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09/13/09 8:56 PM ET
Fielder enters books with Cooper in win
Slugger ties Crew's single-season mark for RBIs with homer
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- It was a weekend of personal milestones for the Brewers, topped on Sunday by first baseman Prince Fielder, who homered to drive in his 126th run of the season, tying Cecil Cooper for the single-season franchise record. The fourth-inning shot to left -- the opposite field for the lefty swinger -- accounted for his club's first run in a 5-3 victory over the D-backs at Chase Field. "I've never thought about [the record] until now," said Fielder, who also opened the Brewers' four-run seventh with a single. "It's really an honor to be mentioned with a guy like Cecil. He was a great first baseman, so it really is something special. This organization has had a lot of great players, so it's really a big deal. It's pretty cool." Trevor Hoffman then came on to pitch another flawless ninth, extending his own all-time mark with save No. 586. The right-hander is the leader in that category, 65 ahead of second place Mariano Rivera of the Yankees. It was Hoffman's 32nd save in 35 opportunities, second in the three games here, and dropped his ERA to 1.96. It helped the 69-73 Brewers sweep the series. Cooper has held the record since 1983 and played on the '82 Brewers team that was the only one in franchise history to reach the World Series, where Milwaukee lost to St. Louis in seven tough games. Also on that roster were Hall of Famers Don Sutton, Rollie Fingers, Paul Molitor and Robin Yount. Fielder has a long way to go to reach that level of stature, but right now his 126 RBIs lead the National League by two over Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols. On Friday night, teammates Felipe Lopez and Ryan Braun notched their 1,000th hit and 100th homer, respectively, inaugurating Milwaukee's milestone weekend. Fielder's record-tying RBI came on a homer with one out and no one on in the fourth inning off D-backs starter Max Scherzer, who threw six innings of three-hit ball. It was Fielder's 39th homer of the season. "He got us going," said Ken Macha, concluding his first season as Brewers manager. "I'm lucky, very lucky as a manager to have him." Alcides Escobar had a two-run bases-loaded single off rookie left-handed reliever Daniel Schlereth (0-4) as the Brewers batted around in the seventh inning, giving them the lead. Fielder, finishing his fourth full season -- all with the Brewers -- had his previous career high of 119 RBIs in 2007 when he also led the National League with 50 homers and won that circuit's Hank Aaron Award for his efforts. He now has 438 career RBIs. The Brewers open a four-game series against the Cubs on Monday night, and with 20 games to go, there's plenty of time for Fielder to pass Cooper. "I don't know what the odds are on that, but I'd say they're pretty good," Macha said. "I'll take a couple of more RBIs tomorrow night." Cooper, now the Astros' manager, was an All-Star first baseman and designated hitter for the Brewers in the final 11 years of his 17-season career that ended in 1987. His 126 RBIs led the American League in 1983. Cooper also paced the AL with 122 RBIs in '80. For Cooper, 944 of his 1,125 career RBIs came with the Brewers and places him second on their all-time list behind Robin Yount (1,406). The Brewers transferred from the AL to the NL in 1998. Fielder said that he figured the big RBI would come soon rather than later. "I wasn't trying to hit a home run," Fielder said. "It just happened that way. But I'll take it. I was just trying to do something to help the team win."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.