Ryan's Place

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Tatupu Signs, Attends Sunday Practice

From Mike Sando:

The newly signed Lofa Tatupu is on the practice field as I write. So he is obviously signed and ready to go.


Brewers Win 7-1

Two of Milwaukee's star players came through Saturday night and helped the Brewers end a pair of losing streaks.

Ben Sheets pitched a six-hitter and Geoff Jenkins hit a tiebreaking three-run double in the sixth inning, leading the Brewers past the San Francisco Giants 7-1.

Sheets (7-7) struck out eight in his ninth career complete game.

"About time," Sheets said of his first complete game since Oct. 2 against St. Louis. "I finally got one. That's a long time. I was just going in hoping I could get someone out."

Pinch-hitter Wes Helms added a three-run homer in the eighth for the Brewers, who snapped a three-game losing streak and won for the first time in 12 home games against the Giants. Milwaukee's last home win against San Francisco was April 15, 2001.

Giants starter Jason Schmidt (7-6) had allowed just one hit through 5 1/3 innings before consecutive singles by Rickie Weeks, Lyle Overbay and Carlos Lee loaded the bases. Jenkins followed with a three-run double into the right-field corner, making it 4-1.

"It obviously was a big hit," Jenkins said. "It was a big time in the game."

Chris Capuano (11-6) will face Noah Lowry (6-10) to close out the series on Sunday.

Vazquez May Stay In Europe for Year

The drafting of Spaniard Fran Vazquez has turned into a significant blunder for the Orlando Magic.

A franchise desperately seeking approval in Central Florida has found itself saddled with another public opinion nightmare.

A mildly unpopular pick last month on draft night became a magnet for stinging criticism last week when Vazquez announced that he wasn't mentally ready for the NBA, preferring to stay in Europe for at least another season.

It stunned the Magic and his own American agent, sending everyone scrambling to Spain this week, all looking for answers.

The effect of Vazquez's absence on the court this season will be minimal -- he might have averaged 15-18 minutes a night -- but his revelation sparked a flurry of biting attacks from passionate local Magic fans, mostly directing venom at management throughe-mails and phone messages.

It came at a time when the Magic believed momentum had started to build for next season's push toward the playoffs -- confident that the hiring of popular Coach Brian Hill, the maturing of former No. 1 pick Dwight Howard and growing chemistry between Steve Francis, Grant Hill and Hedo Turkoglu would lead them back to better times.

Then came Vazquez, a seemingly low-risk, high-reward pick that has backfired, putting a sudden halt to the excitement created earlier this summer by the hiring of Hill and continuing the Magic's recent dance of one step forward and one step back in the eyes of the public.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Wild Select Benoit Pouliot With 4th Pick

The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild selected seven players today in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft at the Westin Ottawa Hotel in Ottawa, Ontario. With the fourth overall pick in the first round, the Wild selected LW Benoit Pouliot pronounced (POOH–lee–OTT) from the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).

“We are very pleased to select Pouliot,” said Assistant General Manager/Player Personnel Tom Thompson. “He is a highly skilled player that has the potential to be a good, solid member of the Wild for many years and is the type of player that will excite our fans.”

Minnesota selected LW Matt Kassian in the second round (57th overall) from the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League (WHL), G Kristofer Westblom in the third round (65th overall) from the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, C Kyle Bailey in the fourth round (110th overall) from the WHL’s Portland Winter Hawks, C Morten Madsen in the fourth round (122nd overall) from Frolunda of the Swedish Junior League, D Anthony Aiello in the fifth round (129th overall) from Thayer Academy and D Riley Emmerson in the seventh round (199th overall) from the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.

In addition, Minnesota acquired C Todd White from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for its fourth round pick (95th overall) in this year’s draft.

Bullpen/Defense Chokes, Brewers Lose 6-7

Carlos Lee's 25th homer on a 3-2 pitch from Rueter started Milwaukee's five-run fourth that ended the team's streak of 22 2/3 innings without a run. Geoff Jenkins doubled and scored on Damian Miller's single. Hall, who had three hits, drove in Miller with a double before two walks and a wild pitch set up Brady Clark's two-run single. Kevin Correia took over and struck out Rickie Weeks to end the inning.

"We definitely put together a nice streak with two outs," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said.

But the bullpen couldn't protect the lead.

Milwaukee reliever Matt Wise (4-3) took the loss after failing to hold a three-run edge.

With the Giants trailing 5-2 in the eighth, Moises Alou walked with one out. Pedro Feliz then hit a two-run homer, his 17th.

"It kind of fell apart from there," Yost said.

After Feliz's homer, Deivi Cruz walked and went to third on Marquis Grissom's single.

Julio Santana took over and struck out Mike Matheny before Durham hit the first pitch to center field. Clark raced back but couldn't hold onto the ball and it rolled to the warning track for a two-run double that made it 6-5.

"Brady Clark made a great effort to catch that ball," Santana said. "It was inches away from winning the game."

Ben Sheets (6-7) will face off against Jason Schmidt (7-5) Saturday night.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Brewers Lose 0-3 for 2nd Straight Time

Milwaukee starter Victor Santos (3-11) took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before Hennessey hit a 2-0 pitch for his first homer in 30 career at-bats.

"I was prepared to never hit a home run in my career in the big-leagues," said Hennessey, who added that he had got two balls to the wall in batting practice at SBC Park in San Francisco. "Now, I can relax. It's like icing on the cake."

Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said the problem was the pitches that preceded the homer.

"The mistake that he made wasn't the 2-0 fastball right down the middle, it was getting to 2-0 on the guy," he said. "You get the situation set up to get to the pitcher.

Doug Davis (9-7) will face Kirk Rueter (2-7) on Friday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Seahawks Sign Greene, Hill, and Willis

From Seahawks.com:

If there is such a thing as momentum when it comes to signing players heading into training camp, the Seattle Seahawks have found it.

On the heels of signing running back Shaun Alexander to the $6.32 million tender and agreeing to terms with sixth round pick Tony Jackson on Tuesday, Seahawks president Tim Ruskell announced Wednesday they had signed Jackson, along with third round picks David Greene and LeRoy Hill, and fourth round selection Ray Willis.

That leaves only their top two picks - Chris Spencer and Lofa Tatupu - unsigned. However, the team remains optimistic for the first official day of camp Friday morning, or at some point over the weekend.

Greene, the left-handed quarterback from Georgia, won more games as a starting quarterback than any other quarterback in NCAA history; and Hill, projected as an outside linebacker, was named the Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year at Clemson. Willis, an offensive tackle from Florida State, was considered a first round talent only to drop due to shoulder surgery that has since healed.

