Bucks announce date, uniforms for “Return to the MECCA” game

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks fell to the Boston Celtics in the 1974 NBA Finals. They’ll get their chance at a do-over when the two teams meet for a throwback game on Oct. 26.

The contest has been dubbed the “Return to the MECCA,” with the game being played at the UW Milwaukee Panther Arena, the original home of the Bucks franchise. Milwaukee will also wear a Nike version of the team’s original uniforms, in rotation from 1968-69 to 1971-72.

Bucks legend Jon McGlocklin announced the upcoming matchup in a press conference Tuesday morning. The Oct. 26 contest will air at 6 p.m. on TNT.

The Bucks recently released their 2017-18 season schedule, though the “Return to the MECCA” date was previously unlisted.

Brewers win 3-2 to hand Dodgers rare series loss

LOS ANGELES — The Milwaukee Brewers accomplished a rare feat Sunday afternoon, handing the Los Angeles Dodgers a 3-2 loss at Dodger Stadium and a series loss for the first time since June 5-7.

Left fielder Hernan Pérez gave the Brewers a solo home run in the third inning to give run support to Jimmy Nelson, who didn’t allow a hit through his first five innings. He finished with 6.2 innings of work, giving up two runs on four hits.

The day before, Milwaukee had beaten Los Angeles 3-0 behind a solid performance from Zach Davies. Nelson says the Dodgers series puts the Brewers back on track after a disappointing series loss last week to San Francisco.

“We proved to ourselves that we’re right there with the best teams,” Nelson said.

Though idle on Monday, the Brewers had climbed back to 2.0 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central standings with 31 games to play.

Sunday’s win was a chance for Milwaukee to show it was still a contender in the division with the season winding down. In the seventh inning, Eric Sogard made a defensive play which spoke to that mindset. With two outs and a runner on first, Yasiel Puig drove a liner up the middle which was stopped with a diving effort from Sogard, who then quickly got up and scorched a throw to Neil Walker for the out.

“It was great to kill that rally,” Sogard said. “He’s a good runner, and so I just tried to get my feet under me as quick as I could and get enough on the throw, and it worked out great.”

Corey Knebel came to the mound for Milwaukee for the final inning, notching his 29th save of the season.

Brewers rally in 7th for 4-3 win over Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — The Milwaukee Brewers used a combination of defense and small ball to produce a seventh-inning rally to top the San Francisco Giants 4-3 Tuesday night at AT&T Park.

Down 3-2 in the seventh, Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw delivered his 81st RBI of the season to put Milwaukee on top for good. It started with a Neil Walker double that put Eric Thames on first base, finished off with a Ryan Braun sacrifice fly. Shaw’s liner resulted in a double and another run across the plate.

“We didn’t do it with a homer tonight. But you string together hits,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That got the job done. You have to string together consecutive at-bats, I think, in this park. Four guys put together good at-bats.”

Milwaukee has hit 184 home runs this season while opponents have totaled 154 long balls against the Crew.

Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson had a respectable outing, but was pulled after 5.0 innings after walking three batters. He allowed three earned runs on seven hits while striking out six.

“I think [Nelson] had good stuff tonight,” Counsell recalled. “There were some times he lost some pitches, kind of gave them some free pitches…It certainly was a night where Jimmy had to battle through things.”

Milwaukee and San Francisco finish off the series Wednesday afternoon at 2:45 p.m. CT.

Davies’ start goes to waste in 2-0 loss to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Starting pitcher Zach Davies allowed zero earned runs, but the Milwaukee Brewers offense stalled in a 2-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants Monday night.

Davies struck out five Giants batters, while scattering six hits. He also went 1-for-2 at the plate, one of just four Brewers hits in the game. As Davies took his seventh loss of the season, opposing starter Chris Stratton took an unconventional approach to victory.

In what ended up being San Francisco’s first home shutout of the season, Stratton only fanned a single Milwaukee batter in the win (Keon Broxton). Only three times did Milwaukee get in scoring position against Stratton, while the Giants hurler extended his scoreless streak to 12.2 innings.

