Brewers hold on again, get a needed day offWisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Brewers are off today – and perhaps nobody will welcome it more than Francisco Rodriguez.
The Milwaukee Brewers are off today – and perhaps nobody will welcome it more than Francisco Rodriguez. The Brewers’ new closer has pitched in five-of-the-last-six days. And it showed yesterday, as he just barely got out of a ninth-inning jam to give Milwaukee a 4-to-3 home win over Saint Louis. Rodriguez threw 35 pitches in the ninth, as he loaded the bases and gave up a run-scoring walk to David Freese with two out. K-Rod then got Lance Berkman to fly out to end the game. Rodriguez earned his 294th career save. He was given the closer’s job Tuesday, as John Axford continued to struggle. But Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke and G-M Doug Melvin both say they’re still confident about Axford, and they expect him to return to the closer’s spot. Axford got the win yesterday, with one-and-a-third scoreless innings of middle relief. He’s now 3-and-6. Cardinals’ starter Adam Wainwright took the loss, falling to 7-and-10.
The Brewers scored all four of their runs in the first inning – two on a single by Corey Hart, and two on a pair of errors on the same play. Shortstop Rafael Furcal made an errant throw to first on a grounder by Carlos Gomez – and Lance Berkman dropped the ball after he got pulled off the bag, allowing the runs to score. Ryan Braun was given the day off with his strained groin. Freese and Allen Craig both homered off Brewers’ starter Tyler Thornburg, who has now given up seven blasts in 12 innings.
The Brewers took two-of-three from the Redbirds, and they’re 4-and-2 since the All-Star break. The Crew is now five-and-a-half games out of a Wild Card spot, and seven behind Central division-leading Cincinnati. Milwaukee opens a weekend series against the Reds in Cincy tomorrow night.
The Brewers were given an extra draft pick yesterday, as the result of Major League Baseball’s new “Competitive Balance Lottery.” The selection will come at the end of next year’s second round. The lottery was created as part of the new collective bargaining agreement that took effect this year. It’s designed to help the 10 teams in the smallest markets, and the 10 teams with the lowest revenues. Six teams won an extra draft pick after next year’s first round, and six more will get their picks after the second round. Teams with the worst records in 2011 were given the best chances to get the top spots. The Brewers – who won the National League Central a year ago – were given the fifth pick in the second group.