Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Brewers can regain first place againWisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Brewers can regain sole possession of first place in the National League Central division with a victory tonight at Arizona.
PHOENIX - The Milwaukee Brewers can regain sole possession of first place in the National League Central division with a victory tonight at Arizona.
The Pittsburgh Pirates started the day a half-game ahead of second-place Milwaukee. But the Pirates lost at home to Cincinnati 3-to-1 this afternoon – and Pittsburgh fell into a temporary tie with the Brew Crew for the division lead. Johnny Cueto struck out four in six innings for the win, and former Brewer Francisco Cordero picked up his 19th save. Milwaukee hopes to to gain some momentum after whipping the Diamondbacks 11-to-3 last night. The Crew has won 12-of-its-last-16 at Chase Field in Phoenix – and they’ve averaged over six-and-a-half runs in those games, while averaging just three-and-a-half runs overall on the road. Both Milwaukee and Arizona have won three-of-their-last-four. Left-hander Chris Narveson starts for the Brewers this evening against Diamondbacks’ lefty Joe Saunders.
The Milwaukee Brewers are 3-3 so far on their 11-game Western road trip. And they hope to get on the plus side tonight, when the Brewers face the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix. Milwaukee belted a season-high five homers last night in an 11-3 rout of the D-Backs. Ryan Braun hit a two-run shot in his return to the lineup. He has missed 10-of-the-last-13 games with a strained left calf. Braun only played half the game last night, and Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke says he has a plan for easing Braun back into the lineup. He didn’t give details, saying it would help the opposition. Tonight’s game features a pair of lefties on the mound – Chris Narveson for Milwaukee and Joe Saunders for Arizona. Narveson is 6-and-6 with a four-point-seven-four ERA. He lost his first game in four starts last Friday night at Colorado, giving up three runs in six innings. Saunders is 6-8 with a three-point-eight-nine ERA. He gave up two homers in six innings of a loss to the LA Dodgers last Friday. Before that, Saunders was 3-0 in his previous four outings. The Brewers remain in second place in the National League Central, a half-game behind Pittsburgh. Saint Louis is third, a game-and-a-half off the pace.
The Class-“A” Midwest League returns after taking yesterday off. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers open a series at Lansing in a late morning contest. And the Beloit Snappers are at Great Lakes. Beloit is in a three-way tie for first place in the Western Division in the season’s second half. The Snappers, Kane County, and Quad Cities are all one game ahead of Clinton. Wisconsin is in sixth place, four games off the pace. Also tonight, East leader Dayton hosts Peoria. Kane County is at West Michigan. Lake County entertains Quad Cities. Clinton plays at South Bend. Fort Wayne is at home against Cedar Rapids. And Burlington is at Bowling Green.
The All-Star break ends tonight for teams in the Northwoods League. A full slate of games is on the docket. Waterloo, which leads the South Division by a half-game, will be at home against the Madison Mallards. The Wisconsin Woodchucks are second in the division, and they’ll be at home in Wausau against the La Crosse Loggers. Also Wisconsin Rapids plays at Eau Claire. Green Bay is at Battle Creek. Brainerd hosts Alexandria. Mankato is at home against Saint Cloud. Rochester plays in Canada at Thunder Bay. And Duluth hosts a double-header against Willmar. Alexandria leads the North Division by one game over Rochester and Thunder Bay.
One of the largest members of the Green Bay Packers says he’s been staying in shape during the off-season. Nose tackle Howard Green was listed at 340 pounds last fall. But he looked a lot bigger than that as he become a solid run-stuffer for the Pack since the middle of last season, when he was cut by the New York Jets because of his weight. Green lives in Louisiana – and he says he loses 15 pounds just by doing chores around the house in the heat. The 32-year-old Green says he’s been staying in shape being his family’s handyman, plus some more traditional workouts. Green figures that he now weighs 350-to-355. It probably won’t be long before Packer fans get to see him. The owners’ lockout is close to being settled – and we could find out before the end of the week what the schedule will be for contract signings and the start of training camp.
The Green Bay Gamblers of the U.S. junior Hockey League are looking for their third coach in three years. Eric Rud reportedly quit yesterday to return to a former job as an assistant coach at Colorado College in the WCHA. The move has not been announced. The Green Bay Press-Gazette said Colorado College wants him to come back as an associate head coach, and the eventual replacement to head coach Scott Owens. Rud had been an assistant at Saint Cloud State for five years before moving to Green Bay a year ago. His Gamblers went 41-15-4 this past season, and they made the league championship finals for the second year in a row. Rud played hockey at Colorado College during the 1990’s, and he was an assistant there in 2005.