Jackson was a tight end at Iowa, but because of his soft hands, quickness and powerful blocking ability at 264 pounds, the team is projecting him as a fullback.

Sources say it will be into training camp before anything is decided regarding the status of free agent defensive end/linebacker Peter Boulware.

Bottalico out, Helling in

Unable to find a taker on the trade market, the Brewers designated slumping reliever Ricky Bottalico for assignment on Wednesday. The team has 10 days to trade the veteran or place him on release waivers.

To fill the roster spot, the team purchased right-hander Rick Helling's contract from Triple-A Nashville for use in long and middle relief.

"[Helling] had been throwing really well down there in Nashville," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "We're just trying to find ways to get us a little more consistency."

Consistent is exactly what the 35-year-old Bottalico had not been of late. He slipped out of the late-inning setup mix with a 9.00 ERA in nine appearances this month, and opponents were batting .324 against him in July.

Brewers Can't Pull Off Sweep, Lose 0-3

Ohka gave up a run in the third on a wild pitch, and first baseman Lyle Overbay's throwing error made it 2-0 in the seventh. An errant pickoff attempt by reliever Julio Santana allowed Troy Glaus to score in the eighth.

"Defensively, we gave them the three runs that they got," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "We just didn't play very solid defensively. That was the difference in the game."

Ohka, acquired on June 10 for infielder Junior Spivey, gave up two runs -- one earned -- four hits and three walks in seven innings.

"Ohka was great," catcher Chad Moeller said. "You can't ask a starter to do more than what he did. He threw ground balls, got quick outs."

Milwaukee (50-52), which hasn't finished with a winning record since 1992, was trying to reach .500 for the first time since May 28.

"If we get it two days from now, we're not stopping the season, jumping up and down and everybody going home," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "We've got 59 more games to play."

The Brewers outhit the Diamondbacks 8-5. Each of the Brewers were singles.

Victor Santos (3-10) will go up against Brad Hennessey (3-3) as the Brewers open a series against the SF Giants.

Brewers Win 7-2

The Milwaukee Brewers are playing with a new sense of confidence and it's showing in the results.

Geoff Jenkins homered to open the Brewers' six-run seventh inning, and Lyle Overbay also connected in a 7-2 come-from-behind victory over Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

"That's the way the team has been playing lately," J.J. Hardy said. "We kind of have that attitude that we're going to win the ballgame no matter what."

The Brewers (50-51) are one game under .500 for the first time since May 29.

Trailing 2-1 heading into the seventh, the Brewers started the inning with four straight hits and sent 10 batters to the plate. Jenkins led off with his 13th homer off Brandon Webb (8-8), then Russell Branyan singled and Damian Miller doubled to chase Arizona's starter.

Hardy greeted reliever Lance Cormier with an RBI single. Pinch-hitter Chris Magruder followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2. Brady Clark then hit a ground-rule double and Rickie Weeks reached on shortstop Royce Clayton's two-base error that allowed Hardy and Clark to score.

Carlos Lee finished the rally with an RBI single, his NL-leading 84th RBI that gave Milwaukee a 7-2 lead.

The Brewers look to sweep the D'Backs on Wednesday as Tomo Ohka (6-5) faces off against Claudio Vargas (3-5).

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hawks Re-Sign Alexander

From Len Pasquarelli at ESPN:

In a compromise move that provides the Seattle Seahawks the services of their premier runner for one more season, but possibly not beyond the 2005 campaign, star tailback Shaun Alexander on Tuesday evening signed a one-year contract with the club and will report to camp on time later this week.

The one-year deal is for $6.32 million, the same amount Alexander would have received had he signed the one-year qualifying offer for a "franchise" tailback, a concession that the Seahawks have been attempting to gain for months.

But there is a fairly monumental caveat included in the contract: The deal stipulates that the Seahawks cannot designate Alexander a franchise player again at the end of the 2005 season. So unless the two sides reach a deal on an extension, which could be difficult given the acrimony that built up over the spring, Alexander would be an unrestricted free agent next spring and free to leave.

Party Hardy! JJ Gets It Done

Brewers manager Ned Yost stayed with Ben Sheets in the seventh inning, and it turned out to be a good decision.

J.J. Hardy hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh to back Sheets, helping Milwaukee beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 Monday night.

Hardy, in an 0-for-11 slide, connected off Tim Worrell (0-2), making his second appearance since Arizona acquired him from Philadelphia last Thursday. It was just the third homer in 216 at-bats this year for Hardy, his second in six days.

"He left the ball up and I took a good swing," Hardy said. "Just to get Benny a win there, it was good. It was good timing."

Lyle Overbay added an eighth-inning homer against Lance Cormier.

Sheets (6-7) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and three walks. He came in with a no-decision and a loss since beating Atlanta on July 9.

"Any win is huge right now," Sheets said. "We're fighting for .500 and actually, I'd say we're still in a wild-card race here. It's late July and say what you want, seven games out ain't totally out of it."

Chris Capuano (11-6) will face Brandon Webb (8-7) Tuesday night. Webb was scheduled to pitch on Monday, but was forced to sit because of the flu.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Seahawks Sign Jackson

From Seahawks.net:

The Tacoma News Tribune's Mike Sando reports that the Seahawks and sixth-round draft choice TE/FB Tony Jackson have agreed to a contract per his agent. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jackson is expected to be the main man behind FB Mack Strong this season now that the Seahawks have released Chris Davis and allowed Heath Evans to leave via free agency.

Magic Sign Keyon Dooling

The Orlando Magic reached a contract agreement Friday with free-agent point guard Keyon Dooling, giving them more flexibility to use Steve Francis at shooting guard.

Although no contracts can be signed until the NBA and its players finalize a new collective bargaining agreement, league sources confirmed the agreement with Dooling, worth an estimated $10 million over three years.

Dooling played as a reserve last season in Miami, where he averaged 5.2 points and 1.8 assists in 16 minutes per game. In the playoffs, he averaged 7.3 points and 1.7 assists in 17.6 minutes.

The Magic originally drafted Dooling in 2000 from the University of Missouri, but they traded his rights to the Los Angeles Clippers with Corey Maggette and Derek Strong as part of a major salary-cap purge to pursue free agents that summer. With that salary-cap room, they acquired forward Grant Hill and guard Tracy McGrady.

According to sources, Dooling was promised a "good chance to start," something that he didn't receive last season in Miami, where he played behind Heat guards Dwyane Wade and Damon Jones.

