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PHI@WSH: Lee shuts out Nats over seven for second win

The last series between the Brewers and the Phillies not only exemplified Milwaukee's tough season, it also played a large part in decisions affecting the future of the organization.

The Brewers held the lead in the late stages of each game of that series, only to watch the bullpen give up multiple runs on the way to a 7-6 loss in all three games. The late-July series, part of a seven-game losing streak, firmly positioned Milwaukee as a seller before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline and ultimately helped lead to Zack Greinke's departure to the Angels.

The result of the series was tough to swallow for the Crew, but as his team prepares for a four-game set with the Phillies starting Thursday, manager Ron Roenicke hopes the Brewers play much like they did the last time the two teams met.

"We didn't finish the games," Roenicke said. "But we played really well against them. We did great against their really good starting pitching and didn't win games. If you just get beat by a team three games and you're not in them, you're like, 'Well, we got outplayed.' But we played great."

The Brewers hung six runs each on Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, and three against Vance Worley. However, the Phillies scored 13 combined runs in the seventh inning or later on the way to the sweep. Milwaukee will get another chance at Lee on Thursday, while right-hander Marco Estrada takes the hill for the Brewers.

Both teams are well out of their respective division races, but after getting swept by the Braves in the series after playing the Crew, the Phils have played well, going 9-6 in their past 15 games. Phillies pitchers have notched five shutouts in that span, and Lee will look to redeem himself on Thursday following his last start against the Brewers.

Lee has surrendered four homers in his last two starts, and he also allowed four dingers in his rough outing against Milwaukee. Mistakes like that will happen, Lee said after his most recent start, but the key is moving past them.

"That's the life for a starting pitcher," Lee said. "You've got to continue to make pitches. The opposing hitters are paid to hit, and if you make too many mistakes, they're going to make you pay for it."

Brewers: Estrada hopes to bounce back
Winless in 14 starts this season, Estrada has fallen victim to an offense that couldn't provide decent run support in many of his appearances. His last start, though, was not one of those instances.

Estrada gave up four earned runs in the first three innings on Saturday against the Astros, and he didn't hold anything back after what turned out to be a 6-5 loss for the Brewers.

"I let a bad team beat me," an angry Estrada said.

On Thursday against the Phillies, Estrada will make his first trip back to the mound since that game against Houston. Looking for his first win of the season, the 29-year-old right-hander, who gave up five runs and lasted just four innings against Philadelphia on July 25, said he's looking forward to the chance to make up for his last start.

"The last outing was the most frustrating outing I've had all year," Estrada said. "I had no idea where the ball was going. I worked on a couple of things, and I'm beyond anxious to get back out there. It was mental and a little bit of mechanics. I saw the video, and I kind of rushed a couple of things. I worked on staying back to get that ball down more."

Phillies: Polanco expects to return after Brewers series
The Phillies will be without third baseman Placido Polanco against the Brewers, but they hope to have him back on Monday as he recovers from lower back inflammation.

On the 15-day disabled list since July 23, Polanco planned to head to Clearwater, Fla., for a rehab assignment with Philadelphia's Class A team while the Phillies are in Milwaukee. He's expected to play six innings on Thursday, serve as designated hitter on Friday and play a full game on Saturday before heading to Philadelphia for a workout on Sunday. The hope is that he comes back ready to go for the Phillies' matchup with the Reds on Monday.

"I expect to be the everyday third baseman, but what I expect and what is going to happen could be two different things," said Polanco, who added that he doesn't feel any issues in his back.

Manager Charlie Manuel was doubtful earlier this week that the 36-year-old veteran's back would hold up to the grind of playing every day, and Polanco admitted he doesn't know what will happen.

"I just want to be healthy for whatever," he said. "If he plays me, he plays me. If not ..."

Worth noting
• After a six-game road trip, Thursday marks the Brewers' return to Miller Park, where Milwaukee has won six straight and is 8-1-1 in its past 10 series.

• The Phillies are two games under .500 (28-30) on the road, which is actually better than their record at home (26-33).

• This weekend is the last time the Brewers and Phillies will meet this season, with the only other series between the two teams being Philadelphia's three-game sweep in July.

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