Due to the limited number of scoring opportunities Milwaukee found itself in, mistakes were amplified. Stephen Vogt stood on first base with two outs in the fourth inning, then attempted to head home after Orlando Arcia aggressively ran the basepaths after dumping a ball out to right field. Vogt was thrown out at home, killing a scoring chance for the Brewers and failing to provide offense to back Davies’ work on the mound.

“It was a tough battle tonight,” said Davies. “Those games are going to happen and it’s not always going to be perfect. That was my job to try and keep us as close as possible. Hopefully we could have strung a rally together. Unfortunately we didn’t.”

Milwaukee falls 2½ behind the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central lead while trailing the Arizona Diamondbacks by 3½ games for the final wild card spot.

Bats come alive as Brewers top Rockies 8-4

DENVER — Jesus Aguilar had a pair of home runs in the series finale, giving the Milwaukee Brewers an 8-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies Sunday afternoon.

“It’s all about confidence,” Aguilar said. “Starting the road trip with a series win is a boost of energy for the club and it gives us a lot of confidence. We’re just happy we were able to get it done.”

Aguilar followed up his pinch-hit go-ahead home run on Saturday with two more home runs on Sunday. In total, Milwaukee tallied 12 hits in the game while backing up Chase Anderson, who had just returned from injury to gather the win.

Anderson had just returned from the disabled list after an injury in late June kept him out of the rotation — one of Milwaukee’s more reliable starters to that point in the season. Anderson went 5.0 innings, allowing one earned run on a pair of hits while striking out four.

But after falling in a 6-1 hole heading into the home half of the eighth inning, the Rockies showed why they hadn’t lost a game at Coors Field since June 22nd. Colorado mounted a comeback with Milwaukee looking to close the game out with its late relievers. Former Brewer Mark Reynolds homered in the eighth before driving in Nolan Arenado on a single in the ninth inning. He’d finish the game with three RBI before Milwaukee secured the 8-4 victory with Corey Knebel logging his 26th save.

Milwaukee gained a game in the chase for a Wild Card spot, thanks to the Twins victory over the Diamondbacks. The Brewers remain 2½ games back of the final spot, while 2.0 games back of the Cubs for first place in the National League central.

Aguilar delivers as Brewers top Rockies 6-3

DENVER — After watching an early lead slip away, Jesus Aguilar delivered a three-run homer to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 6-3 win over the Colorado Rockies Saturday night.

An Eric Thames triple, a Ryan Braun sacrifice fly, and a Travis Shaw home run were the only runs Milwaukee had scored until the Aguilar blast, with all three aforementioned runs coming in the third inning. That 3-0 lead disappeared by the seventh inning after Josh Hader allowed RBI singles to Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu.

Hader had come on in the fifth inning to replace Brandon Woodruff, with the goal to pitch him for up to three innings.

“You know, this is how we’ve used Josh [Hader],” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “With what Josh is, this is the best way to deploy him and make him a weapon…This is the way we’re going to use him and we’re going to continue to use him.”

Once Rockies reliever Greg Holland came in to replace Pat Neshek, the opportunities opened up again for Milwaukee. Now with two men on base, the Brewers used Aguilar in a pinch hit role, resulting in the go-ahead three-run shot that would eventually give Milwaukee the win. But Aguilar had to battle through some tough pitches to find something to hit.

“I threw him a few quality pitches at the bottom of the zone that were balls, that he didn’t offer at,” Holland said. “But 3-2 with first base open — I know it’s a tie game, but you can’t throw a hanging slider after he’s already seen five.”

The win, paired with a St. Louis Cardinals loss, puts the Brewers back into second place in the National League Central standings, 2.0 games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs.

Giannis Antetokounmpo to miss Eurobasket tournament with knee injury

CHINA — A knee injury suffered two weeks ago in practice will keep Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo from competing in the upcoming FIBA Eurobasket tournament later this month.

Antetokounmpo was poised to lead the Greek national team in the tournament — something he pleased with Bucks management to allow him to do |but the results of an MRI revealed he will be unable to play.

