MILWAUKEE (AP)—Milwaukee manager Ned Yost knew Ben Sheets was ready from the way the pitcher completed his pregame warmup.
“He turned the last couple of balls loose and they had a lot of life to it,” Yost said. “We figured he’d have a pretty good night.”
Tony Graffanino also had two RBIs for Milwaukee, which won for the fourth time in five games to move within 4 1/2 games of Cincinnati in the NL wild-card race.
“If we’re going to make a good run at this we’re going to need Sheets,” Graffanino said. “He threw the ball great again. We’d like to keep him just the way he is, see him go out there every five days and throw just like that.”
Sheets (4-5) struck out seven, and allowed six hits and one run, bouncing back from one of his worst starts of the season. Houston got to him for seven runs and 10 hits in seven innings to beat the Brewers 7-3 last Thursday.
“I pitched more aggressively,” Sheets said. “I’m not a cute pitcher. There’s no way around it. That’s who I am tonight.”
Byung-Hyun Kim (7-9) doubled in a run and pitched five innings for Colorado, which lost its fifth straight game. They have scored only nine runs during the skid.
“We’ve dug ourselves a hole,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “There comes a point in time, we’ve got to come together as a club and say, `enough’s enough.’
“The reality of it is right now, it just doesn’t smell right right now. We get down, we’re not throwing punches back. We’ve got to find a way to rekindle the flame, go out there and play with more passion, more energy and have some fun while we’re doing it.”
Kim (7-9), who hasn’t won on the road since May 28, a span of seven starts, walked four and hit two batters with pitches. He gave up six runs and four hits.
Milwaukee pushed across four runs in the fifth to take a 6-1 lead. After Gabe Gross was intentionally walked to load the bases, Graffanino delivered a two-run single for a 4-1 lead.
Fielder added his second run-scoring single before Laynce Nix was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Jeff Cirillo hit his third homer of the season and first since May 31 in the sixth to make it 7-1.
Colorado got its only run in the fifth. Kazuo Matsui, making his Colorado debut after he was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday, led off with a double and scored on a one-out double by Kim.
“Any game at this stage of the year is important,” Colorado’s Jamey Carroll said. “We’ve got to find a way to find some energy to get out of this thing.”
Milwaukee’s Geoff Jenkins made his second start in right since he was removed from the starting lineup on Aug. 10. … The Brewers have won eight of their last 11 home games. Kim threw a wild pitch in the fifth that struck plate umpire Mike Reilly in the left shoulder. … Kim leads Colorado pitchers with four RBIs. … Graffanino has reached base safely in 23 of his 25 games with Milwaukee. … Todd Helton has hit safely in 24 of his last 29 games for Colorado. … The Rockies extended their player development contract with Casper of the Pioneer League through 2008.