Dooling, from Fort Lauderdale, was pursued by several teams and met earlier this week with the New Jersey Nets, who wanted him as a backup guard. The Heat also wanted to re-sign him -- but for considerably less money.

Dunn Puts Brewers Away

Austin Kearns started the Cincinnati Reds off and Adam Dunn sent them home with a win.

Kearns and Dunn, outfielders who were picked back-to-back in the 1998 draft and have been friends and roommates during their professional careers, each homered to provide all of Cincinnati's offense in a 3-2 victory Sunday over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Kearns hit a two-run shot off Doug Davis in the fourth inning to put the Reds ahead 2-1. Dunn led off the ninth by hitting a 2-2 pitch from Julio Santana (2-4) into the right-field bleachers to snap a 2-all tie and give the Reds their ninth win in 13 games.

"It's fun," said Kearns, recalled by the Reds on Wednesday after being optioned to Triple-A Louisville on June 12. "We came up together, and we're as good a friends as you can be. It's nice. It's been a while, but it was nice."

David Weathers (6-1) pitched a scoreless inning for the win as the Brewers wasted a gutty effort by their starter, Doug Davis. The left-hander set a career high with 11 strikeouts, but was left with his fifth no-decision in five starts. He allowed six hits and two runs with one intentional walk in eight innings.

"The only mistake I made was locating a pitch up and away to Kearns," Davis said. "If it's down and away, it's a groundball. I was happy with my performance, but I wasn't happy that we didn't get anything out of it as a team."

Davis is 0-1 in six starts since beating the Cubs 9-5 on June 22.

The Brewers head home Monday to face the Diamondbacks. Ben Sheets (5-7) will face Brandon Wbb (8-7).

Francis Most Likely Staying Put

From Tim Povtak at The Orlando Sentinel:

Several NBA teams have called the Orlando Magic this summer, wondering about the availability of talented but sometimes tempestuous guard Steve Francis.

None have gotten very far.

When Francis attended the Magic's summer-league games in Las Vegas earlier this month, he met with Magic officials to talk about several things, including the trade rumors that continue to circulate around him.

What he learned from that meeting was that he wasn't going anywhere. But it wasn't just the Magic getting the calls from other teams.

"I'd be misleading you if I said, 'I have not received calls from around the league,' people wondering what Steve wanted to do," said Francis' agent, Jeff Fried, who was vacationing in Florida last week. "The interest from other teams was genuine. But Steve likes Orlando. And based on our discussions with the Magic, they like him here."

The upcoming addition of point guard Keyon Dooling led to one rumor that he could be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, possibly for Lamar Odom. There was talk about a trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves. There was talk about him going to the Boston Celtics for Paul Pierce.

In other Magic News:

Magic fans can stop worrying about the availability of first-round draft pick Fran Vazquez from Spain. Shortly after the collective bargaining agreement is finalized, which is expected to happen Thursday, Orlando will finish the contract buyout from his European team.

Some scouts in Europe are beginning to compare him to Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies. By European standards, scouts say he has good explosiveness and agility, which could make him an immediate contributor for the Magic.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Brewers Win 11-7

Lyle Overbay does not know why he is so good in Cincinnati.

Overbay hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and drove in a career-high six runs as the Milwaukee Brewers pounded Brandon Claussen and beat the Cincinnati Reds 11-7 Saturday.

Carlos Lee also homered and drove in three runs to take over the National League lead with 82 RBI, one more than Chicago's Derrek Lee.

Overbay extended his hitting streak to seven games with his second career multihomer game -- both this season in Cincinnati. He is 7-for-11 (.636) with four home runs in his career against Claussen.

"I can't explain it," Overbay said. "I don't know what it is. The Cubs do the same thing to me, but they get me out. I can't explain that, either.

"It's funny. I was sitting in St. Louis thinking about how I was looking forward to coming to Cincinnati."

Friday, July 22, 2005

Red Stomp Brewers 11-6

Griffey had another throwback game, going 2-for-5 and making two impressive plays in center field. The 10-time Gold Glove outfielder ran down Rickie Weeks' liner in the fifth, then doubled up a runner at first.

An inning later, he received a standing ovation after running into the wall to get Geoff Jenkins' fly ball. Griffey also stretched a hit into a double, showing confidence in a hamstring that was torn from the bone a year ago.

"He's definitely one of the best players in the game," interim manager Jerry Narron said. "After what he went through last season, a lot of people didn't think he would play again. It took him a while to get his legs back."

Ramon Ortiz (6-6) was warming up to start the seventh when most of the lights went out. He went back to the mound when the power was restored, finishing a seven-inning stint in which he gave up three runs. Ortiz tied Aaron Harang for most wins in a rotation that has given up the most runs and pitched the fewest innings in the NL.

Jenkins doubled home two runs in the first, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games. It's the longest hitting streak by a Brewer this season.

Griffey singled home a run in the bottom of the inning, moving into a tie with Mantle for 42nd on the career list with 1,509. Griffey leads the Reds with 65 RBI, his best total since 2001, when leg and shoulder injuries started sidetracking his career.

Brewers Split Series with 12-7 Win

The Milwaukee Brewers are looking like a team on the upswing.

Their four-game split with the St. Louis Cardinals was their third straight solid showing against a contender, after taking three of four from Washington and two of three at Atlanta.

Geoff Jenkins had three hits and three RBI to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 14 games and the Brewers capitalized on shoddy defense Thursday in a 12-7 victory.

"Obviously, this is a great squad, the record speaks for itself," Jenkins said of the Cardinals. "We've been playing pretty good baseball ourselves."

The Brewers' 14-hit effort that chased Jason Marquis in the fifth inning featured RBI singles from starter Chris Capuano and reliever Matt Wise, the latter coming on his first career hit. Milwaukee is 5-3 since the All-Star break after collapsing in the second half last year, and improved to 3-7 against the Cardinals.

Albert Pujols had three hits and an RBI for the Cardinals, although his run of homering in three straight games ended. Pujols is batting .462 (18-for-39) against the Brewers with five homers and 14 RBI.

Capuano (11-6) pitched into the sixth in 94-degree heat at game time that rose to 97 and Russell Branyan homered off the right-field scoreboard, a drive estimated at 458 feet. Capuano, who gave up four runs in 5 1-3 innings, beat a patchwork Cardinals lineup minus rested starters Jim Edmonds, Larry Walker and David Eckstein, and with 6-7-8 hitters that had totaled two RBI on the year.