The NBA’s 2016-17 Most Improved Player announced the news Saturday on his Facebook page, which has since been translated by Eurohoop:

I want everyone to be informed by me that I will not be able to play for the Greek national team in the upcoming Eurobasket. All this time I was pressuring myself to practice. I was trying to fool myself and not feel the pain, hoping that I will be ready for the official games. My will affected my judgement, but in the tests I took here in China with the Bucks personnel, it was time for the truth.

I failed in the tests I was put to and the reason was the pain I felt from the first seconds. I can accept the truth and deal with it in a mature manner. I have to work and improve as much as I can the condition of my knee.

Last summer I had the option to “freeze” the deal for my contract extension. This year I have no choice. I am injured, I feel pain and I must heal.

This is by far the biggest disappointment that I have felt until now in my career. I want to wish the best from the bottom of my heart to my teammates and coaches. The national team is my favorite team and in the future I will prove together with my teammates that we can achieve high goals and make all Greeks happy.

However, for now the present is the priority. I urge the fans to not give bigger proportions to my absense and to concentrate on the players who will fight in the upcoming Eurobasket for a success that has been missing for years. History is written by those who are present and I have with great sorrow to accept and announce that I will be absent.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Though no official diagnosis or timetable was revealed, the fact that Antetokounmpo referred to the injury as “the biggest disappointment…in my career” should leave Bucks fans worried about his health for the upcoming season.

The Eurobasket tourmament begins on Aug. 31 and concludes on Sept. 17.

Garza rocked by long ball in 8-4 loss

DENVER — Home runs have plagued Milwaukee starter Matt Garza in his time with the Brewers and that didn’t change in Friday night’s 8-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

Garza had given up just nine home runs heading into the month of August, undoing that progress by surrendering eight over his last four starts. That includes three given up in Friday’s loss to the Rockies. He allowed eight total runs over 4.1 innings pitched.

“To me, the first four innings I thought [Garza] pitched pretty well,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “There’s a scenario where he’s really given up one run through four innings there, in my opinion. The fifth inning they got some balls up in the air pretty good, but I think he’s still got some good games in him.”

Rockies left fielder (and former Brewer) Gerardo Parra went 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI, including a solo home run off Garza in the fifth inning. Colorado was paced by German Màrquez, who tossed 5.2 innings and allowed four earned runs on seven hits. Like Garza, Màrquez gave up three home runs, though all without runners on base.

The loss drops Milwaukee in to third place in the National League Central standings, 2.0 games behind the leading Chicago Cubs.

Broxton backs Davies in win over Pirates

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers avoided dropping in the National League Central standings by taking down the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday night 3-1 at Miller Park.

Zach Davies collected his 14th win of the year as he tossed 6.2 innings, allowing one run on six hits. Manny Piña backed him up with a pair of RBI, while Keon Broxton added a late-game insurance run with a pinch-hit solo blast in the seventh inning.

“Any run that we can scratch on at the end of the game really helps our team, helps the pitchers,” Broxton said. “It makes it tough on the other team, knowing they have to get an extra run. It’s not just one [run] to tie the game up, so yeah, that was a clutch home run.”

Newcomer Neil Walker continued to impress, making one of the more important defensive plays of the game. With the game tied at 1-1 in the sixth inning, Walker made a sliding stop of an infield grounder, tossing the ball over to first base in time to stop a run from scoring.

Closer Corey Knebel also notched his 23rd save of the year.

Report: Bucks interested in Kyrie Irving, but Giannis “untouchable”

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 20, and could be taking on the former world champions with one of their star players.

A report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski indicates the Bucks have expressed interest in point guard Kyrie Irving, who earlier this summer voiced his preference to be traded from the Cavaliers. That report also indicated that Giannis Antetokounmpo is the only player Milwaukee considers “untouchable” and all other options are on the table.

The problem for Milwaukee is cap space. They have one of the highest payrolls in the NBA with roughly $14.5 million left before the luxury tax kicks in. That likely means the Bucks would need to give up more talent in order to make a trade for Irving, the top overall pick of the 2011 Draft.

This page will be updated as more is reported.