WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Brewers' lead now down to two games with second-place St. Louis in town this weekend
Matt Garza took a no-hitter into the seventh inning yesterday, before the Milwaukee Brewers got crushed by Philadelphia 9-to-1 at Miller Park. The Phillies scored seven runs in the eighth inning, and two more in the ninth, to sweep a four-game series in Milwaukee for the first time ever. Garza was perfect through four frames. His no-hit bid ended when Jimmy Rollins belted a lead-off single to right in the seventh. Garza gave up two runs on three hits in seven-and-two-thirds innings, and the loss dropped him to 6-and-6. Rollins had the game-winning hit in the eighth with a two-run single off Will Smith, who gave up five runs without recording an out. Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer in the ninth. Carlos Gomez scored Milwaukee's only run with a homer in the sixth, as the Crew was out-hit 9-to-4. David Buchanan got the win, striking out five in seven innings. He's now 5-and-5. Milwaukee now has a season-high five-game losing streak. The Crew is in danger of losing its division lead this weekend, when the second-place Saint Louis Cardinals come to town. Milwaukee has a two-game edge over the Cards at the moment. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo faces Cardinals' right-hander Joe Kelly.
Prospect Jimmy Nelson will start in Marco Estrada's place tomorrow, when the Brewers host Saint Louis. The Brewers' called up Nelson yesterday from Triple-"A" Nashville, and sent Estrada to the bullpen after he gave up a Major League-high 27 homers so far this season. Skipper Ron Roenicke saw it as a way to improve the team, which has lost nine-of-its-last-10 as a six-game division lead over the second-place Cardinals has dwindled down to just two. Nelson has been nothing short of spectacular at Triple-"A" with a 10-and-2 record, a one-point-four-six E-R-A, and 114 strikeouts in 111 innings. He had not given up a run in his last 22 innings. And Nelson recorded his first Major League win in May in a spot-start at Miami. To make room for Nelson on the Milwaukee roster, the Brewers put reliever Wei-Chung Wang on the 15-day disabled list with what was termed as shoulder tightness. Wang has only pitched in blowout games -- but as a Rule-Five draft pick, the Brewers must keep him at the big league level all season.
Milwaukee will now have three starters in Tuesday night's Major League All-Star Game. Jonathan Lucroy became the starting National League catcher yesterday, when Yadier Molina of the Cardinals went on the disabled list with a torn ligament in his right thumb. Molina will have surgery today, and will be out for 8-to-12 weeks. Fans elected Molina to start in the Mid-Summer Classic. Lucroy was second in the fan vote at catcher, and he topped the players' ballots -- which put him in a position to replace Molina. The Brewers already had the most National League starters, when fans elected third baseman Aramis Ramirez and outfielder Carlos Gomez.
The Brewers have announced the signing of 16-year-old shortstop Gilbert Lara of the Dominican Republic. He was given the club's highest signing bonus ever for an international player, at three-point-one million dollars. Milwaukee exceeded its allotted pool of two-point-six million to sign international players. They increased the allotment to just under three-million by trading minor league pitcher Rodolfo Fernandez to Oakland for an international player slot worth 339-thousand dollars. The Brewers will pay a 100-percent luxury tax on the remaining 150-thousand above the limit. General manager Doug Melvin said Lara is a top talent, and his signing is a "major step" to show how involved the Brewers are in Latin America.
The Green Bay Packers had record revenues last year. But their profits were down 41-percent because of higher player costs, and depreciation on the recent improvements at Lambeau Field. The Packers announced yesterday that they netted 25-point-three million dollars last year, a drop of almost 18-million from the year before. Team president Mark Murphy said the big-money contract renewals for Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews were a factor, as player costs jumped by 35-million dollars to 171-million. Depreciation for the Lambeau Field improvements was set at eight-million dollars. Revenues for the N-F-L's only publicly-held team rose by 16-million, to 324-million dollars. Expenses jumped by around 18-percent. Murphy said one of his top priorities is to give general manager Ted Thompson a contract extension. He's signed through the 2016 draft. Also, Murphy says he's had good conversations with former quarterback Brett Favre. However, Favre's Number-Four will not be retired this season. He becomes eligible for the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame in two years, and Murphy hopes that Favre's jersey retirement will be completed by then.
Milwaukee Bucks' center Larry Sanders practiced for a second straight day yesterday. Coach Jason Kidd said he looked great for not having any contact for five months. Sanders went out for the season last February after suffering an eye injury against Houston. He later served a five-game N-B-A suspension for using marijuana. Sanders has been practicing this week with the Bucks' Summer League team in Las Vegas. Kidd said Sanders has been very competitive in the workouts, and he worked the entire two hours yesterday. He's been in the N-B-A for too long to be on the Summer League roster of first-and-second-year players. The Bucks will open a five-game Vegas schedule tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Madison golfer Jerry Kelly is tied for 11th place going into today's second round of the P-G-A's John Deere Classic in the Quad Cities. Kelly shot a five-under-par 66 yesterday at T-P-C Deere Run in Silvis Illinois. He's three shots behind a trio of leaders -- Zach Johnson, Rory Sabbatini, and Brian Harman. Steve Stricker of Madison is tied for 24th. Stricker, a three-time champion at the John Deere, is at three-under-par 68. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson and Mequon amateur Jordan Niebrugge both shot even-par 71's. They're tied for 81st. Niebrugge eagled the par-five 17th hole.
Rhinelander native Dan Forsman struggled in his first round at the U-S Senior Open. He shot a five-over-par 76 yesterday at Oak Tree National in Edmond Oklahoma, putting him in a tie for 89th. Colin Montgomerie has the lead at six-under-65. A handful of players did not complete their first rounds, because of a morning weather delay that lasted just over 75 minutes.