Tomo Ohka (6-4) will go up against Ramon Ortiz (5-6) on Friday as the Brewers head to Cincinnati.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Brewers Lose 2-4

J.J. Hardy homered and Rickie Weeks had two doubles for the Brewers.

Mulder (11-5) faced Milwaukee for the second time in his career and first since a shutout in 2002. He allowed one run and four hits in seven innings, and his sinker produced seven groundball outs for shortstop David Eckstein.

Sheets gave up three runs and five hits in six innings, losing for the first time in seven starts since June 12. He said the 2-0 pitch Pujols homered on was a "meatball."

"He hits home runs off me all the time," Sheets said. "He's got a high average off me, but I don't feel like I do any worse against him than anybody else does."

Larry Walker, a late lineup insertion after he responded to treatment for a stiff neck, struck out three times against Sheets.

Bill Hall's eighth-inning sacrifice fly off Julian Tavarez cut the gap to a run before Jim Edmonds' RBI single off Dana Eveland put the Cardinals ahead 4-2.

The Brewers were undone by a lack of clutch hitting, going 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

"With a hit here or there we could have won the game," manager Ned Yost said. "But you can say that about almost every game."

Chris Capuano (10-6) faces Jason Marquis (9-6) on Thursday.

Seahawks Hire Gilbertson

From Greg Bishop at the Seattle Times:

Gilbertson is best remembered for his two-year stint as coach of the Huskies. He replaced the embattled Rick Neuheisel in 2003 and led the Huskies to a 6-6 season. The Huskies were 1-10 last season.

Gilbertson, a former coach at California and Idaho, won't move far from his local roots. He graduated from Snohomish High School in 1966, went to college at Central Washington and Western Washington and started coaching at UW as a graduate assistant to Don James in 1976.

Gilbertson coached as a Seahawks assistant from 1996 to 1998 under Dennis Erickson.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Brewers Come Back to Win 5-4

Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost made some unusual moves Tuesday night to create a sense of urgency for his team.

He intentionally walked Albert Pujols in the third inning. He played his infield in in the fourth. He even pulled his starting pitcher after four innings.

It all worked as the Brewers rallied from an early four-run deficit for a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bill Hall, who had been batting .200 in July, hit a two-run double in the eighth to give the Brewers the lead.

"We had a tough decision in the fifth," Yost said of lifting starter Doug Davis for a pinch hitter. "I figured, 'Let's go for it,' and see if we can't get back in the game. We had some big performances to do it."

Lyle Overbay homered and Brady Clark had three hits and an RBI for the Brewers, who beat the Cardinals for only the second time in eight meetings and ended St. Louis' five-game winning streak. The Cardinals, who led 4-0 entering the fifth, stranded 10 runners.

Ben Sheets (5-6) will start against Mark Mulder (10-5) on Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Cards Whoop the Brewers

Geoff Jenkins hit a two-run homer for Milwaukee, which had won five of its previous six games. Carlos Lee singled twice and doubled his first three at-bats after entering 0-for-23 against St. Louis this season, and Rickie Weeks hit an upper-deck solo homer to left in the ninth, a drive off Cal Eldred estimated at 460 feet.

But Milwaukee committed two early errors, both by Weeks, that led to two unearned runs that helped the Cardinals pull away.

"I've got to learn to slow down and let the game come to me," Weeks said.

The middle of the Cardinals lineup -- Pujols, Jim Edmonds and Larry Walker -- was 4-for-4 against Victor Santos (2-10) with two walks and two RBI while scoring five runs.

Santos, 0-6 in eight starts since beating Colorado on May 24, gave up six runs -- five earned -- and seven hits in three innings, his shortest outing this year. In his last four starts, none of them longer than five innings, Santos has allowed 16 earned runs in 17 1/3 innings.

Doug Davis (9-7) will face off against Jeff Suppan (9-7) on Tuesday.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

3 Out of 4 Ain't Bad!

Brewers manager Ned Yost had no problems with Tomo Ohka's outing.

Ohka pitched seven strong innings against his former team, leading Milwaukee over the Washington Nationals 5-3 Sunday.

Ohka (6-4) was acquired by Milwaukee for infielder Junior Spivey on June 10, a week after he was fined for turning his back to Frank Robinson when the Nationals' manager went to the mound to pull the right-hander. On Sunday, Robinson declined to comment on Ohka.

But Yost had only high praise for Ohka, who picked up his first win since he defeated Tampa Bay in his Milwaukee debut on June 14 -- a span of five starts.

"He was very sharp," Yost said. "He kept his fastball down and moved it in and out. He had real good command of all his pitches. His cutter was outstanding and his changeup and splitter were very good. He kept them way off balance. He pitched a great ballgame."

Ohka allowed four hits and three runs, struck out six and did not walk a batter in his first start since July 6. It was just his second career victory in 13 starts in July.

Derrick Turnbow pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save in 21 opportunities.

The Brewers will open a 4-game series in St. Louis Monday versus the Cardinals. The starters will be Victor Santos (2-9) and Matt Morris (10-2).

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Brewers Lose 3-5

Brewers manager Ned Yost said he liked the Bottalico-Guillen matchup.

"He just made a pitch that he didn't want to make," Yost said. "He just threw a pitch that caught too much of the plate."

Jose Vidro homered and Vinny Castilla added two run-scoring doubles for the Nationals.

Esteban Loaiza (6-5) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings. Gary Majewski and Mike Stanton each pitched a scoreless inning before Chad Cordero pitched the ninth to earn his major league-leading 32nd save.

Bottalico (2-2) took the loss as the Brewers had their four-game winning streak snapped. Starter Chris Capuano gave up three runs, including's Vidro's homer, in six innings.

"I thought I had good enough stuff to win," Capuano said. "I was happy with the way I pitched with the exception of the 0-2 fastball right down the middle I threw to Vidro."

Friday, July 15, 2005

Brewers Win in 10th, 4-3

Frank Robinson could have stomached a walkoff homer. But a balkoff call? No way.

Mike Stanton balked home the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning Friday night, giving the Milwaukee Brewers a 4-3 victory over the slumping Washington Nationals before a rare sellout crowd at Miller Park.

"This is compared to a referee in the NBA with one-tenth of a second on the clock and he calls a touch foul and sends the guy to the free-throw line to win a ballgame," Robinson said. "They don't do it. This one shouldn't have ended up like that."

In his first appearance for the Nationals, who signed him Wednesday after he was waived by the New York Yankees, Stanton tried to pick off Rickie Weeks from first base before he even threw a pitch.

Weeks said he saw Stanton step toward home plate as he threw over to first and that's why he took a couple of steps off the bag himself.

