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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Braves defeat Milwaukee thanks to ninth-inning rally

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A ninth-inning rally gave the Atlanta Braves a 3-to-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers last night at Turner Field. Andrelton Simmons broke a tie game with a single to right center with two-on and two-out. Justin Upton scored, as the Braves earned their 24th walk-off victory, second-best in the National League. Donovan Hand took the loss, falling to 0-and-5. Tyler Thornburg had his seventh consecutive strong start for the Crew. He struck out eight in a career-high seven innings. Thornburg gave up two runs on seven hits, as he ended his season with a stingy two-point-oh-three E-R-A, a 3-and-1 record, and 48 strikeouts in 66-and-two-thirds innings. It was quite a turnaround for the 24-year-old Thornburg, after he started the year 0-and-9 at Triple-"A" Nashville and spent some time in the Milwaukee bullpen when he was called up. He went to high school in the Atlanta area, and about 50 friends and relatives saw him pitch last night. The Brewers scored their two runs on a homer from Jeff Bianchi and a single by Jonathan Lucroy. Braves' closer Craig Kimbrel got the win by tossing a scoreless ninth. He's now 4-and-3. Atlanta remains a half-game ahead of Saint Louis for the National League's best record and home-field advantage through the N-L title series. The Brewers and Braves will close out their three-game series tonight. Right-hander Kyle Lohse starts for the Crew against Braves' lefty Paul Maholm.

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Jimmy Nelson will make his first Major League start for the Brewers on Saturday against the Mets in New York. He'll go in place Wily Peralta, who suffered a blister on the index finger of his right pitching hand last Sunday. Manager Ron Roenicke said he did not want Peralta to shut down -- but he and pitching coach Rick Kranitz want to see what their prospect Nelson can do. He has not started a game since August 31st at Triple-"A" Nashville. The 24-year-old Nelson has pitched five innings in three relief appearances during his September call-up with the Brewers. Peralta, who's also 24, ends his first full big league season with an 11-and-15 record and a four-point-three-seven E-R-A in 183-and-a-third innings. He tossed a three-hit shutout against Cincinnati on July 9th, ending the Brewers' Major League-record string of 407 contests without a complete game. Peralta improved after the All-Star break, and Kranitz said the rookie matured as the year went on.

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Seven injured Wisconsin football players did not practice yesterday, as the 24th-ranked Badgers kept getting ready for their Saturday night contest at Number-four Ohio State. Tight end Jacob Pedersen, the Badgers' third-leading receiver, sat out with a torn M-C-L knee ligament suffered last Saturday in the win over Purdue. Also sidelined yesterday were center Dallas Lewallen, linebacker Brendan Kelly, receivers Jeff Duckworth and Kenzel Doe, and corners Peniel Jean and T-J Reynard. Lewallen appears to have the best chance to return against the Buckeyes. He hurt an ankle against Purdue, and was walking without much of a limp yesterday. Line coach T-J Woods says it will be a game-time decision at center between Lewallen and Dan Voltz. Pedersen has not ruled himself out, saying he's made some progress in his recovery. The Badgers are 3-and-1 overall and 1-and-0 in the Big Ten. 4-and-0 Ohio State is making its conference debut on Saturday.

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The Milwaukee Bucks will play on a home floor that was inspired by Robert Indiana's famous 1977 design at the old Mecca Arena. The new design was unveiled last night during a ceremony at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The floor has two shades of maple that form a large "M" on each side of the half-court line. The edges and the paint in front of the baskets are forest green -- the one consistent team color the Bucks have had since joining the N-B-A in 1969. Only the deer from the Bucks' logo is at center court, so the "M's" stand out a little more. And only the word "Milwaukee" is on each baseline -- same as the original Indiana floor where the Bucks had 11 straight years of playoff appearances. Bucks' vice-president John Steinmiller said the old Mecca floor gave the team a shot in the arm back then -- and he believes the same can happen with the new floor now. Action Floor Systems of Mercer in northern Wisconsin created the floor. Steinmiller says that when N-B-A fans around the world watch games on T-V, they'll know Milwaukee just by its floor.

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A top high school guard from southeast Wisconsin says he'll play his college basketball at Iowa. Brady Ellingson of Sussex Hamilton gave his verbal commitment to the Hawkeyes yesterday. The 6-4 senior was given about two dozen offers from Division-One schools. Ellingson's other finalists were San Diego and new Horizon League school Oakland of suburban Detroit. He said it was a tough choice, but he likes Iowa coach Fran McCaffery and his aggressive shooting style. Ellingson averaged around 21 points and three-and-a-half rebounds at Sussex Hamilton last season.

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Brett Favre will turn 44 on October 10th -- but his agent still believes the legendary Green Bay quarterback can play today. Bus Cook told AL-Dot-Com that he's never seen Favre in better shape, physically. Cook said Favre rides a bike for 30-to-50 miles a day, and runs 4-to-5 miles daily. The agent said Favre's body-fat percentage is seven-and-a-half percent, and the three-time M-V-P could still play better than a lot of N-F-L quarterbacks. Having said all that, Cook notes he's only making an observation -- and nothing's in the works. Favre coaches high school football in Hattiesburg Mississippi, and Cook says his team is undefeated. He last played in the N-F-L in 2010 with Minnesota. Favre starred in Green Bay for 16 seasons.

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Jason Schulte
Jason Schulte has been with the Herald since 2006. He covers County government and anything else that happens in Pierce County on a daily basis.
(715) 273-4334
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