Cincinnati (54-48) at Milwaukee (48-54)

Cloudy Currently: Milwaukee, WI
Temp: 49° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Fri Jul 28, 2006
  • TV: FSOH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Milwaukee Brewers’ run at the postseason won’t include All-Star Carlos Lee.

Hours after dealing Lee to the Texas Rangers, Milwaukee (48-54) looks to shake a frustrating slump when it opens a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds on Friday at Miller Park.

The Brewers acquired reliever Francisco Cordero and outfielders Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix from Texas on Friday in exchange for Lee, who can become a free agent after this season. Lee is hitting .286 with 28 home runs and 81 RBIs this season, his fifth straight with at least 25 homers.

Milwaukee lost the last two games of a three-game home series against Pittsburgh earlier this week and is six games behind Cincinnati (54-48) in the wild-card race. The Brewers are tied with Houston in the wild card standings with five teams ahead of them.

“This series is very crucial,” said Bill Hall, who went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs in Wednesday’s 8-4 loss to the Pirates after homering twice in Monday’s series-opening 12-8 victory.

“You’ve got to beat the teams you’re supposed to beat and we’re not doing that right now.”

Brewers starter Tomo Ohka (3-1, 2.87 ERA) missed more than 2 1/2 months with a rotator cuff tear, but has gone 1-0 with a 2.08 in two starts since returning to the staff. He allowed one run and struck out a season-best seven in a season-high eight innings of Sunday’s 4-1 victory over Cincinnati.

“I didn’t try too hard,” Ohka said. “I tried to keep the ball down, and sometimes I tried to go in and out. It’s never easy, but I tried to just keep the ball down.”

Ohka is 5-2 with a 3.32 ERA in 10 career starts against the Reds. He also faced them on April 20, allowing six runs—four earned—in four innings of Milwaukee’s 12-8 loss without receiving a decision.

Starter Ben Sheets returned to the mound earlier this week after nearly three months on the DL.

“I’m a little surprised he’s come back as strong as he has,” manager Ned Yost said of Ohka. “You don’t look for that. You hope he’ll get back out and get on a roll, but he’s really come back strong.

“With Benny coming back in the same fashion, we should be in pretty good shape.”

Eric Milton (6-6, 5.47 ERA), who will start for Cincinnati in Friday’s opener, was charged with the loss in Sunday’s game, giving up four runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings. He is 3-3 with a 3.94 ERA in seven career starts against the Brewers.

Milton has allowed four runs or more in five of his last seven outings, posting a 7.36 ERA in that span.

The Reds have won nine of 13, including Thursday’s 8-4 victory over the Houston Astros. Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. each homered, and Jerry Narron earned his 100th win as Reds manager.

Dunn went 3-for-3 with four RBIs after tying a career high with four hits on Wednesday. Griffey picked up his 1,591st RBI, tying Andre Dawson for 24th all-time.

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Starting Pitchers

E. Milton LAD vs. T. Ohka Cle
8-8 Record 4-5
5.19 ERA 4.82
90 K 50
42 BB 35
1.34 WHIP 1.37