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Brewers' rare strong start makes life easier

8/11/2002

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Brewers got off to a rare strong
start.

Jose Cabrera pitched six solid innings, Eric Young had four hits
and Milwaukee scored three times in the first inning of Saturday
night's 5-2 victory over the Montreal Expos.

"Cabrera did a good job of getting through the early innings,
which has been a nemesis for us,'' Milwaukee manager Jerry Royster
said.

In their first 115 games, the Brewers were outscored 89-49 in
the first inning. Against the Expos, Cabrera retired the side in
order to open the game, and Milwaukee got the first five batters on
base to take a 3-0 lead against Javier Vazquez (8-8).

Falling behind so often this season, Brewers pitchers have
rarely had the breathing room given to Cabrera (5-8).

"Now, you have room to make mistakes,'' said Cabrera, who
entered with a 6.14 ERA as a starter but gave up only solo homers
to Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Vidro. "It's easier that way.

"When you are losing, you put too much pressure on,'' he said.
"That's when you make a mistake.''

Alex Sanchez opened the game with a single, moved to third on
Eric Young's hit-and-run single and scored on Lenny Harris' single.
Richie Sexson's infield single loaded the bases.

Vazquez, eighth in the NL at 2.1 walks per nine innings, walked
Matt Stairs to bring home the second run.

Jose Hernandez struck out for the first out, and Mark Loretta
followed with a single to score Harris for a 3-0 lead.

"It was tough because they put three runs up there, and I can't
remember a ball being hit real good,'' Montreal manager Frank
Robinson said. "We should be able to overcome that.''

Guerrero hit his 31st home run, extending his hitting streak to
11 games, in the second to bring Montreal to 3-1.

"Vladimir hit a home run and I knew I still had a two-run
lead,'' Cabrera said.

Young had four singles and scored twice to lead the Brewers. He
was hitting .190 after 48 games this year, but has hit .305 since
to raise his average to .270.

"Jerry has put me in the No. 2 hole, where there's less
pressure than being a leadoff guy,'' Young said. "I've been able
to adjust to it.''

Mike DeJean got five outs for his 19th save in 22 opportunities,
retiring Jose Macias on a flyball with two runners on to end it.

Cabrera was sent to the bullpen when Milwaukee called up Jimmy
Osting from the minors last month. But Osting strained his left
shoulder before pitching in a game and went on the disabled list,
allowing Cabrera to remain in the rotation. He is 4-5 in 10 starts
this year.

Vazquez retired eight in a row from the second through the
fourth innings, but gave up consecutive singles to Young, Harris
and Sexson in the fifth to give Milwaukee a 4-1 lead.

Vidro hit his 13th homer in the sixth to cut it to 4-2.

Jorge Fabregas added a sacrifice fly in the eighth to make it
5-2.

Named NL pitcher of the month last August with a 5-1 record and
an 0.55 ERA, Vazquez is 0-2 this month with a 8.10 ERA in two
starts. He went six innings against the Brewers, giving up four
runs on nine hits and one walk, striking out seven.

"Personally, I don't think they should have scored at all,
that's the bottom line,'' Vazquez said. "I think the ball just
went their way.''

Game notes
Fabregas made his first start at catcher for the Brewers
since being traded last month from Anaheim. He is the fifth catcher
to start this year for Milwaukee. ... Brewers SS Hernandez has
struck out 148 times and is on pace for 207 strikeouts, which would
break the major league record of 189 set by Bobby Bonds.