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Gagne tightens grasp on eighth inning
09/03/2008 2:30 AM ET
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Ned Yost minced no words on Tuesday. Eric Gagne remains the eighth-inning man.

That proclamation came a day after Gagne surrendered three runs, including a go-ahead, two-run home run to red-hot Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado, in Milwaukee's series-opening loss, and hours before Gagne was summoned again to face the meat of the Mets' order -- including Delgado -- in the eighth inning of a game tied at 5.

This time, Gagne escaped. He retired David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Delgado in order on fly balls to the outfield.

"I love the way people go crazy over one little [mistake]," Yost said. "He made a bad pitch and he got beat. We've lost 50-some games, and you go back and there were 50 times where somebody probably didn't make the pitch that they wanted. You play the game every day, and you make mistakes and you don't hold grudges on anybody.

"He made a mistake. He put a pitch where he didn't want to put it. I don't understand how people go crazy over the human element of the game. They're not robots. It happens. The thing is, we've done it a lot less than a lot of [teams] and if you don't believe me, go look at the records."

The Brewers signed Gagne to a one-year contract to serve as the team's closer, but Salomon Torres took over that role when Gagne suffered a shoulder injury in May that forced him to the disabled list. Gagne re-established himself as the top eighth-inning option by posting a 3.97 ERA in 14 appearances from July 21-Aug. 29.

Other relievers have pitched well during similar stretches. Carlos Villanueva has a 2.01 ERA since moving to the bullpen. Guillermo Mota has a 0.61 ERA over his last 16 games, including 12 consecutive scoreless appearances. But Gagne's experience gives him the nod, Yost said.

"He's a guy that understands the dynamics of the eighth and ninth inning," Yost said. "That's important, too, to have that experience."

Pitching matchup
MIL: RHP Dave Bush (9-9, 4.12 ERA)
Bush was caught in a heated pitching duel with Pirates starter Tom Gorzelanny on Friday, but Bush was able to escape PNC Park with his ninth win of the year. The quality outing also improved his August record to 4-0. Bush continues to show signs of improvement on the road and is gaining more and more confidence from his manager. Bush will attempt to keep the good vibrations going against the Mets, against whom he is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in his career.

NYM: LHP Oliver Perez (9-7, 3.90 ERA)
Despite walking five batters on Friday against the Marlins, Oliver Perez allowed only two runs, but he could not muster a win. The five walks weren't even the trouble -- a solo homer, an error and a sacrifice fly amounted to all the damage off Perez. But it was enough. Perez now hasn't won in three starts, marking his longest streak since early June. He'll look to right himself against the Brewers, who tagged him for six runs in 4 1/3 innings back in April.

Tidbits
Six players were named to represent Milwaukee in the prestigious Arizona Fall League: pitchers Omar Aguilar, Jeremy Jeffress, Alex Periard and David Welch, catcher Angel Salome and infielder Mat Gamel. ... Gamel and shortstop Alcides Escobar were named the organization's Minor League co-players of the year on Tuesday and Jeffress won pitcher of the year recognition. The trio will be honored on Friday night at Miller Park. ... The Minor League regular seasons are over, but the player to be named later in the CC Sabathia trade will not be named until the end of the Major League regular season, according to Brewers general manager Doug Melvin. The Brewers will send one more player -- a Minor Leaguer -- to the Indians to complete the deal. ... The Brewers' game on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Cincinnati has been changed to a 2:55 p.m. CT first pitch and will be broadcast on FOX (Channel 6 in Milwaukee). The game, which was previously scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT, will no longer be televised by WMLW. ... The radio broadcasts on Sept. 8 at Cincinnati and Sept. 14 at Philadelphia will air in Milwaukee on WKTI-FM 94.5 due to Green Bay Packers coverage. ... The Brewers on Tuesday announced a major sponsorship agreement with the Harley-Davidson Company. The centerpiece of the partnership will be the new Harley-Davidson Deck, which will be constructed in left-center field at Miller Park during the winter months. The deck will seat up to 42 guests and will feature actual Harley-Davidson motorcycles built into the decor. Harley Owners Group members will receive discounted tickets to the Harley-Davidson Deck for all games.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• MLB.TV

On radio
• WTMJ 620, ESPN Deportes 1510 (Español)

Up next
• Thursday: Brewers (Jeff Suppan, 10-7, 4.49) vs. Padres (Shawn Estes, 1-1, 3.33), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Friday: Brewers (CC Sabathia, 15-8, 2.82) vs. Padres (Josh Geer, 1-0, 3.60), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Brewers (Ben Sheets, 12-7, 2.97) vs. Padres (Jake Peavy, 9-9, 2.69), 6:05 p.m. CT

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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