Two other plays loomed just as large in the pivotal eighth inning, which began with the Phillies and Brewers knotted, 4-4.
Summoned into a tie game, Antonio Bastardo had Mark Reynolds, the first batter of the eighth inning, buried in an 0-2 count.
In the last seven seasons, no major league player has racked up more strikeouts than Reynolds. He has 1,156 strikeouts in 882 games in that time.
But Bastardo couldn't finish off Reynolds, firing three straight balls out of the strike zone en route to a walk.
"He had him in the hole," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Leadoff walks are sometimes tough. A lot of times they circle the bases."
Bastardo exited the postgame clubhouse without talking to the media. He also ignored Reynolds after he let him reach first base.
Reynolds, who has been caught stealing 12 times in 30 attempts in the last five seasons, stole second shortly after arriving on first.
Two batters later, the other critical play of the eighth inning: pinch-hitter Logan Schafer hit a bouncing ball down the first-base line that Ryan Howard couldn't handle. Reynolds easily came home with the go-ahead run.
The Phillies have made six errors in their last three games and have allowed 10 unearned runs in their last three games. In the last three games, opponents have scored 15 runs in the innings when the Phillies make an error.
"We definitely have to tighten that up," Sandberg said. "I don't know what to say about it - we work on it, we talk about it. Some of the plays are routine, and we have to make the routine plays."
After hanging with Milwaukee for seven innings, the eighth was nearly a total team breakdown. The pitcher couldn't throw strikes or hold runners and the defense couldn't make plays.
The Brewers scored five times in their final two at-bats to turn what had been a close game into another easy victory.
"It's possible early-season stuff," Sandberg said of his team's overall sloppy play in their three-game losing streak. "But we're still in the process of ironing that stuff out and continuing to work at it and stress it, that's for sure."
The game's first two innings nearly took an hour to play and Roberto Hernandez was among the guilty parties on the field.
Hernandez, making his second start as a member of the Phillies, watched five of the Brewers' first six batters get to first base by just about every scenario possible. He also gave up back-to-back doubles in the second inning.
Hernandez barely looked like he'd be able to deliver three full innings when the game was an hour long. But then the 33-year-old suddenly settled down, did his best Fausto Carmona impression and bounced back with three efficient innings, striking out six of the 13 batters he faced.
"I thought Hernandez threw the ball well, mixed his pitches well," Sandberg said.
Hernandez was far from brilliant, but he managed to stay on the mound long enough to be effective. The Phillies' offense rewarded its starting pitcher by getting him off the hook for a loss a half-inning after Hernandez walked off the mound for the last time.
But the offense hit the snooze button after the fifth inning and never woke up.
After scoring three runs in the first inning, the Phils managed one more in the game's final eight innings against Matt Garza and relievers Tyler Thornburg and Jim Henderson. The Phillies went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and are 5-for-36 with runners in scoring position during their three-game skid.
Milwaukee, meanwhile, has scored 19 runs on 27 hits in the first two games of a three-game series that ends tonight.
"They're a fastball-hitting team," Sandberg said. "They've been aggressive in this series so far. They're a very aggressive lineup, first-pitch fastball-swinging."
The Phillies will send Cliff Lee to the mound tonight in an attempt to avoid a sweep.
On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21