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Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Brewers look to win five straight at home

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MILWAUKEE - It's been a year since the Milwaukee Brewers have won five straight home games. But they can achieve that feat tonight with a victory over Cincinnati at Miller Park.

The Brewers upended the National League Central leaders 6-3 last evening. It gave Cincinnati back-to-back losses for the first time in just over a month - but the Reds have still won 22-of-their-last-27 to take a three-and-a-half game lead over second-place Pittsburgh. The fourth-place Brewers are playing just well enough to lead the fifth-place Chicago Cubs by six-and-a-half. But Milwaukee needs to gain 10-and-a-half games on Saint Louis just to move up one spot to third, where the Cardinals now reside. On paper at least, tonight's Brewer game appears to be a pitcher's duel. Rookie right-hander Mike Fiers has an ERA of under two, while Reds' right-hander Johnny Cueto will try to become the NL's first 15-game winner.


The Green Bay Packers were planning to hold their last public practice this afternoon before Thursday's exhibition opener at San Diego. It's scheduled for 3:30 at Ray Nitschke Field. Last night, coach Mike McCarthy shortened his team's workout due to a large number of injured players. Starting receiver Greg Jennings was among eight Packers listed as out for Thursday's contest. He suffered a concussion last Friday night at the Packers' Family Night scrimmage. McCarthy says it's possible that starting left tackle Marshall Newhouse will play against the Chargers, after he had a concussion last Friday. Linebacker Desmond Bishop has returned from a calf injury - and he had an interception in last night's scrimmage.


Most of Wisconsin's athletes in the London Olympics have completed their competitions. But Milwaukee Bucks' forward Carlos Delfino is still helping his native Argentina go for the gold. Argentina got crushed by the U.S> last night as pool play ended. But both teams made the quarter-finals, and they'll start playing elimination games tomorrow. Team USA faces Australia, while Delfino and the Argentines play Brazil. Delfino is Argentina's third-leading scorer at the London Games so far. He's averaging just over 15 points a game - and the only ones scoring more are also NBA players. Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola are both averaging over 20 points apiece. Delfino is also average just under two-and-a-half rebounds and one-and-a-half assists per game, plus one-point-two steals. He's a starter for Argentina, averaging almost 29 of the 40 minutes per game.


ESPN has announced the tip-off times for the Big Ten-ACC men's basketball challenge. Wisconsin will host Virginia on November 28th, starting at 6 p.m. on ESPN-Two. Twelve games will be televised in the series by ESPN-One-and-Two, plus the ESPN-"U" college sports channel.


The Milwaukee Brewers will try to stop Johnny Cueto from becoming the National League's first 15-game winner tonight. The Cincinnati right-hander will start against the Brewers at Miller Park. Cueto will try to win his sixth consecutive appearance - a streak that includes a home win over Milwaukee on July 22nd in which he struck out a season-high nine batters in seven innings. Cueto is 14-5 with an ERA of just over two-and-a-half. In his last start, Cueto gave up four runs in seven-and-a-third innings against San Diego - but he still got the win in a 9-4 Reds victory. The Brewers are starting rookie right-hander Mike Fiers, who has not allowed more than two runs in any of his last eight starts. He's going for his third straight victory. Fiers is 5-4 with a one-point-eight-eight ERA. He has struck out 54 batters in his last 53 innings. Last week, he fanned six in six frames in a 13-4 Milwaukee home rout of Houston. The Brewers are coming off a 6-3 win over the Reds last night. It dropped Cincy to within three-and-a-half games of second-place Pittsburgh in the NL Central. Milwaukee is entrenched in fourth in the division, 10-and-a-half games behind third-place Saint Louis and 16-and-a-half behind the first-place Reds.


Wisconsin's two teams in the Class-"A" Midwest League will play each other again tonight. The Beloit Snappers will host the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, after the Snappers won 5-3 last night. There's one matinee in the Midwest League. South Bend plays at Lake County this afternoon. Tonight, Clinton plays at Peoria. Burlington hosts Quad Cities. Cedar Rapids is at Kane County. Lansing hosts West Michigan. Dayton plays at Great Lakes. And Fort Wayne entertains Bowling Green. Clinton is opening up a lead in the Western Division by four games over second-place Burlington. Bowling Green tops the East by two over Fort Wayne and Lansing.


The Wisconsin Woodchucks have clinched the second half South Division title in the Northwoods League, despite getting pounded by Wisconsin Rapids 11-1 last night. The 'Chucks from Wausau lead the second-place Madison Mallards by six games with six to play - but Wisconsin won the crown on tie-breakers. Last night's loss ended a six-game winning streak by the Woodchucks, after a pair of seven-game streaks in the second half. That adds up to a 25-and-4 mark for the half - and their 42 overall season wins matches a Woodchucks' record set two years ago. Wisconsin plays at La Crosse tonight, after the Loggers crushed Eau Claire 13-4. Eau Claire hosts Green Bay, which beat Battle Creek 5-2 last night. Madison plays at Lakeshore, after the Mallards edged the Chinooks 2-1 in Madison. Wisconsin Rapids plays at Battle Creek. Willmar hosts Alexandria. Duluth is at Mankato. Saint Cloud is at home against Waterloo. Rochester and Thunder Bay have the night off. Willmar leads the North by a game over Alexandria, one-and-a-half over Saint Cloud, and two over Duluth.


Green Bay Packers' general manager Ted Thompson recently said he was satisfied with the talent on his offensive line. But that was before four tackles, including starter Marshall Newhouse, went down with injuries. If the Packers need it, there are several experienced tackles looking for work. They include Kareem McKenzie, who started every game for the New York Giants last year before they refused to re-sign him in the spring. Also, former San Diego tackle Marcus McNeill is available, along with former Miami guard Vernon Carey and ex-Arizona tackle Brandon Keith. The group ranges in age from 27-to-33. Chad Clifton, who was cut by the Packers in April, has not been picked up. Thompson recently said Clifton was near the end of his career due to a variety of injuries.


UW-Oshkosh has named Liza Ruetten as its new women's golf coach. She replaces Jessie Wilcox, who left in May to become the girls' basketball and assistant golf coach at Rosary High School in Aurora, near Chicago. Ruetten graduated from Oshkosh in 1988, and has played competitive golf for almost four decades. Her titles include the 2007 Northeast Wisconsin Golf Association's amateur title. Ruetten has been a teacher in the Neenah School District for the last 12 years.