WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Brewers go for seventh straight win tonight vs. Pirates
MILWAUKEE - It's been almost a year since the Milwaukee Brewers won seven straight games -- but that's what they're playing for tonight, when they host Pittsburgh.
The Brewers have been turning heads with their 7-2 start, their best nine-game performance in 16 years. They're also 6-0 on the road for the first time in 27 years. And the Brewers have just completed their first undefeated road trip of six games or more since 2008 -- the year they made the playoffs after a 26-year drought. Tonight, Milwaukee is back home for a weekend series against the Pirates -- and the Crew will have the challenge of playing like they did on the road this past week. The Brewers batted .320 in their six games at Boston and Philadelphia, with a total of 42 runs. In their first three home games against Atlanta, Milwaukee batted only .184 while scoring only four times. The Pirates come to Miller Park with a 6-3 record. They belted seven homers at Wrigley Field this week, while taking 2-of-3 from the Chicago Cubs. Brewers' right-hander Wily Peralta will start this evening against Pirates' southpaw Francisco Liriano.
In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will open a series at South Bend tonight. The Rattlers took 2-of-3 at West Michigan, after scoring the game's only runs in the ninth inning yesterday for a 3-nothing victory. Detroit Tigers' prospect Chad Green struck out seven Wisconsin batters in seven scoreless innings. Tristan Archer tossed five scoreless frames for the Timber Rattlers. Tonight, the Beloit Snappers will have their turn at West Michigan. They just took 2-of-3 from South Bend, after an 8-1 loss last evening.
Matt Kenseth of Cambridge will try again to take over the top spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings this weekend. Kenseth remains in second place, four points behind Jeff Gordon, going into the Bojangles Southern 500 tomorrow night in Darlington South Carolina. Qualifying takes place this evening. Also entered is Wisconsin's other Top-10 driver in the point standings, 10th-place Paul Menard of Eau Claire. Travis Kvapil of Janesville and Beloit-born Danica Patrick will also try to make the field. Meanwhile, the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington is tonight. Kenseth is entered for the VFW Sport Clips 200. He finished 9th and 11th in a pair of practice runs with his Nationwide vehicle.
Both Wisconsin golfers at The Masters are part of the afternoon group at Augusta National. Amateur Jordan Niebrugge of Mequon began his second round at 10:25 Wisconsin time. He hopes to improve on a shaky first-round in which he had trouble with his putts and shot a nine-over-par 81. Niebrugge was in 94th place this morning, four spots from the bottom. Steve Stricker of Madison teed off around 12:05. He began the day four strokes off the lead, as he tries to win the first major of his long career. Stricker shot an even-par 72 in his opening round, with four birdies and four bogeys.