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Brew Crew look to get out of the cellar; Melvin on Braun's comments

The Milwaukee Brewers could dig their way out of last place in the National League Central with a win at Pittsburgh tonight (Tuesday).

The Pirates are the only Central team the Brewers haven't played yet. Pittsburgh is 21-23, 6.5 games behind the first-place Cubs.

Cincinnati is seven out and Milwaukee is 7.5 back.

The Brewers have lost five straight and 12 of their last-17 after getting swept at Boston over the weekend.

Pittsburgh has been alternating wins and losses since May 12. They lost at Wrigley Field by one run on Sunday. Center-fielder Nate McLouth is off to a hot start for the Pirates. He's batting .306 with 12 homers and 36 RBI's.

Marshfield native Gary Varsho is Pittsburgh's bench coach. He played for the Pirates for three seasons in the 1990's.

Tonight, Left-hander Manny Parra will start for the Brew Crew against southpaw Paul Maholm.

Melvin stands behind Braun

Brewers' General Manager Doug Melvin said Ryan Braun did not speak out of turn when he criticized the team's attitude in Boston.

The hot-hitting outfielder made waves on Sunday when he sensed that his teammates didn't expect to beat the defending world champions on their turf.

It caused a newspaper writer and at least two Milwaukee radio talk show hosts to wonder if there was anything to a blogger's report that Manager Ned Yost was going to be fired Monday.

He wasn't and Melvin says he never listens to bloggers who can say anything online, but Melvin agreed that last year's Brewers showed a lot more swagger - and it's something that must return.

He says players show a lack of confidence when they're struggling and all Braun did was verbalize it.

Melvin said Braun was pointing out that the National League Central is a lot better this year and they need to turn things around soon.

Melvin called Braun's comments "mature and correct" and the general manager said players need to verbalize those things and it can't always come from the coaches.