a whole, we're not getting enough men on base to do any damage," manager Dale Sveum said. "We have to go home and figure it out. To single anybody out is ridiculous."
Braun and Fielder were confident the offense would get back on track with the series shifting to Milwaukee. Fielder even said there was no reason to head to the batting cage for extra work.
"If I don't know how to hit by now, it's too late," he said.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)