"I was hoping the umpire saw it," Weeks said.

First base umpire Paul Schrieber ruled exactly that, allowing Chris Magruder to score from third.

Seahawks Sign Wortham

From Seahawks.com:

The Seattle Seahawks have signed seventh-round draft choice (235th overall) LB Cornelius Wortham to a multi-year contract, the team announced Thursday.

Wortham, from the University of Alabama, was the first-of-two choices in the seventh round and one-of-three linebackers drafted by the Seahawks. Wortham was an All-Conference selection who led the Crimson Tide in tackles as a senior, posting 86/3/1.

He becomes the third Seahawks draft choice to sign a contract, joining fifth-round choice DE Jeb Huckeba and seventh-round choice G Doug Nienhuis.

Brewers Start off 2nd Half Right, Win 4-2

Damian Miller's timing is impeccable.

On a day dedicated to fans from his hometown of La Crosse, Wisc., Miller capped his three-RBI performance with a two-run double in the eighth inning that gave Milwaukee a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals on Thursday.

"Yeah, that's always nice to get a big hit with 40 busloads of fellow cheeseheads from western Wisconsin on hand," Miller said. "I tried to give them some props when I was standing on second."

Miller's big hit off Gary Majewski came one inning after he was caught trying to score from third on a comebacker to the mound off the bat of Rickie Weeks.

After Russell Branyan drew an intentional walk to set up the double play in the eighth, Miller sent a full-count pitch to the gap in left center to break a 2-2 tie.

"He left the ball up in the zone where I could get some air under it," Miller said. "I didn't hit it all that great. He's got pretty good stuff."

On Friday, Ben Sheets (5-6) will face Livan Hernandez (12-3).

Boulware Impressive in Workout

From Mike Sando at The News Tribune:

The Seahawks declined to discuss what they saw other than to confirm that pro personnel director Will Lewis attended the workout.

League sources said Boulware probably helped himself by moving well and showing quickness. But teams still do not know whether Boulware can remain healthy, let alone return to the Pro Bowl form he showed before suffering an injury in December 2003.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


The NHL and the players association reached an agreement in principle Wednesday on a six-year labor deal, ending a lockout that wiped out last season.

The sides met for 24 hours starting Tuesday afternoon to hammer out the collective bargaining agreement that will return the NHL to the ice on time in the fall. In February, commissioner Gary Bettman canceled the season, making the NHL the first North American sports league to lose a year because of a labor dispute.

"It's a new day," Philadelphia Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock told the Associated Press. "It's pretty exciting."

Both sides still need to ratify the deal, a pact that is expected to contain a salary cap -- something players association executive director Bob Goodenow never wanted. That process is expected to be completed next week, the league and the union said in a joint news release.

Market Predicts the NFL II

It seems like I am seeing more forecasts these days than I can count. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I decided to make my own unique forecast. This has nothing to do with football knowledge or win/loss records. I decided to find the closest ticker symbol for each team and am using the annual yield (current as of when I wrote this) to determine who will win the Super Bowl. This is all in fun and fictional for the most part. I will tell you what I think occasionally (oh no!), but I want this to be more of a fun forecast of how the NFL season will play out. I hope you enjoy my version of Market NFL II.


AFC East
1. Miami Dolphins: Symbol – MIAIX (MFS Inflation Adjusted Bond Fund); Yield – 4.59%
2. Buffalo Bills: Symbol – BUFHX (Buffalo High Yield Fund); Yield – 3.95%
3. New York Jets: Symbol – JNYIX (JP Morgan NY Tax Free Bond Inst); Yield – 3.38%
4. New England Patriots: Symbol – PATMX (Pioneer Research Fund Class A); Yield – 0.81%

A total flip-flop from last year. Nick Saban will have Coach of the Year consideration for this turnaround, while Pats fans wait for the baseball season to roll around. I could see the Bills taking second (or even first) thanks to their defense and Willis McGahee.

AFC North
1. Cincinnati Bengals: Symbol – CIN (Cinergy Corp); Yield – 4.32%
2. Cleveland Browns: Symbol – CLE (Claire's Stores Inc); Yield – 1.56%
3. Baltimore Ravens: Symbol – BA (Boeing); Yield – 1.41%
4. Pittsburgh Steelers: Symbol – PITSX (Principal Investors FD Intern); Yield – 0.88%

It looks like the NFL will be much different this year. The Steelers, who owned the best record last year (and won the Super Bowl in Market NFL I) drop to last place in the division. Not only do the Bengals win the division, but the Browns take second! Good Ol’ Romeo takes care of business without “Butch’s 1st Round Busts” or “The Chosen One”.

AFC South
1. Indianapolis Colts: Symbol – IND (ING GROEP PERP DEBT); Yield – 6.76%
2. Houston Texans: Symbol – NTX (Nuveen TX Quality FD); Yield – 6.60%
3. Tennessee Titans: Symbol – TENAX (Touchstone Large Cap Core Equity); Yield – 1.11%
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Symbol – JAGIX (Janus Growth & Income); Yield - .53%

Surprise, surprise! Finally, a team that finished first in their division last year does it again! It looks like this will finally be the year for Texans fans as Houston is gearing up for the Wild Card race. Sorry Tennessee and Jacksonville….there’s always next year.

AFC West
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Symbol – KCC (STR PD 8.2 PROV TR 1); Yield – 8.14%
2. San Diego Chargers: Symbol – SDCSX (Scudder CA Tax Free Inc); Yield – 4.67%
3. Oakland Raiders: Symbol – OAKF (Oak Hill Financial Inc); Yield – 2.32%
4. Denver Broncos: Symbol – DENVX (MassMutual Premier Enhanced IND); Yield – 1.58%

The Chiefs are back after a dismal outing last year. With their High Powered Offense and improved D, who wouldn’t figure the Chiefs would be back? Randy Moss and Co. help the Raiders out of the basement while Jake snakes his way (bad pun intended) into the bottom of the AFC West. It looks like the Chargers will be in the Wild Card race after surprising everyone last year.

Division Winners
Miami Dolphins
Cincinnati Bengals
Indianapolis Colts
Kansas City Chiefs

Wild Cards
Houston Texans
San Diego Chargers
AFC Championship Game
Kansas City Chiefs over Indianapolis Colts

The Wild Card race was very close with the Chargers edging out the Bills for the final spot. However, the Chiefs steal the show! Not only do they make a huge comeback and clinch the division crown, but they keep going until they reach the Super Bowl. Whether Kansas City can take the NFL Championship is a different story. Let’s see how the NFC plays out before Chiefs fans get too excited.


