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05/14/09 1:35 AM ET
Weeks shines in Brewers' win
Leadoff man has three hits, three runs and two RBIs
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Rickie Weeks didn't complete his cycle, but he did complete another inspired Brewers comeback. Weeks hit a leadoff home run in the first inning, tripled and scored in the third and then legged out a go-ahead, RBI infield single in a five-run Brewers fourth as Milwaukee overcame an early deficit for an 8-6 win over Florida on an eventful night that included the first use of instant replay at Miller Park. That call -- Marlins pinch-hitter Ross Gload's two-run home run in the sixth inning was reversed -- loomed very large, given the final score. Gload struck out, and the Brewers, with Trevor Hoffman's seventh save, hung on for their 16th win in 21 games. All that after Brewers starter Braden Looper (3-2) fell into a 3-0 hole before he recorded his first out. Looper aided in the decisive fifth inning with an RBI single on the way to the Brewers' 12th come-from-behind win this season, tied with the Phillies for most in the Major Leagues. "This team is growing up out there," Weeks said. So, perhaps, is Weeks, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft who has been a lightning rod for criticism during his five seasons in Milwaukee. With his three hits Wednesday -- Weeks finished a double shy of the cycle -- he boosted his batting average to .286 and his on-base percentage to .346. He also leads the Brewers with nine home runs. "In the Minor Leagues coming up, we always saw that he had one of the quicker bats ever in baseball," said Corey Hart, who sparked the winning rally with a two-out walk. "We just kind of figured that when he figures things out and gets in that groove, he could be one of the better guys in the league. He has the capability of being a 40-homer guy when he puts it together. "It's good to see. He's had some negativity in the past, and to be able to shine like he is now is encouraging." Weeks had two chances to become the sixth player in Brewers history to hit for the cycle and just the second to accomplish the feat in Milwaukee (catcher Chad Moeller did it in 2004). Instead, Weeks was called out on strikes in the fifth inning and popped out to shortstop in the eighth. Still, his big night helped make a winner of Looper, who surrendered four hits and three runs before recording his first out but went on to work six innings for the victory. Looper also contributed in the decisive fourth. Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco (2-4), trying to hold a lead that had shrunk to 4-3, retired Mike Cameron and J.J. Hardy to open the frame. Then he walked Hart and Jason Kendall before Looper blooped a single over first base to tie the game at 4. "I guess I'm a rally-starter," Looper said. Weeks followed by beating out a go-ahead hit. Craig Counsell hit an RBI single, Ryan Braun walked and Prince Fielder delivered a two-run single to run the lead to 8-4. It was 8-5 in the sixth after John Baker's solo home run, when instant replay helped the Brewers hang on. With two outs, Looper surrendered a double before pinch-hitter Gload hit what originally was ruled a two-run home run down the right-field line. At least that was the call from first-base umpire Bruce Dreckman. Fielder, the first baseman, immediately objected. The umpires huddled, then ducked into the tunnel behind home plate for just two minutes before crew chief Gary Darling emerged with a new call: Foul ball. Gload returned to the plate, and Looper struck him out, ending the inning. It would have been the first reversal of a home run courtesy of instant replay had Adam LaRoche's blast in Pittsburgh not been overturned earlier in the night. "I knew it was foul from where I was standing," Looper said. "I think the home-plate umpire knew it was foul, too, right away. From where I stood, it looked like it was 4-5 feet foul." Hart, who tried for a leaping catch, thought the same. "I just made a courtesy jump," Hart said. "I jumped on the opposite side of the foul pole, so I figured it was foul." After the Brewers were burned by a close fair-foul call in a May 1 loss to Arizona, Macha said he did not favor instant replay in baseball. He stood by that stance on Wednesday, saying he believed the umpires could have huddled on the field to get the call right without going to the replay. Looper was glad it was handled correctly. "The positive thing is that it did go pretty fast," Looper said. "Luckily we do [have instant replay] now, because if you call that a homer and it counts, it's really a shame. Luckily, they got it right." That call helped bail out Looper, as did the Brewers' quick-strike offense, but so did the roof at Miller Park. A nasty thunderstorm shook the dome for most of the early innings, and it still was raining after the game. He also helped himself. After recent Minor League callup Chris Coghlan put Florida on the board with a two-run home run and Jorge Cantu hit an RBI single in the first inning, Looper allowed four hits and two runs in five more frames. "That's not the way you want to start," Looper said. "But I looked at it, and some point you have to tip your cap. Other than the home-run ball, they were pretty good pitches. Those guys are paid to hit over there. Once I got past that first inning, I was all right. ... Our guys picked me up, for sure."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.