Packers believe hits on Randall, Dupre were illegal

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers cornerback Damarious Randall and receiver Malachi Dupre left Thursday night’s preseason game against the Eagles after being aggressively tackled. And now coach Mike McCarthy is challenging the legality of those hits.

During a running play in the first quarter, Randall was hit in the side of the head on a crack block by Eagles receiver Bryce Treggs. That hit did not result in a penalty for Treggs, but Randall was ruled out for the rest of the game with a concussion.

A more serious injury was endured by Dupre, the seventh-round draft pick out of LSU. During the fourth quarter, he was leveled by a hit from Tre Sullivan that resulted in Dupre being carted off the field on a stretcher. He posted his status from a hospital later that night.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy believes those hits were illegal, telling reporters Friday afternoon that tape of the plays have been submitted to the NFL to review their legality.

“Obviously, player safety is at the forefront of that,” McCarthy began. “…and when you see things like those two hits last night, they’re definitely of concern in the area of player safety.”

“If I turned them into the league, I don’t think they’re legal hits.”

The NFL could determine Dupre was a defenseless receiver on the play, a penalty that carries a minimum fine of $24,309 if the league finds Sullivan at fault. It’s uncertain how long it will take before the Packers hear back on the result of the review.

Brewers end Phillies series with 6-3 loss

PHILADELPHIA — The Milwaukee Brewers were unable to keep momentum from a win the night before, falling 6-3 in the series finale to the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday afternoon.

The Brewers had just ended a season-long six-game losing streak, but came out flat in Sunday’s loss. Junior Guerra tossed four innings, allowing five earned runs on five hits while walking three batters.

“The most important thing is keeping a strong mindset,” said Guerra through his translator. “When things are going down, you don’t get down on yourself. Keep thinking positive, keep working hard and hope that things turn around.”

The Phillies scored four runs in the fifth inning thanks to a two-run homer from Nick Williams and Howie Kendrick’s go-ahead single. Their starting pitching was much more successful than Milwaukee’s as well, with Jerad Eickhoff allowing just two earned runs over six innings, while fanning six.

The Brewers have now lost 7 of their last 8 games, but the road trip continues after a day off on Monday. They’ll head to Washington trying to rebuild their lead in the National League Central, which shrunk to just a half game with the loss. A win by the Cubs Sunday night would bring them even with Milwaukee for the division lead.

Nick Williams helps Phillies avoid sweep at Miller Park

MILWAUKEE — While the Milwaukee Brewers were poised for a weekend sweep coming out of the All Star break, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Nick Williams had other plans.

Williams hit his first career grand slam in the sixth inning to put the Phillies over the top by a score of 5-2. Combined with a win by the Chicago Cubs, it also knocked the Brewers’ lead in the National League Central down to 4 ½ games.

The Phillies’ opportunity was set up by some timely hitting, as they strung together five hits in a row before Williams stepped to the plate. On Milwaukee’s end of things, it was not the debut Tyler Webb wanted, as his very first pitch was blasted by Williams 411 feet to center field.

In hindsight, perhaps Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell wouldn’t have introduced Webb to Philadelphia in that situation. Matt Garza was taken out after five innings of one-run ball and replaced by Rob Scahill, who surrendered three consecutive hits. But that was a gamble Counsell felt was reasonable, given the lack of offense his crew was able to muster to that point. Pinch-hitting Brett Phillips in Garza’s place did result in the outfielder’s first career home run.

Milwaukee would get a chance to erase the 5-2 deficit in the ninth inning after Hernan Perez and Manny Piña singled to bring the tying run to the plate. But Philadelphia closer Hector Neris was able to retire Stephen Vogt, Orlando Arcia, and Eric Thames to secure the win.

Brewers clinch series win with late Shaw HR

MILWAUKEE — On a night where the Milwaukee Brewers were honoring a team known for hitting home runs, Travis Shaw helped salute them with a big home run of his own.

The Brewers third baseman launched an eighth-inning solo shot to give Milwaukee a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies Saturday night. The evening began with an on-field celebration of the 1982 club that won an American League pennant, while also representing the Brewers’ last trip to the World Series.

It was Shaw’s only hit of the night, in which Aaron Nola gave the Phillies six innings of two-run ball. But Milwaukee was supported by its own impressive starter, Jimmy Nelson. He struck out nine while pitching into the seventh inning. The Brewers only allowed four hits all night.

“We had a lot of momentum going into the break, and for us to be able to take a few days off then come back and continue that momentum is huge, especially for a younger team,” Nelson said. “We’re playing with a lot of energy, and who knows what can happen? Who knows what we can do?”

The Brewers are now 2-0 in games since the All Star break, maintaining their 5 ½ lead in the National League Central. Much of that has to do with the recent success in the bullpen, with Corey Knebel leading the way after earning his 16th save of the year.

The Brewers and Phillies will finish off the series Sunday at 1:10 p.m. from Miller Park.

Brewers come out of All Star break with 9-6 win over Phillies

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers took advantage of lesser competition Friday night, blasting two home runs in a 9-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Miller Park.

Keon Broxton got the momentum moving with an RBI single in the bottom of the second inning and that’s when the doors blew open. Orlando Arcia followed up Broxton’s hit with a three-run blast to give Milwaukee a 4-2 lead, but it didn’t take long for that lead to grow. Ryan Braun’s 17th-career grand slam came just moments later to make it an 8-2 contest after two innings.

That big lead allowed Brewers starter Zach Davies to make mistakes without being punished. He’d finish his night with six runs (five earned) allowed on seven hits, with a career-high five walks. He was replaced by Carlos Torres mid-way through the sixth inning.

“I’m pissed off by my performance, definitely,” Davies said. “But the team’s winning, and you can’t be selfish in that aspect and be upset and show it when the team is doing what it should be doing.”

Davies would still get credit for the win — his 11th of the season — thanks to the run support. Of all the regular starters in baseball, Davies has been backed by the third-most runs scored.

“That’s the case this year, there’s no question about it. We’ve scored a ton of runs in Zach’s starts,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I don’t have a great explanation. There’s going to be a guy that gets the most runs. I can guarantee that.”

With the Chicago Cubs also winning Friday night, Milwaukee’s win helped maintain the team’s 5 ½ game lead atop the National League Central. Arcia admitted to keeping an eye on the score for their division rival, though he didn’t seem affected by it.

“You’re always paying attention. I don’t think it’ll be a distraction, especially if we keep winning. It’s obviously going to be fun to watch the other teams, what they’re doing, if we keep doing our thing.”

Bucks beat 76ers for third straight win

PHILADELPHIA — Giannis Antetokounmpo and Tony Snell helped the Milwaukee Bucks to their third consecutive win, taking down the Philadelphia 76ers 112-98 Monday night.

Antetokounmpo had 24 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, while Tony Snell scored 18 of his season-high 21 points in the first half. Snell added seven rebounds and two steals in the effort.

”Right now we’re playing our best basketball,” Antetokounmpo said. ”Everybody is playing hard, we’re playing team basketball and we’re making a (playoff) push. That’s great for us right now.”

The Bucks led from the get-go, leading by as many as 27 points and beating the 76ers for the first time in three tries this season. Philadelphia couldn’t shoot itself back into the game, converting on just 8-of-30 (26.7 percent) of its three-point attempts.

A strange trend forming for Milwaukee is the “John Henson effect.” The Bucks are 7-0 in their last seven games when Henson doesn’t get playing time, but 0-5 in their last five games where he takes the court.