Brewers Should Be Well-Rested

Battered Nationals will visit Miller Park for four games starting Friday after playing a doubleheader in Colorado on Thursday.

Brewers 6, Reds 3

After struggling away from home for several years, the Brewers have become quite the road team. A second consecutive victory over Cincinnati capped a 4-2 trip that began in Atlanta, giving the Brewers an 11-2 record on the road since the All-Star break. Overall, they are 32-28 on the road.

Righty starter Jeff Suppan pitched seven solid innings (seven hits, three runs), leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks collected four hits and catcher Jason Kendall and center fielder Mike Cameron delivered clutch hits for the second consecutive day. The Reds did not score after the third inning, as Suppan settled in before turning it over to relievers Brian Shouse, Eric Gagne and Salomon Torres.

Notes

--First baseman Prince Fielder extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a seventh-inning double. Over that stretch, he is batting .351 (13-for-37) with six home runs and eight RBIs.

--Second baseman Weeks tied his career high with four hits, his highest total of the season.

--Kendall started his 104th game behind the plate, the highest total of any major league catcher. The Brewers played 20 consecutive games coming out of the All-Star break without a day off, and Kendall started all but one of those contests.

--Suppan has won back-to-back starts for the first time this season. In 14 innings in those outings at Atlanta and Cincinnati, Suppan (7-7) allowed just three runs.

--Torres has converted 21 of 23 save opportunities since taking over as closer May 24. He has posted a 2.45 ERA over that span.

Washington Nationals

Inside pitch

Whether Elijah Dukes had needed a stint on the disabled list or not, the Nationals were likely going to need to give their bullpen some help in the next week.

The Nationals had been using six relievers ever since optioning Garrett Mock to Class AAA Columbus (Ohio) on Aug. 1, and manager Manny Acta said Monday that the team would decide in the first two days of its series against the Colorado Rockies whether that arrangement would work. A six-run eighth inning Tuesday night provided the answer, and Mock is expected to be back with the team today.

Washington's next day off isn't until Aug. 18, and the Nationals' pitching situation got slightly more complicated Wednesday night because of a rainout that will force Odalis Perez to come back on short rest. The other option would be to have Mock make a spot start next week, but either way, it appears Washington will need the extra arm.

The right-hander has been called up three other times this season, two of them to make spot starts. He is 0-2 with a 5.27 ERA this year.

Nationals at Rockies

Wednesday's game was postponed after a nearly two-hour rain delay prevented the start of the contest.

The teams were scheduled to play a doubleheader Thursday, with Jason Bergmann facing Jeff Francis in the first game and Odalis Perez facing Ubaldo Jimenez in the second game, scheduled to start 25 minutes after the completion of the opener.

Notes,/b>

--Left fielder Dukes will be placed on the 15-day disabled list and likely miss four to six weeks with a strained right calf, Acta said Wednesday. Dukes hit himself in the leg with a bat during a backswing Saturday. It is the third time this year Dukes has gone on the disabled list with an injury to his right leg.

--Shortstop Cristian Guzman will be back in the Nationals' lineup for the first game Thursday. Guzman, who has made only two defensive replacement appearances since July 25 because of a left thumb injury, will play with a pad on his thumb, but he said he feels good enough to get back in the lineup.

--Shortstop Alberto Gonzalez likely will not be placed on the disabled list after straining one of his left gluteal muscles during Monday's game. Acta said Gonzalez should be able to return to the lineup with a few more days of treatment.

--Third baseman Aaron Boone has been running at about 75 percent of his normal speed with the Nationals' Gulf Coast League affiliate in Viera, Fla. Acta said Boone, who has been out a month with a strained left calf, is feeling better, but he still didn't have a timetable for his return.

--Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (bruised right hand) left the July 31 game. X-rays were negative but he did not play from Aug.1-3. He pinch-hit Monday and started Tuesday.

--First baseman Dmitri Young (low blood sugar) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 12.

By the numbers

$13.5 million--Amount the Nationals are spending on five players who were released in mid-season: Paul Lo Duca, Felipe Lopez, Rob Mackowiak, Johnny Estrada and Ray King.


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