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Brewers rip Rockies behind Sheets, gain playoff ground

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."

Sheets threw seven sharp innings and Prince Fielder drove in two
runs to lead the Milwaukee Brewers over the Colorado Rockies 7-1
Wednesday night.

Tony Graffanino also had two RBI for Milwaukee, which won for
the fourth time in five games to move within 4½ 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."

Game notes
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 RBI. ...
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.