Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 5/13/12
MILWAUKEE For the Milwaukee Brewers this season, the third time has most definitely not been the charm. After two solid efforts against their NL Central rivals, the Brewers fell apart down the stretch on Sunday afternoon, losing, 8-2. But for a team that's remained woefully inconsistent through 34 games, the performance in the series' third game wasn't all that surprising. Through a month and a half of action in the 2012 baseball season, the Brewers have yet to sweep a series, despite having a 2-0 or 3-0 lead on four separate occasions. Even without a chance to sweep, the Brewers have struggled mightily in the third game of every series they've played this season, winning just one out of 11 tries in getaway games. "It's that consistency that I talk about," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We play two good games and a so-so game. ... We can't find that rhythm. Like I talked before about the offense and the defense both getting together at the same time -- until we do that, we're going to be inconsistent." Roenicke has echoed the same sentiment for much of the season, as strong pitching efforts have been met with quiet bats and vice versa on multiple occasions. Against the Cubs, the Brewers looked as though the offense and the pitching might have been on the same page for the first time in a long time, but after starter Marco Estrada left Sunday's game, the relief staff couldn't hold onto the victory, allowing at least one run in each of the final three innings. Meanwhile, the offense remained stagnant, scoring just two runs and allowing Chicago to run away with a victory -- its first at Miller Park in over a year. There has been some semblance of consistency in the starting rotation, which continued with a solid performance from starter Marco Estrada on Sunday. He became the fifth straight Brewers pitcher to allow less than two earned runs and garner a quality start. It was also the second straight game in which Estrada had retired the first nine batters of the game. That kind of consistency won't do much good without an offense to back it up. But Estrada says there's a lot of reasons to feel good about the direction the rotation is heading in. "I think things are turning around for us," Estrada said. "Every single guy is going out there and giving us five plus innings. They've all pitched really well the last couple outings. I think it's going to turn around for us." But Roenicke's frustration with his team's inability to put every aspect of the game together at one time is palpable. Although he admitted the weekend overall was a good one, the last-place Cubs undoubtedly offered a golden opportunity to win the final game of a series -- something that's been seemingly out of reach all season thus far. Estrada, like many of his teammates, however, isn't worried about the lack of combined efforts this early in the season. "Sometimes teams go through this where we do one thing, not the other," Estrada said. "But I think we're starting to put things together." Follow Ryan Kartje on Twitter.
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