MILWAUKEE -- With as great as the Brewers have been this season at Miller Park, and especially with the roll they've been on the last month, it comes as a surprise when they lose at home.
Consecutive losses in front of the home crowd? That's almost like a shock to the system.
But even with Wednesday's loss, an 8-3 defeat against the Cardinals, the Brewers still own baseball's best home record by a four-game margin and the biggest division lead in baseball at 8 1/2 games.
So, there's no reason to think this two-game skid is the start of a trend in Milwaukee.
"We lost two games," manager Ron Roenicke said. "We've been playing great, we lost two games.
"If we hadn't been playing so great at home this whole season, it probably wouldn't be an issue. But because of the way we've played here, now it's like, 'What's happening?'"
Milwaukee, which finished 21-7 in August, had previously lost back-to-back games at home only once, on July 4-5, against Arizona. Following the latter game, Roenicke called for a team meeting, and the Crew has the best record in baseball since, winning 36 of 50 games.
While they fell one short of setting a new franchise record for wins in a month, the Brewers' August remains impressive. Losses are going to happen, even on consecutive nights, and even for baseball's hottest team.
"I don't know if things are bound to happen," said Brewers left-hander Randy Wolf. "You play enough games, things are going to kind of happen like this. But we're definitely capable of playing better. I'm definitely capable of pitching a lot better than I did tonight."
In a rare ugly Brewers loss, Wolf surrendered three homers and hit two batters, the defense missed outs on consecutive plays and Ryan Braun fell twice midway between third and home on an attempted inside-the-park home run that ended in a rundown.
Wolf allowed six runs on seven hits, lasting just five innings. He surrendered home runs to two of the first three batters he faced, but had settled in until a rough fourth inning cost Wolf and the Brewers the game.
After Wolf hit David Freese and Lance Berkman to lead off the inning, Yadier Molina crushed a single off the wall in right. It should have been a double, but Freese held at third, forcing Berkman back to second and Molina back to first.
With Berkman and Molina both around the bag at second, the Brewers had an easy opportunity to get an out, but they could not get the ball to first base in time.
"Hindsight is 20/20, and it was a weird play," said second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. "With a runner at second and a ball hit to the wall, you figure he's going to try to score. Everybody was in the right place. Prince was lined up with home. I did the right thing throwing it to home. You don't expect a guy going back to first on a sure double. It's a weird play, and it just worked out in their favor."
Ryan Theriot followed with a bouncer to third, and Casey McGehee fired home to get the first out, but the Brewers could not complete the double play as George Kottaras was unable to get a good grip on the baseball.
One pitch later, Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook drove his first career home run -- a grand slam -- just over the wall and inside the foul poul down the left-field line.
"It didn't feel good, that's for sure," Wolf said of the homer. "Everybody has the capability of hurting you, but he's batting like [.098] and he's never hit a homer. When it left the bat, I knew it was a homer. So it definitely, it is stunning when it first happens."
Making his Major League debut, prospect Taylor Green pinch-hit for Wolf in the bottom of the fifth inning and promptly notched his first career single in his first big league at-bat.
Westbrook was not much better than Wolf on the mound, but managed to limit the damage to just three runs (two earned) on eight hits over five innings. The Cardinals' bullpen then backed Westbrook up with four scoreless innings to close it out.
"They've got such a great lineup, you always have to be prepared for anything and be on your game," Westbrook said. "You have to make pitches."
Corey Hart answered the Cardinals' two first-inning blasts with one of his own, the fifth leadoff homer of his career, and his 22nd home run of the season.
Braun's triple tied the game in the third, and would have given the Brewers the lead had the All-Star left fielder been able to keep his balance. After rounding third, Braun fell once, but still had a chance to score before falling again.
"It was just unfortunate. There's nothing you can do, it's gravity," said Prince Fielder, who had as good a view of the play as anyone as he waited on-deck. "[It's tough] because it's a run and a homer. [But] he hit it good."
Yuniesky Betancourt added the Brewers' other run in the fourth, driving a one-out triple off the wall in center field and later scoring on a Hairston single.
"They just flat-out beat us," Hairston said. "You can't be red-hot all the time."
Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.