NFC East
1. New York Giants: Symbol – GNYMX (General NY Municipal Bond); Yield – 3.94%
2. Washington Redskins: Symbol – WASH (Washington Trust Bankcorp Inc); Yield – 2.53%
3. Dallas Cowboys: Symbol – CB (Chubb Corp); Yield – 2.39%
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Symbol – PHI (Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co); Yield – 2.21%

Here we go again in the “First to Worst” category. Eli Manning steps it up in his second year to lift the Giants to a Division Title. Washington, Dallas, and Philly are all very close together, but Gibbs finds a way to edge his rivals out for second place.

NFC North
1. Detroit Lions: Symbol – DETIX (Delaware Delchester Instl); Yield – 8.29%
2. Chicago Bears: Symbol – CHICX (Credit Suisse High Income C); Yield – 7.82%
3. Minnesota Vikings: Symbol – MIN (MFS Intermediate Income Trust); Yield – 6.05%
4. Green Bay Packers: Symbol – GBP (Gables Residential Trust); Yield – 5.56%

WOW!!! This is by far the best division in the NFL. Any one of these teams would be in division contention if they weren’t in the North. The Lions unseat the Bears as last year’s Market NFL NFC North Champs, while the Packers sit on the bottom of this powerhouse division.

NFC South
1. Carolina Panthers: Symbol – CARS (Capital Automotive REIT); Yield – 4.45%
2. New Orleans Saints: Symbol – SAINX (STI Classic Strategic Income A); Yield – 4.20%
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Symbol – BUCCX (AllianceBernstein Muni Inc Ins CA); Yield – 3.45%
4. Atlanta Falcons: Symbol – ATLVX (ABM AMRO/TAMRO Large Cap); Yield – 0.69%

The Panthers are back on top after a disappointing 2004 season. The Falcons follow just about every other 2004 division winner by ending up last. Team trip to Mexico!!
NFC West
1. San Francisco 49ers: Symbol – SFF (Santa Fe Energy Trust); Yield – 9.08%
2. St. Louis Rams: Symbol – STL (Sterling Bancorp); Yield – 3.91%
3. Seattle Seahawks: Symbol – SEH (Spartech Corp); Yield – 2.47%
4. Arizona Cardinals: Symbol – AZ (Allianz Aktiengesell); Yield – 1.93%

The bottom feeder goes to 1st place in one year….what else is new. The Seahawks have a better attitude this year, but it looks like the results won’t be shown until a year or two down the line. The Rams finish in seconds again. Guess What??? The Cardinals were all hype! What a surprise. By the way, Mike Nolan officially whoops Nick Saban for Coach of the Year.
Division Winners
New York Giants
Detriot Lions
Carolina Panthers
San Francisco 49ers

Wild Cards
Chicago Bears
Minnesota Vikings
The AFC looked halfway realistic with some of 2004’s playoff teams entering making it. The NFC, however, is never normal. The only team welcomed back to the playoffs is the Vikings.
NFC Championship Game
San Francisco 49ers over Detroit Lions
Super Bowl
San Francisco 49ers over Kansas City Chiefs in a game that comes down to the wire

Super Bowl MVP
Mike Singletary, who made a game saving tackle after the Napkin Bandit (Ray Rhodes)sabotaged his playbook.

Seahawks to See Boulware on Thursday

From Mike Sando at The News Tribune:

Free-agent pass rusher Peter Boulware visited the Seattle Seahawks more than a month ago.

This week, the Seahawks will come to him.

The team plans to watch Boulware work out Thursday. The session is designed to allay injury concerns that have left the former Pro Bowl linebacker unemployed since May.

Boulware is set to work out in Tallahassee, Fla., where he attended Florida State University. The Seahawks plan to attend, although president Tim Ruskell was not expected to make the trip.

Boulware has not played since suffering a knee injury during a Dec. 21, 2003 game between his Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns. A toe injury has also slowed him.

Players regularly return from serious knee operations, but Boulware faces a more difficult comeback than most. The “microfracture” procedure he underwent in January 2004 can require a year or 18 months of recovery time, with no guarantees.

Carlos Lee Gets RBI in All-Star Game

Brewers outfielder Carlos Lee put up some impressive offensive numbers when he was with the White Sox from 1999-2004. But he never made it to the All-Star Game because the White Sox had such talented players as Magglio Ordonez and Frank Thomas on the roster.

This year, however, there is no ignoring Lee, who has carried the Brewers with his big bat. During the first half, Lee hit .268 with 22 home runs and 76 RBIs and was invited to make his first All-Star appearance.

"I'm really excited for Carlos. He definitely deserves it," said Brewers manager Ned Yost, who was one of the coaches for the National League. "This is his first chance to come to an All-Star Game. He has been a force in our lineup. What I like most about him is his ability to hit. He is a great, smart hitter. He never panics. He longs to have runners in scoring position."

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Lee Finishes 3rd in Home Run Derby

In any other year, Carlos Lee's 11 homers in round one of the Century 21 Home Run Derby would have been enough to draw oohs and ahs from his teammates and the crowd.

But not this time. Lee batted two slots behind Bobby Abreu, who slugged a record-breaking 24 homers in the first round of the Derby on Monday at Comerica Park, turning every else's at-bats into a mere sideshow.

Lee, the Milwaukee outfielder who represented his native Panama in the first Home Run Derby to carry a multi-cultural twist, had a fine performance at the plate in front of a packed house of 41,004. He stayed in through the second round before he was eliminated by finalists Abreu and Pudge Rodriguez.

Lee gushed about Abreu's 41 overall homers, poking fun at himself as he recalled his National League teammates trying to make him feel better about his own first-round performance.

"The guys said, 'You hit 11,'" Lee said. "'That's a big number.' I went, 'A big number? He hit 15 more than me!'"

Lee's teammates then reminded him that prior to Abreu's outburst, the previous first-round record was 15. So, Lee was only four off the mark.

"I was like, 'Yea, but he got 24,'" Lee laughed. "It was amazing. He put on a show out there. Everything he was hitting was going out of the park."




Monday, July 11, 2005

Brewers Beat Braves, All-Star Break Ahead

Chris Capuano benefited from some timely offense by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Capuano earned his career-high fifth consecutive win and the Brewers rallied to beat the Atlanta Braves 8-4 Sunday.

Geoff Jenkins homered and drove in three runs, and NL leader Carlos Lee had two more RBI for the Brewers.

Capuano (10-6) left with a 5-4 lead after the Brewers rallied for three runs in the fifth. He gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out six.

