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Published: Friday, 6/15/2007

Brewers hold off Tigers

Milwaukee's Tony Graffanino beats the throw to Detroit's Brandon Inge as he steals third base. ASSOCIATED PRESS Milwaukee's Tony Graffanino beats the throw to Detroit's Brandon Inge as he steals third base. ASSOCIATED PRESS
DUANE BURLESON / AP Enlarge

DETROIT - The Milwaukee Brewers responded to being no-hit by winning their first road series since late April.

Corey Hart hit a homer and Ben Sheets became the second pitcher in team history with 1,000 career strikeouts, helping the Brewers beat the Detroit Tigers 6-5 yesterday.

"We need something to get us going again, and this could be it," J.J. Hardy said.

The NL Central-leading Brewers won two straight for just the third time since starting the season 24-10.

"To beat these guys on the road after being no-hit is going to be a great confidence boost," Hart said.

Sheets (7-3) struck out seven, giving him 1,003 since making his major league debut with the Brewers in 2001.

Sheets gave up three runs, eight hits and three walks over 52/3 innings. Brian Shouse, Chris Spurling and Derrick Turnbow combined to pitch 21/3 innings of scoreless relief.

Omar Infante and Gary Sheffield led off the ninth against Francisco Cordero with singles, and the hot-hitting Magglio Ordonez doubled off the right-center wall, pulling Detroit within two runs and putting two runners in scoring position.

Sean Casey's RBI groundout made it 6-5, before Cordero struck out Craig Monroe and Mike Rabelo for his major league-leading 24th save in 26 chances.

"Our pitching staff did a great job against a special offense," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "The bullpen has been really good all year, and they were great the last two days."

Monroe is going to get at least a day off after tying a major league record with five strikeouts in a nine-inning game.

He knocked over a water cooler after one strikeout and flipped his bat over his head and slammed his helmet after his strikeout ended the seventh with two runners on base.

"I had a bad day," Monroe bristled. "That's it."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he would give Monroe at least today off at Philadelphia and possibly tomorrow too.

"Whatever works," said Monroe, who went 2-for-12 with eight strikeouts in the series.

Chad Durbin (5-3) perhaps hurt his chances of staying in the rotation when Kenny Rogers and Nate Robertson return from the disabled list. Durbin lasted just 32/3 innings, allowed eight hits and seemed fortunate to give up just two runs.

Leyland has insisted repeatedly he doesn't know what changes he'll make when Rogers and Robertson return, probably the end of the month.

"That won't get in my head at all," Durbin said. "If I'm better off in the pen or whatever they see fit, that's what is going to happen."

Detroit's bullpen woes continued when Wilfredo Ledezma replaced Durbin and gave up three runs - one when he dropped the ball and was charged with a balk and another on a wild pitch. Jason Grilli then allowed Hart's solo homer in the eighth to give the Brewers a 6-3 lead.

"The add-on runs killed us," Leyland said. "You won't see the ball get dropped on the mound very often. That's a silly run."

Hart drove in Milwaukee's first run on a single in the second inning. Johnny Estrada and Ryan Braun each had an RBI for the Brewers.

Sheets entered the game needing four strikeouts to reach 1,000, and his third and fourth got him out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth.

He was a strikeout away from getting out of the next inning unscathed, but Sheffield hit an RBI single and Ordonez followed with a two-run single to pull within a run.

Brewers center fielder Bill Hall's diving catch in the seventh inning prevented Ordonez from likely driving in two runs and tying the game.

Despite the loss, Leyland was proud of his team because Placido Polanco and Ivan Rodriguez got the day off and Carlos Guillen was out with an injury.

"You don't get angry when you get efforts like you get today," Leyland said. "You get angry last year, when we were ready to go to Oakland when we were playing Cleveland.

"Without Polly, Pudge and Guillen, these guys were battling their tail off."

NOTES: Monroe joined numerous major leaguers with five strikeouts in a nine-inning game and is the third Tiger to do it, joining Danny Bautista (1995) and Chet Laabs (1938). ... Guillen, out since Sunday with a hamstring injury, hopes to play today. ... Leyland said Rogers will throw about 75 pitches, ideally over five or six innings, in a rehab start tonight for Single-A West Michigan.

DETROIT - Tigers catcher Vance Wilson had season-ending elbow surgery Wednesday and could be sidelined well into next season.

Wilson, who has been on the disabled list the entire season, had Tommy John surgery and is expected to be out for nine months to a year.

Wilson hit .283 as Ivan Rodriguez's backup last year, helping the Tigers earn a postseason bid for the first time since 1987.

He went on the disabled list at the end of spring training, then re-injured the elbow earlier this month while on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo.



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