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PHI@LAD: Lee stellar over eight innings vs. Dodgers

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke knows right-hander Zack Greinke is likely distracted by the trade rumors that have been surrounding him as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.

He just hopes that by first pitch on Tuesday, when Greinke returns to the mound after missing his last scheduled start to "recharge his batteries," the 28-year-old right-hander can focus on his opponent, the Phillies, as Milwaukee looks to get back on track after suffering a fourth straight loss on Monday.

"Hopefully everything's back to normal with him," Roenicke said. "I know it can't be 100 percent because of what's going on with all the talks and trade rumors. ... So I'm hoping mentally because he prepares so well, I'm hoping he goes into this game like himself, where he's locked in to what he needs to do and he blocks out everything else."

Greinke went through a bullpen session on Sunday that Roenicke said was "really good." Tuesday will mark Greinke's first start in 11 days. Prior to that, he took the ball for the Brewers in three straight games -- two before the All-Star Game because he was thrown out of the first and one after the break.

That left Greinke worn out, but Roenicke said all indications are that the right-hander is ready to take his 9-3 record into Citizens Bank Park and get back to work.

"In our discussions when he stops by and talks to me, whether it's in [batting practice] or my office or whatever, have been good," Roenicke said. "Lately, he feels good about trying to get back in his routine and with the bullpen [session Sunday]."

Pitching against Greinke, Cliff Lee will take the hill for the Phillies on Tuesday. Just 1-6, Lee likely hopes he can deliver a start similar to his last one, but with a better final result. Lee pitched eight innings while only giving up one run on two hits and a walk Wednesday against the Dodgers. However, Philadelphia lost, 5-3.

In his career, Lee has played against 29 different teams, and Milwaukee is the only one he has not beaten. He is 0-1 with a 4.74 ERA, allowing 23 hits in the three games against the Brewers.

Phillies: Polanco misses game with back stiffness
Placido Polanco did not play in Monday's win over the Brewers because of stiffness in his lower back, and with the severity of the injury unclear, he could miss Tuesday's game as well.

The stiffness had bothered Polanco for a few days, and he was scheduled to see team physician Michael Ciccotti. Polanco is 36 and went on the disabled list last season with lower back inflammation. This year, he hasn't gone on the DL, but he's missed time with wrist and ankle injuries.

"The last couple years, it's been tough for him to stay on the field," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Polly used to be a guy that was set on playing every day. I'm sure when he's hurting and he can't play, it bothers him."

Polanco, who is hitting .255 with two home runs and 19 RBIs on the season, has had a rough go of it, going 6-for-49 (.122) and one RBI since his last multi-hit game on June 29.

"Every now and then when he does hit a ball hard it seems like somebody catches it," Manuel said. "It seems like he's always having to beat something out. He hasn't been getting a lot of hits. At times, he puts the fat part of that bat on the ball still."

Brewers: Axford succeeding new role
Although Milwaukee's bullpen blew its 17th save Monday, John Axford might finally be solving his own issues.

Axford, who was removed as closer following his sixth blown save on July 16, pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings on Monday against the Phillies. He didn't surrender a hit after inheriting two baserunners, striking out one.

In the four appearances since his last blown save, Axford has allowed just two hits and left all six of his inherited runners stranded. He earned his third win of the season Wednesday and said after that he felt good.

"I just tried to escape everything that happened before," Axford said. "Obviously, a short-term memory is a good thing. I tried to work fast and not let anything have an opportunity to creep into my head."

Worth noting
• Monday's loss dropped the Brewers to 10-20 all time at Citizens Bank Park. Comments