MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Nelson's run of quality starts came to an end, and so did the Brewers' winning streak in a 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays at Miller Park on Wednesday.
A lead evaporated when Toronto scored two runs in the fifth inning and five more in the sixth to end Milwaukee's five-game winning streak and avoid what would have been a two-game Interleague Series sweep.
The go-ahead hit came against Brewers reliever Zach Duke, and Brandon Kintzler and Will Smith surrendered multi-run home runs as Toronto pulled away. But the loss fell to the rookie right-hander Nelson, who had met the definition of quality start -- six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs -- in each of his previous five outings. Against the Jays, he was charged with four earned runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings, with all of the runs and five of the hits coming amid the flurry of activity in the fifth and sixth.
"That's not going to work," Nelson said. "That's not going to get it done. I need to do a better job second and third time through. I need to mix my pitches up better and put guys away better. That's really it."
Nelson exited the game with the score tied at 3, two outs and a runner aboard in favor of Duke, who surrendered singles to both of the batters he faced, including Jose Reyes' go-ahead single. Duke exited for a right-hander, Kintzler, who surrendered a three-run home run to Jose Bautista that made it 7-3.
Colby Rasmus added insurance against Smith in the ninth inning that came after Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun couldn't come up with a sliding two-out catch.
Add them up, and seven of Toronto's nine runs scored with two outs in an inning.
"That's been hurting us a lot," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We've been doing that, you know, more often than you really should. When you get two outs, you shouldn't put up a bunch of runs after that."
Said Duke: "If I make a little better pitch on 0-2 to Reyes, that's probably an out. It caught too much plate. It didn't cut it. He did a good job battling there. ... They're good. There's a reason they've been good all year."
Roenicke was pleased with the output from a Brewers offense getting its first look at knuckleballer R.A. Dickey since 2011. Gerardo Parra started in left field for Milwaukee and had two extra-base hits against Dickey and two runs scored. Shortstop Jean Segura had two hits, scored a run and reached safely four times. Carlos Gomez hit R.A. Dickey's final knuckleball for a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning that closed the deficit to 7-5, but four Blue Jays relievers held the lead for the visitors.
Toronto had lost 10 of its first 14 games in August before winning Wednesday.
"Our bullpen pitched wonderfully, and that shouldn't go unnoticed today," said Dickey, who won despite allowing five earned runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. "I thought we did a good job. After I left the game, our bullpen shut them out, [and] it's great to [see the offense] put a crooked number up there. I feel like we've been overdue for that."
Gomez's sixth-inning homer was his 21st this season, tying Mark Reynolds for the team lead, which Reynolds nearly reclaimed when he hit a deep flyout to end the seventh inning with two runners on base in a two-run game.
The Brewers entered the day with a 2 1/2-game lead over the second-place Cardinals and a seven-game lead over the third-place Pirates in the National League Central. St. Louis and Pittsburgh were each scheduled to play separate games Wednesday night. The Pirates will be at Miller Park beginning Friday for a big three-game series.
"We're playing good baseball," Roenicke said "We didn't pitch that well a few innings there today; besides that, we're playing really well. I'm really happy to see what our offense is doing. The lineup's getting deep where everybody is helping us, and I think we have ... we have to be able to do that."