Rockies looking to make it Miller time again

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MILWAUKEE (AP) - Ben Sheets looks to win his sixth straight home decision for the slumping Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night when they continue their three-game series against the Colorado Rockies.

Sheets (10-4, 3.41 ERA) has won four straight starts at Miller Park, and is 5-0 with a 2.33 ERA over his last seven outings there. He's 6-2 in nine starts this season after a Brewers (49-40) loss.

The right-hander wasn't able to help Milwaukee recover from a defeat his last time out, though, allowing five runs and eight hits over six innings in a 6-3 defeat at Pittsburgh.

"It was throwing marshmallows," said Sheets, who had won his previous six decisions. "There wasn't anything on the ball. I threw marshmallows but, when they hit it, it didn't sound like marshmallows. They were loud."

Sheets has been masterful in four career home starts against Colorado (45-44), going 3-1 with a 1.71 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 26 1-3 innings.

Colorado first baseman Todd Helton is batting .350 (7-for-20) with three home runs in his career against Sheets, who allowed two hits in one scoreless inning during Tuesday's All-Star game.

Milwaukee fell 10-6 on Friday, its sixth loss in seven games. The Brewers' lead atop the NL Central dwindled to 3 1/2 games over the Chicago Cubs.

"We're in the driver's seat," said reliever Carlos Villanueva, who suffered his first loss of the season after allowing five runs over three innings.

Rookie third baseman Ryan Braun homered twice and drove in four runs and Prince Fielder hit his NL-leading 30th homer of the season for Milwaukee.

Fielder is 9-for-18 with three homers in his last five games, while Braun is hitting .417 (20-for-48) with seven homers in his last 11 contests.

The Brewers haven't dropped consecutive games at Miller Park since May 18-19.

Colorado was thrilled with its performance in the opener of a 10-game trip. The Rockies went 1-9 on their last road trip from June 22-July 1.

"We can play on the road, and this club has proven to itself it can win on the road," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "But we've got to do it for a length of time, and in the second half it's going to be big that we take that step forward."

Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki, and Yorvit Torrealba all homered for Colorado, which has won six of seven games overall. Tulowitzki is hitting .355 (11-for-31) in that stretch.

Rodrigo Lopez (5-2, 4.83) has had a bit of an unusual first season with Colorado, pitching well at Coors Field and poorly on the road. Lopez is 0-2 with a 7.06 ERA in four road starts, compared to his 5-0 mark and 3.55 ERA in seven home outings.

The right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in two career starts against the Brewers, although he's never pitched at Miller Park.

Lopez earned his fifth home victory last Saturday, when he gave up three runs over five innings in a 6-3 win over Philadelphia.

(Copyright Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.)

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