WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Brewers drop out of first place
CHICAGO - After being in first place every day since April 5, the Milwaukee Brewers dropped to second in the National League Central after losing to the Cubs in Chicago 4-2.
Yesterday's loss was the sixth straight for Milwaukee, which was out-scored 41-13 in those outings. Saint Louis took a one-game division lead over the Crew by beating Pittsburgh 5-4 at home. The Pirates are three games back in third. The Cubs out-hit the Brewers 11-7 in their series opener at Wrigley. Khris Davis and Gerardo Parra hit back-to-back homers in the seventh inning for their only scoring offense. Parra went 3-for-4 on the day. For the Cubs, Wellington Castillo hit a two-run homer and a run-scoring single. The single scored mega outfield prospect Jorge Soler, who doubled twice and became the first National League rookie since 1938 to hit for extra bases in each of his first five games. Soler is hitting .556 in that span with three homers and seven RBI's. Luis Valbuena also hit a solo homer for Chicago. Jacob Turner struck out seven in six-and-a-third innings to get the win. He's 5-8. Hector Rondon earned his 23rd save. Jimmy Nelson took the loss, gave up three runs on nine hits in six frames. He's 2--6. The Brewers play the Cubs again tonight at Wrigley. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo starts against Cubs righty Jake Arietta.
Carlos Gomez sat out yesterday's series opener in Chicago, with an injured left wrist suffered on a swing in Sunday's loss at San Francisco. Brewers' skipper Ron Roenicke said his starting center-fielder was scheduled to have an MRI, even though X-rays were negative. Gomez said he felt a pop in the wrist when he struck out in the third inning on Sunday. Roenicke could not say how many games Gomez would miss -- but the two-time All-Star showed a more positive demeanor yesterday, and he called it an encouraging sign.
The Brewers added five players on Labor Day, as Major League teams were allowed to expand their rosters from 25-to-40 men for September. Outfielder Logan Schafer was recalled from Triple-"A" Nashville, where he was sent down July 31st after the Crew acquired Gerardo Parra. Catcher Matt Pagnozzi was called up from Nashville for the first time. Manager Ron Roenicke said it's important to have three catchers available for the stretch run. Starter Matt Garza was re-instated from the disabled list, and will start tomorrow against the Cubs in Chicago. He's coming off a strained oblique muscle that has kept him out for almost a month. Rule-five pitcher Wei-Chung Wang was also re-instated from the D-L. The seldom-used left-hander was on the DL since July after the Brewers said he had shoulder tightness. Starter Jimmy Nelson, who was sent down to make room for a reliever, was recalled for his start against the Cubs yesterday. Also, veteran reliever Jonathan Broxton joined Milwaukee yesterday, after he was traded from Cincinnati Sunday for a pair of minor leaguers to be named later. Roenicke says Broxton will be the eighth-inning set-up man.
After knocking the Milwaukee Brewers out of first, the Chicago Cubs will try to keep playing the spoiler's role tonight when they face the Brewers again at Wrigley Field. The Brewers ended a team-record 150 straight days atop the National League Central Division with a 4-2 loss to the Cubbies on Labor Day. The Crew has a six-game losing streak, and is a game behind division-leading Saint Louis. Tonight, Brewers' right-hander Yovani Gallardo will take the mound for Milwaukee against Cubs' ace Jake Arietta. Gallardo is 8-7 with a 3.26 ERA. He threw six scoreless innings last Wednesday at San Diego and escaped with a no-decision in a one-run Milwaukee loss. Gallardo has a solid 1.73 ERA in his last four starts. On August 11th at Wrigley, Gallardo held the Cubs to a run on six hits over seven innings in a victory. Arietta is 7-5 with a 2.88 ERA. He gave up two earned runs in seven-and-a-third frames in that same August 11th contest. Arietta has dropped three of his last five decisions.
After nine minor league seasons, Door County high school reliever Erik Cordier has become a September Major League call-up. He'll join the San Francisco Giants tonight at Colorado. Cordier was a standout at Southern Door High School in Brussels. He was drafted by Kansas City in the second round in 2004. Cordier also spent time in the Atlanta and Pittsburgh organizations before signing with the Giants last winter. Along the way, Cordier had Tommy John elbow surgery and a major knee injury. The hard-throwing right-hander went 4-3 this year at Triple-"A" Fresno with three saves, and an ERA of 3.59.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will host Kane County tomorrow night in their Midwest League playoff opener. It's a best-of-three series, with Game-Two at Kane County, Illinois on Thursday night, and Game-Three Friday night at Kane County if necessary. Eight teams are in the playoffs, after the regular season ended yesterday. The Timber Rattlers made the Western Division semi-finals on Sunday, when Wisconsin won and Peoria lost to give the Rattlers the final West playoff spot for the second half. Wisconsin also won its regular season finale on Labor Day, 11-5 at Beloit. Brewers' prospect Clint Coulter homered twice, tying Wisconsin's single-season home run record of 22 set by Khris Davis in 2010 and Victor Roache last year. The Rattlers ended the season's second half at 36-34. Beloit ended its second half in last place in the West at 25-44.
