WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Cubs beat Milwaukee 5-1, salvage one game
The Chicago Cubs pounded three homers yesterday, as they beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 at Miller Park. Luis Valbuena, Nate Schierholtz, and Brian Bogusevic all went yard. The Brewers were out-hit 13-to-4, as they blew a chance to complete a first-ever four-game sweep of the Cubs. Kyle Lohse took the loss, giving up three runs on five innings. Lohse put much of the blame on plate umpire Chad Fairchild. Catcher Martin Maldonado said Fairchild told him that Lohse's "grumpy face" in giving up the Schierholz home run would cost him some strikes. Lohse said the umpire missed some strikes during that at-bat. In the ninth, Fairchild called Logan Schafer out on a low 3-and-2 pitch to end the game. Schafer threw down his bat and helmet in anger -- and he received an equipment violation from the umpire. The two exchanged heated words before Brewers' manager Ron Roenicke came out to break it up. Carlos Gomez provided Milwaukee's only offense with a solo homer. Lohse dropped to 10-and-10 with his loss. Jake Arrieta struck out five in seven innings to get the win, giving up just three hits. He retired 11 in a row at one point, as he improved to 3-and-2. The Cubs snapped a five-game losing streak. But the fourth-place Brewers extended their lead over last-place Chicago to four-and-a-half game games by taking 3-of-4 in the series. Milwaukee opens its final home series of the year tonight against Saint Louis. Right-hander Johnny Hellweg goes up against Cardinals' right-hander Shelby Miller.
Brewers' first baseman Corey Hart says he would take a substantial pay cut to stay with the team next year. Hart missed the final season of his current contract with surgeries to both his knees. The three-time All-Star made 10-million dollars this year -- and Hart said he owes it to both the Brewers and his fans to return at a cheaper price. The 31-year-old Hart says he has had no talks yet with the Brewers. Team officials met on Wednesday to look over their possible lineups for next season. Manager Ron Roenicke said they spent a lot of time discussing the first base position -- but the team has not said whether or not it would keep Hart. The veteran figures that he must prove that his knees will hold up before the team takes a chance on him. The Brewers drafted Hart 13 years ago -- and for now, at least, Hart says he's optimistic that he'll return to Milwaukee.
The Green Bay Packers might only have two running backs available for Sunday's game at Cincinnati -- and coach Mike McCarthy says he'll do all he can to avoid that. James Starks and rookie Johnathan Franklin are currently the only healthy rushers on Green Bay's roster -- and Franklin has not taken a snap from scrimmage yet. Eddie Lacy is recovering from a concussion, and McCarthy says he might be able to return for the Bengals' game. Fullback John Kuhn is not expected to play after injuring a hamstring last Sunday. If he can't go, tight end Andrew Quarless might fill in. Also, McCarthy could promote Michael Hill from the practice squad if need be. The coach said he learned his lesson from 2011, when he took just two running backs into Kansas City -- and it led to the Packers' only regular season loss that year. McCarthy also said it's a "long shot" that safety Morgan Burnett would make his season debut on Sunday. He's been out with a bad hamstring. Corner Jarrett Bush also missed yesterday's practice with a hamstring injury. Tight end Jermichael Finley, nursing an injured toe, practiced on a limited basis.
The Wisconsin offense faces a similar challenge to the one it had last week. The Badgers will host Purdue tomorrow in their Big Ten conference opener. And just like a week ago, the Badger offense will face a pair of large-and-mobile tackles on Purdue's defensive line. Quarterback Joel Stave says Bruce Gaston and Ryan Watson are solid players -- just like the run-stuffers that Arizona State put up against Wisconsin last week. Gaston and Ryan both tip the scales at just over 300 pounds, and they helped the Boilermakers have given up a combined 130 rushing yards in their last two games. Wisconsin managed to run for 239 yards in its two-point loss to Arizona State last week, but many of those yards were sweeps to the outside. Melvin Gordon had 193 of Wisconsin's rushing yards in that game. The Badgers come into their league opener at 2-and-1. Purdue is 1-and-2.
In golf, Steve Stricker of Madison is tied for third place after the opening round of the P-G-A Tour Championship in Atlanta. Stricker shot a four-under-par 66 yesterday. He had five birdies, and his only bogey came on the par-three second hole. Thirty players are competing, and the top ones are going for the season Fed-Ex Cup title and a 10-million-dollar prize. Stricker can win the Cup if he wins this weekend's tournament and Tiger Woods places below second. Stricker also has a mathematical chance to win if he finishes in second.
Former Marquette guard Vander Blue has hooked up with the N-B-A's Philadelphia 76'ers -- at least for training camp. Yahoo Sports said Blue has signed a partially-guaranteed deal that's good during the Sixers' camp. Philly opens its camp on September 28th, and will have exhibition games in Spain and England in October. The 6-5 Blue averaged 11 points and four rebounds for Memphis in the N-B-A's Summer League in July. He averaged around 15 points and three boards for Marquette last season. He left college as a junior in the hopes of being drafted, but he wasn't.
The Wisconsin women's hockey team is picked to finish second in the W-C-H-A this season. That's according to a coaches' poll released yesterday. Two-time defending national champion Minnesota is again predicted to win its conference. The Gophers have won 49 games in a row. Mark Johnson's Badgers received one first-place vote while being projected to take second. North Dakota is picked for third, followed by Ohio State, Minnesota-Duluth, and Minnesota State. Hannah Brandt of Minnesota was named the W-C-H-A's Pre-season Player-of-the-Year. Badgers' goaltender Alex Rigsby finished second in the voting. Dani Cameranesi of the Gophers is the coaches' choice as the Pre-season Rookie-of-the-Year. Wisconsin forward Sarah Nurse was second. The Badgers will open on Monday night with a home exhibition against the Japanese National Team.