If Milwaukee hadn't taken the lead, manager Ned Yost planned to remove Capuano before the bottom of the inning.

"I was really laboring in the fourth. If we didn't come back and get the lead, Ned said he was going to take me out," Capuano said. "When we got the lead, he told me if I got in trouble when I went out there in the fifth, he'd yank me.

"I have to thank him for giving me a chance to go back out there and get the win."

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Brewers Hold Off Braves in the Rain

Ben Sheets did not have his strikeout pitch working. What he had was still plenty good.

Sheets pitched seven strong innings and Brady Clark drove in three runs as the Milwaukee Brewers beat Atlanta 9-6 Saturday night, snapping the Braves' season-high six-game winning streak.

Sheets (5-6), who struck out a franchise-record 18 Braves last season in a 4-1 win, had only four strikeouts, but was nearly as effective.

"He had his killer breaking ball that day. Tonight it was only good," Brewers manager Ned Yost said.

The right-hander gave up three hits and two runs in the first, then held the Braves scoreless over the next six innings. He allowed eight hits and walked one in helping the Brewers end a three-game skid.

"My breaking ball hasn't been that good (this season)," Sheets said. "When I get that pitch going, I'll get more strikeouts. I feel it coming."

Sheets lowered his ERA to 3.41.

Chris Capuano (9-6) will close out the series on Sunday versus Roman Colon (1-4).

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Brewers Lose to Braves 1-2

Lyle Overbay hit his 11th homer for Milwaukee, which has lost three straight after winning five of six.

Brewers starter Doug Davis allowed five hits, two walks and struck out four in eight innings. The left-hander was 0-2 with an 8.36 ERA in his last three starts away from Miller Park.

A victory would have given Davis 10 wins entering the All-Star break.

"That was something I really wanted," Davis said. "Kind of feels like deja vu from last year. They weren't biting tonight on my high pitches. They're a disciplined team."

Andruw Jones made it 1-0 with an RBI double in the fourth. Despite shattering his bat, Jones drove the ball to the left-field wall for his 66th RBI.

The six-time Gold Glove winner threw out Geoff Jenkins as he tried to score from second on Bill Hall's fourth-inning single. Brewers third-base coach Rich Donnelly regretted sending Jenkins after Jones' one-hop throw to catcher Estrada easily beat the runner.

"I made a bad mistake," Donnelly said. "As soon as I waved him, I knew he was going to be out."

Ben Sheets (4-6) faces Kyle Davies (4-2) Saturday.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Seahawks Sign OL Matt Miller

From Seahawks.net:

Mike Sando of the Tacoma News-Tribune reports that the Seahawks have signed free-agent tackle Matt Miller. Miller, according to NFLPlayers.com, won Little All-America honors from The NFL Draft Report as a senior at Louisiana. Miller had spent a bit of time with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Baseball....What's Baseball?

HOLY CRAP! I think the Brewers forgot how to play baseball. The last two games they can't hit and have had countless errors. The All-Star Break can't come sooner.

From Sportsline:

Following the rain delay, Bottalico came on to complete an intentional walk to Alex Gonzalez, loading the bases. One out later, Delgado hit his grand slam.

Overbay took responsibility for the loss.

"I thought the ball was going to take a long hop, but it took a short one instead," Overbay said. "Still, it's unacceptable. Either way, you have to make that play."

Russell Branyan and Rickie Weeks each hit home runs for the Brewers, who lost for the third time in eight games.

Bottalico relieved Santos and got Paul Lo Duca on a lineout for the second out, but hung a changeup that Delgado smashed over the wall in right.

"He's a home run hitter, and he caught one of my pitches," Bottalico said. "That's what good hitters do."

Bottalico hasn't been sharp lately, allowing five runs in his last three outings.

"It seems like everything I throw up there lately is getting hit," he said. "I'm pretty disgusted with the last two weeks. It's been really bad, and I can't seem to get in a groove."

The Brewers won the first two games of the series, but then squandered a 4-1 lead and wound up losing in 12 innings on Wednesday. Things didn't get better on Thursday.

"This was an ugly game all the way around," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "We made some mistakes that cost Victor some runs. We're playing some sloppy defense right now."

The Brewers will face the Atlanta Braves on Friday as Doug Davis (9-7) squares off against Jorge Sosa (4-1).

Brewers Lose in Extra Innings

Milwaukee failed to put a runner on base -- with only three balls being hit to the outfield -- over the final 9 1/3 innings. J.J. Hardy, who had a two-out, run-scoring single in the third, was the Brewers' final baserunner.

"To go 12 innings, and for us not get a hit past the third inning ... it's kind of unbelievable," Brewers manager Ned Yost said.

"It shows that they were throwing good pitches to everybody, and we didn't make any adjustments," Milwaukee's Bill Hall said.

Burnett struck out every Brewer in the starting lineup at least once.

"I knew we had a lot of strikeouts, but I just wanted to win the game," Burnett said. "This was a big win."
Victor Santos (2-8) will face Brian Moehler (3-6) on Thursday in the last game of the series.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Brewers Hold Off Marlins 6-4

Chris Capuano (9-6) pitched into the eighth to win his fourth straight start.

"Sixteen hits tonight. Everybody contributed," said Branyan, who hadn't played since June 1 because of a broken finger. "Capuano threw one heck of a game."

Capuano allowed three runs in the eighth and Derrick Turnbow worked the ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances.

"We're starting to swing the bats a little bit and our pitching has been good," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "Cappy pitched another great game."

Juan Encarnacion hit a two-run double to highlight Florida's eighth inning. Mike Lowell had three hits and scored a run for the Marlins, who fell a season-high eight games behind Washington in the NL East.

"They hit us, so what can you do?" Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "Yeah, you don't like it. But that's why you have a 162-game schedule, so you can try to even it up."

Nine of the first 16 Milwaukee batters had hits, and four Brewers -- Damian Miller, Lyle Overbay, Jenkins and Branyan -- each collected two by the end of the fourth inning, as Milwaukee built a 4-0 lead. Miller had two run-scoring singles, one in the second and another in the third, and Capuano settled in nicely.

"I had pretty good command of my pitches," Capuano said, "but you can't do it without guys making great plays."

Tomo Ohka (5-4) will face off against A.J. Burnett (5-5) on Thursday night.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Alexander Won't Sign Tender

From José Miguel Romero at the Seattle Times:

Alexander said signing the team's $6.32 million franchise tender is "out of the question." When asked if it will come down to not playing without a long-term deal, he replied, "Pretty much, yeah."