Letroy Guion will start at nose tackle for the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night, when they open the NFL's regular season in Seattle. He missed most of Training Camp with an injured hamstring. Still, defensive coordinator Dom Capers says the 315-pound Guion is ready to step into the spot left by B.J. Raji, who's out for the year with a torn biceps muscle. Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said he's confident that Guion will hold his own against opposing double-teams. The Packers acquired the veteran Guion after the Minnesota Vikings let him go. He's generally more mobile than the Packers' other big men on the defensive front. Second-year pro Josh Boyd replaced Raji after he left the Packers' exhibition against Oakland a week-and-a-half ago. Capers said he wants Boyd to continue developing in his natural position at defensive end.
The Green Bay Packers can expect to see a much-improved Russell Wilson on Thursday night at Seattle. The former Wisconsin Badgers' quarterback is in his third year in the NFL, all as a starter for the Seahawks. Coach Pete Carroll says he's "thrilled" with how Wilson has matured during the off-season -- after he won a Super Bowl ring for the Seahawks in February. In 13 series during the exhibition games, Wilson had 11 scoring drives -- nine of which ended in touchdowns. He threw for 437 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions while completing 79-percent of his passes. Wilson also scored three rushing TD's. Carroll said Wilson is in "great control" over what's happening on the field -- and he's playing faster and more comfortably than ever. The coach said it helps Seattle including a larger package of plays in its game-plans. Wilson played extensively in the pre-season to develop his rhythm, unlike Packers' QB Aaron Rodgers -- who looked to be in mid-season while playing the two middle exhibitions, and sitting out the first and last.
University of Wisconsin football coach Gary Andersen now says running back Melvin Gordon injured a hip flexor late in the first half of Saturday night's loss against LSU. The Badgers' top rusher only had four carries in the second half, after a 63-yard run on the second play after halftime. Gordon finished with 140 yards on 16 carries. After the game, Andersen told reporters he didn't know why Gordon's carries went down in the second half. Yesterday, he said the training staff told him about Gordon's hip flexor but he didn't feel obligated to share it with reporters. Gordon said after the game he felt fine. Yesterday, he admitted hurt the hip flexor late in the first half, but said he could have played every snap in the second half if he was asked. Gordon said he should have made that point clear to the coaches, but he didn't. Andersen said the coaches were trying to be smart with Gordon as the game went on, and keep him moving in the right direction for the future. The Badgers host Western Illinois on Saturday.
__________________________________University of Wisconsin defensive linemen Warren Herring and Konrad Zagzebski both escaped long-term injuries in Saturday night's loss at LSU. The senior Zagzebski was carted out on a stretcher and checked out at a hospital, after he took a blow to the head-and-neck area. Coach Gary Andersen said yesterday that Zagzebski could be ready to return for the Badgers' home opener against Western Illinois this Saturday. If not, he'll most likely return after Wisconsin's first bye for the October 20th home game against Bowling Green. Herring injured a knee on the final play of the third quarter. Andersen said the senior is day-to-day, and he should be back shortly. He's expected to miss the Western Illinois contest, and return after the bye.___________________________________
University of Wisconsin volleyball junior Taylor Morey has been named the Big Ten Conference defensive player-of-the-week. Morey, a libero, had a match-high 16 digs against Louisville, and a match-high 15 against Notre Dame at the Big Ten-ACC Challenge tournament this past weekend in Minneapolis. Morey is a transfer from Notre Dame, and is in her second season with the Badgers. Wisconsin won both matches three-sets-to-none. It helped the Badgers rise two spots to No. 4 in this week's national coaches' poll.
Madison golfer Jerry Kelly is still alive in the Fed-Ex Cup Playoffs, despite a bad back that haunted him through the second playoff tournament over the weekend. Kelly tied for 57th at the Deutsche Bank Championship near Boston -- and he fell ten spots to 70th in the Fed-Ex point standings. That means Kelly barely made the Top-70 who will compete in the third Fed-Ex tournament, the B-M-W Championship that begins Thursday near Denver. Kelly shot a two-under-par 69 yesterday, as he eagled the Par-five 18th hole. He finished the Boston tournament at even-par 284. Chris Kirk won the tournament at 15-under.
In Major League Baseball... National League Central race... Chicago Cubs 4, Milwaukee 2 Saint Louis 5, Pittsburgh 4 In regional action... Minnesota 6, Baltimore 4 Detroit 12, Cleveland 1 Midwest League regular season finale... Beloit 11, Wisconsin 5