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CHC@MIL: Weeks injures ankle, promptly exits game

If the Brewers want to stay in contention for a playoff spot, they will have to do so without the help of one of their best players.

Milwaukee found out Thursday that All-Star second baseman Rickie Weeks will spend time on the 15-day disabled list with a severely sprained left ankle. Weeks is expected to miss 2-6 weeks.

The Brewers will begin their first series without Weeks on Friday, as they host Houston to kick off a three-game set.

"It's certainly not easy when you lose one of your best players for an extended period of time," Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun said. "There aren't many guys who can replace him -- if any -- in baseball. But we have to move on. We're prepared to move on, and our expectations don't change."

With just a 1 1/2-game lead on the Cardinals and Pirates in the National League Central, the upcoming stretch is crucial for Milwaukee.

"It's a disappointment for us and for him. You feel terrible for him," Braun said. "At the same time, we don't have a lot of time to sit here and dwell on it. We have to move on. Nobody in our division is going to feel bad for us. Great teams find a way to overcome these things."

The Brewers will send Randy Wolf, who's looking for his first win since June 24, to the mound to try to earn an important win without Weeks.

On the other side, Houston will start Jordan Lyles. He has yet to record a victory in 10 career starts. The right-hander has posted a 5.31 ERA over his past three outings.

Astros: Pence struggling at the plate
Houston right fielder Hunter Pence was out of the starting lineup on Wednesday for the first time since June 22.

Part of the reason for the day off was Pence's recent struggles at the plate, although he did end up appearing as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, grounding into a double play. He is hitting .133 over his past nine games.

"If there's anybody that's tough to give a day off on this club, it's Hunter, because he's such a good player and everything else," Astros manager Brad Mills said before the game. "He's kind of struggled a little bit after the All-Star break, and the weather on this trip has been extremely warm and he completely wears himself out every night because he plays so hard. No night is a good night to give him a day off, but he needs one."

Pence, the subject of trade rumors, responded with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate Thursday.

Brewers: K-Rod still adjusting to new role
Francisco Rodriguez has excelled as Milwaukee's setup man after being traded from the Mets on July 12. Since joining his new team, he has held the opposing squad scoreless in six of his seven appearances out of the bullpen.

Still, Rodriguez is having trouble adjusting to his new role.

"It's a big adjustment," he said. "I've been a closer pretty much my whole career, so that transition hasn't been easy at all. But I'm trying to make the adjustments as quick as possible, and just get the job done any time that I go out there."

• The Brewers acquired veteran infielder Felipe Lopez from the Rays for cash considerations on Thursday.

Worth noting
• Left-handed batters are hitting .190 off Lyles this season.

• Milwaukee's victory over the Cubs on Thursday marked the Brewers' first sweep since June 24-26.

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