"I'm pretty strong about my principles," the Seahawks Pro Bowl running back said yesterday at the Adonai Hood Classic basketball tournament at Seattle's Garfield High School. "We're all under the same understanding. It's not like a bitter thing. I've told them that I love playing for Seattle. To me, it's not about money, it's just about a principle."

Brewers Win in 9th, 3-2

For the first time in three weeks, Ben Sheets gave his manager plenty of reasons to let him pitch deep into the game.

Sheets struck out 10 in his first win in six starts, and the Milwaukee Brewers scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning on catcher Paul Lo Duca's error on a play at the plate in a 3-2 victory over the Florida Marlins on Monday night.

"That was outstanding. Benny's getting back to top-notch form," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He was throwing strikes with good stuff and that's why we left him out there as long as we did."

Sheets even played an important role in the ninth inning rally as Milwaukee won their fourth in five and eighth in 12 games.

With the score tied 2-all, Milwaukee's Chad Moeller led off the ninth with a single off Todd Jones (1-3) that glanced off shortstop Alex Gonzalez's glove. Pinch-runner Trent Durrington stole second and advanced to third on Sheets' sacrifice. Brady Clark hit a grounder to Gonzalez, who threw home with plenty of time to get Durrington. But Lo Duca couldn't hold the ball when he applied the tag and the Brewers went ahead 3-2.

Carlos Lee in All-Star Game

From Adam McCalvy at MLB.com:

Carlos Lee has always been a serious run producer, but he'd never been an All-Star.

"I had a chance, twice," said Lee, who was a productive hitter for the White Sox in each of the last five seasons. "But it didn't happen. That's OK, I just kept trying."

The effort paid off Sunday.

Lee, the Brewers' left fielder and the current Major League RBI leader, was voted by his peers as a reserve for the National League squad and is headed to the 76th All-Star Game. It's the first time since 2001 that the Brewers have only one All-Star player, but manager Ned Yost will also be in attendance as a member of NL manager Tony LaRussa's coaching staff.

Lee will also be in the Home Run Derby.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Brewers Lose 10-11, Fail to Sweep Pirates

Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon called it "a wacky game." The Pirates will take any victory they can get these days.

Matt Lawton had four singles and snapped an eighth-inning tie by scoring on a wild pitch as the Pirates rallied from a six-run deficit to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 11-10 Sunday.

Pittsburgh was leading 2-0 in the third when the game was delayed for about 10 minutes while both managers met with umpires. The Pirates then played the game under protest.

McClendon contended that Milwaukee starter Doug Davis was stopping twice during his delivery.

"My contention is it was an illegal windup," McClendon said.

Brewers manager Ned Yost said Davis wasn't doing anything different than he has previously.

"He wasn't deceiving any runners," Yost said.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Weeks Hit Game Winner

Rickie Weeks came through in the clutch for the second straight game.

The Brewers' promising rookie hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning Saturday night to snap a tie and send Milwaukee to a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Less than 24 hours earlier, Weeks, the Brewers top draft pick in 2003, hit a three-run home run in the seventh with the game tied at 4 and Milwaukee went on to beat Pittsburgh 8-4.

Weeks said he likes pressure situations.

"When pressure situations come up, you have got to have fun," he said. "That's what you dream about your whole life. It's coming true for me right now, but you want to keep it going."

On Saturday, Weeks ruined a sparkling major-league debut for another 22-year-old: Pittsburgh left-hander Zach Duke, who gave up three runs on five hits while striking out nine in seven innings.

Salomon Torres (2-4) relieved Duke in the eighth with the game tied 3-3. Lyle Overbay singled leading off the inning and Brady Clark sacrificed him to second.

Weeks followed with a 419-foot drive into the left-field bleachers and just inside the foul pole.

He gave a curtain call after the third homer of his young career.

Weeks has hit in 15 of 20 games since being called up on June 10. He is hitting .375 with runners in scoring position.

"That is serious power right there, quick bat," Clark said. "He has got a ton of potential, and we're seeing that."

Pittsburgh built a 3-0 lead on single runs in the first three innings, getting RBI hits from Jason Bay, Matt Lawton and Jose Castillo.

Milwaukee's Bill Hall atoned for an error that led to one of the runs with a two-run home run in the fourth that made it 3-2. Hall's 13th home run was the second hit allowed by Duke.

The Brewers tied it at three in the fifth on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Trent Durrington.

Brewers starter Victor Santos gave up three runs, two earned, in five innings. The bullpen took over from there, with four pitchers combining to keep Pittsburgh off the board.

Derrick Turnbow pitched the ninth for his 15th save. Ricky Bottalico (2-1) pitched a perfect eighth for the win.

The Brewers bullpen has thrown 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings against Pittsburgh this season.

Brewers Win 8-4

Carlos Lee left the game early with an injury, so the Milwaukee Brewers were forced to get their offense from other sources.

Rickie Weeks, the club's promising first pick in the 2003 draft, did his part when he hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh to give the Brewers a come-from-behind 8-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

Lee, whose 72 RBI leads the majors and is almost twice as much as the next best Milwaukee player, departed in the second inning with a left knee contusion.

He was injured skidding to a stop chasing a foul ball near the left-field foul line and appeared to bang his knee against the wall in the first inning.

Lee remained in the game and walked and scored in the bottom of the first. He was replaced by Chris Magruder to start the second inning with the Brewers ahead 3-1.

Brewers manager Ned Yost said that taking Lee out was simply the smart thing to do.

"When he got up and walked and then had to run around the bases on (Damian) Miller's double, it was just real sore running around the bases," Yost said. "We wanted to get him out of there, get it iced, get it taken care of.

In the seventh, Geoff Jenkins walked, advanced on a balk, and took third on J.J. Hardy's bunt single and then scored on pinch-hitter Trent Durrington's single. Rick White relieved Redman and got one out before Weeks hit his second home run since being called up on June 10.

"That was the back-breaker," the Pirates' Matt Lawton said. "It pretty much put it out of reach."

McClendon said the balk, Redman's second of the season, really hurt.

"After the balk call, things just fell apart," McClendon said.

Redman went six innings, allowing six runs on six hits. He walked five and struck out three in his third straight loss.

He was 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in two previous starts against Milwaukee, including a 2-0 victory on May 15 at Pittsburgh.

Prince Fielder, Milwaukee's other prized prospect along with Weeks, had an RBI single in the eighth to make it 8-4.

The Pirates chased Milwaukee starter Tomo Ohka with three runs on five hits in the sixth.