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Weeks' single lifts Brewers over Yankees 5-4; Sabathia struggles again

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MILWAUKEE - Stuck in a platoon, Rickie Weeks has to make the most of every opportunity at the plate.

Maybe his nice night with the bat Saturday will earn the Milwaukee Brewers veteran more playing time.

Weeks broke a tie with a two-out RBI single after Jonathan Lucroy moved to third on a balk, Francisco Rodriguez earned his league-leading 15th save and the Brewers hit three homers off starter CC Sabathia in a 5-4 win over the New York Yankees.

Weeks' helmet flew off his head as he raced toward first on the single. He pointed to the dugout as the crowd showered him with cheers.

"It was good to go out there with a tie ballgame at the time and come through," he said. "We're up for the challenge."

Rodriguez allowed two flyouts to the warning track in right in a scoreless ninth. The veteran closer hasn't allowed a run in 19 appearances this season.

Zach Duke (3-0) got the win after escaping a seventh-inning jam by getting Carlos Beltran to bounce into a double play.

Lucroy and Aramis Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs in the third, and Gomez hit a solo shot to the upper deck off Sabathia, who allowed eight hits in 5 1-3 innings. The left-hander allowed at least four runs in a game for the sixth time this year.

"I'm not going to sit here and kill myself and be negative. I'm just not doing that this year," Sabathia said. "Just keep battling, trying to get better and go from there."

It is what Weeks has been doing, too, through sporadic playing time. He finished 2 for 4 in his first start since April 26.

Much of the rest of the Brewers lineup isn't hitting well right now. Manager Ron Roenicke said before the game that he had approached Weeks about trying out left field with starter Khris Davis struggling, but Weeks declined.

"It is not that easy just to put somebody in the outfield," Roenicke said before batting practice. Weeks said he just felt like he should be playing second.

His chopper skipped through the hole into left in the seventh off Alfredo Aceves (0-1), who was called for a balk two pitches earlier.

"Rick was good again. He has been swinging the bat a lot better," Roenicke said. "Nice to have somebody come through with that big hit."

It answered the Yankees' rally from a two-run deficit on Mark Teixiera's solo shot in the sixth and pinch-hitter Alfonso Soriano's RBI single off Duke that tied the game at 4.

That put runners on first and second for the power-hitting Beltran. But Duke got him to bounce into the inning-ending, 5-4-3 double play.

Rodriguez got three flyouts in the ninth, though the outs by Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson made the hometown fans nervous after sailing close to the wall.

Sabathia only wished he was that lucky in his first start at Miller Park since Sept. 28, 2008. With the Brewers after a midseason trade from Cleveland, Sabathia tossed a complete-game victory against the Cubs to clinch the NL wild card.

Gomez gave Sabathia a rude welcome back leading off the bottom of the first after sending a 1-1 pitch 462over the left-field fence. The ball caromed off the window of a restaurant filled with spectators dining in the third deck.

"In the past maybe (Sabathia) got away with a few more mistakes, but right now he is not getting away with them," manager Joe Girardi said.

The homers by Lucroy and Ramirez off Sabathia were unearned because they followed an error by shortstop Brendan Ryan. He got the start with Derek Jeter getting a day off.

NOTES: Ramirez left the game in the fourth with a strained left hamstring after fielding a bouncer. ... Roenicke said RF Ryan Braun (right oblique strain) feels good. He is eligible to come off the disabled list in time for the start of a three-game series Tuesday against Pittsburgh. "Still not probably there, so we are (hopeful) for Tuesday but I'm not sure," Roenicke said. "Maybe there is a little bit of tightness but it is not really bothering him." Braun took full cuts at batting practice Saturday, including a homer to dead centre. ... The Yankees send David Phelps (0-0) to the hill Sunday afternoon against the Brewers' Matt Garza (2-3) to wrap up the three-game series. Jeter will be honoured in a pregame ceremony.

___

Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP

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