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Brewers sink below .500

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Associated Press
May 7, 2008
— The Milwaukee Brewers couldn’t spell Burke Badenhop, and they had trouble hitting him, too.

The Florida Marlins rookie pitched 5 2-3 innings Wednesday night for his first major league victory, a 6-2 win over the Brewers, who lost their fifth game in a row.


At the top of Brewers’ pregame notes distributed in the press box, Florida’s starting pitcher was identified as “Bradenhop.”


“No respect. No, I’m kidding,” Badenhop said. “They can call me whatever they want. I need to pitch better to make sure everybody knows how to say the name and spell it.”


He pitched fine in his fifth major-league start, allowing five hits and two runs. He had a season-high seven strikeouts and walked only one.


“It’s nice to finally contribute and give those fist-pounds after a game I pitch,” said Badenhop (1-2).


The right-hander, acquired in the December trade that sent Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera to Detroit, lowered his ERA to 6.31 since being recalled from Double-A Carolina.


“He was terrific,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He had the good sinker working early, got ahead in the count and made those guys swing.”


The Brewers totaled seven hits in the first two games of the series, and they’ve scored eight runs in five games this year against the Marlins. The Brewers’ longest losing streak this season sent their record below .500 for the first time.


“These guys don’t like this, so there is a bit of frustration,” manager Ned Yost said. “I wouldn’t say there is tension, but they’re working very hard to get themselves out of it.”


Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla hit back-to-back homers off Dave Bush (0-4). Hanley Ramirez singled twice, walked twice and scored twice.


Badenhop’s outing was the second consecutive encouraging performance for a Florida rotation that has been shaky this season. Scott Olsen allowed Milwaukee just two hits in 8 2-3 scoreless innings Tuesday.


Badenhop took a shutout into the sixth, but failed to make it through the inning. Rickie Weeks hit a two-run homer to end Milwaukee’s streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings.


Florida center fielder Alfredo Amezaga twice robbed the Brewers. His leaping catch on the run took an extra-base hit away from Corey Hart in the second inning, and he made another long run in the seventh to catch a drive by Weeks before tumbling into the base of the wall.


“My jaw drops to the ground,” Uggla said. “I don’t know how he does it.”


The Marlins’ Mike Jacobs hit a third-inning drive that appeared to strike the railing beyond the outfield wall, but the ball rebounded onto the field, and when the umpires ruled it in play, he settled for a two-run double.


Jacobs pulled into second base limping and came out of the game with a tight left quadriceps. He said he expects to miss no more than a game or two.


The NL East-leading Marlins won their third game in a row and matched their best start through 33 games (19-14).


“We’re just playing good baseball,” Jacobs said. “We’re hitting, we’re pitching well, we’re playing good defense. It all starts with our pitching staff, and I think right now maybe they’re starting to feed off each other and trying to top each other, which is perfect.”


There’s plenty of room on the bandwagon, however. Attendance was only 10,405, and the Marlins have drawn their two smallest home crowds of the season the past two nights.


Badenhop retired the first 11 batters before Ryan Braun singled. Prince Fielder then struck out.


Milwaukee’s Jason Kendall reached on an infield single to start the sixth, and Weeks followed with his fifth homer to cut Florida’s lead to 3-2.


Cantu hit a two-run homer in the sixth, and Uggla hit his eighth homer six pitches later.


Bush gave up six runs in six innings, and his ERA rose to 6.98. Ben Sheets remains the only Milwaukee starter to win since April 5.


“We’re kind of in a little bit of a rut,” Bush said. “The clubhouse is fine, but if we don’t have the success, there’s always a bit of pressure that builds up.”



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