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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Brewers Salvage Disappointing Series With 4-1 Win



From Sportsline.com:

Tomo Ohka bounced two pitches way in front of the plate -- one landed in the grass, the other in the dirt -- and threw another that registered 58 mph on the ballpark's radar gun.

Everything else was amazingly good.

In a sign that he has fully recovered from shoulder problems, Ohka allowed only three hits in eight innings Sunday, helping the struggling Milwaukee Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 to avoid a three-game sweep.

After two weeks of nothing but bad news, the Brewers needed a little relief. Ohka (3-1) gave it to them, along with a bullpen that has been their undoing.

"I understand what this means to the team," Ohka said.

It meant a lot, and provided a glimmer of hope that things can now get better.

Ohka gave up a pair of singles and Brandon Phillips' homer in the eighth, the deepest he has pitched into any game this season. The right-hander struck out a season-high seven and walked only one, throwing 110 pitches.

"We couldn't get a thing going against him," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "I don't know. I'd like to say he changed speeds -- he threw one up there at 58 mph, threw one off the grass. He did what he had to do to get us out."

Brady Clark singled home a pair of runs off left-hander Eric Milton (6-6), and the Brewers tacked on two in the seventh against recently acquired reliever Gary Majewski -- a comforting cushion for the NL's worst bullpen.

"You want to get the early lead, but you also don't want to stop," Clark said. "You want to add to it. They can get five runs real quick here."

Milwaukee won for only the third time in 12 games, a slide that has dropped the Brewers from 2½ games out in the NL Central to a double-digit deficit. The bullpen has been the biggest problem -- closer Derrick Turnbow lost his job after another meltdown on Friday night that included a couple of four-pitch walks.

Dan Kolb, who will close games for now, pitched the ninth to earn his first save this season. With Turnbow watching from a bullpen bench, Kolb gave up two singles before retiring Scott Hatteberg on a comebacker for the final out.

"Kolb threw strikes -- just what we want our relievers to do to get groundballs," manager Ned Yost said.

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