Carl Pavano was able to locate his pitches well in his last start. He’ll look to do so again as the Florida Marlins try to win their sixth straight road game for the first time in eight years and complete a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Against the Anaheim Angels last Friday, Pavano was nearly unhittable. Through eight innings of the Marlins’ 4-1 victory, he allowed just one run and three hits while striking out six. The only walk he issued was intentional, and he retired the last 18 batters he faced.
What made Pavano’s effort more encouraging was that he was coming off his worst start of the season. On June 1, he lasted just 3 1-3 innings, giving up nine runs and nine hits in a 9-6 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
He said he was simply able to control his pitches better against the Angels.
“When I get up in the zone, my ball’s flat and anyone can hit it,” Pavano said. “I was trying to change speeds early and I just got in a good rhythm.”
He’ll try to find that rhythm again as the Marlins look for their third series sweep of the season.
Florida, which swept a three-game set against Milwaukee at Pro Player Stadium from April 22-24, has won seven straight games against the Brewers dating to last season.
After routing the Brewers 12-4 in Tuesday’s series opener, the Marlins won 6-5 on Wednesday. Rookie left-hander Dontrelle Willis won his fourth straight start, and Luis Castillo and Derrek Lee each homered to lead Florida to its fourth win in six games.
The Marlins have won a season-high five straight road games. The last time they won five consecutive games away from home was in May 1997. They won a franchise-high eight straight in 1995.
Eric Young went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs for the Brewers on Wednesday. Milwaukee has lost four straight following a four-game winning streak.
STANDINGS: Marlins - 4th place, 13 1/2 GB, NL East. Brewers - 6th place, 10 GB, NL Central.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Pavano (5-6, 4.21 ERA). In six career games against Milwaukee, Pavano is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA.
BREWERS PROBABLE STARTER: Matt Kinney (4-4, 3.87 ERA). Kinney has not lasted past the sixth inning in any of his past three starts, going 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in that span. Last Thursday, he went six innings, allowing five runs—four earned—and seven hits in an 8-7 win over the New York Mets. The 26-year-old right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in two career games against the Marlins.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Marlins - Alex Gonzalez, .330 avg.; Mike Lowell, 18 HRs, 51 RBIs and 42 runs; Juan Pierre, 25 SBs. Brewers - Geoff Jenkins, .266 avg.; Richie Sexson, 19 HRs, 45 RBIs and 46 runs; Young, 16 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Marlins, 5-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Marlins - The Marlins have committed just two errors in their last seven road games. … C Ivan Rodriguez, who went 2-for-5 Wednesday, has hit safely in eight of his last nine games. He’s batting .324 (12-for-37) in that span. … Florida pitchers have allowed 44 home runs this season, the fewest in the majors. Brewers - LF Geoff Jenkins is 3-for-7 (.429) with a double and a triple in his career against Pavano. … CF Scott Podsednik, who went 1-for-5 Wednesday, has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games. He’s batting .370 (20-for-54) in that span. … The Brewers have scored 55 runs with two outs in their last 18 games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Marlins - 13-19 on the road; Brewers - 11-23 at home.
INJURIES: Marlins - RHP Josh Beckett (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendicitis), 15-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Abraham Nunez (hamstring), 60-day DL. Brewers - RHP Nick Neugebauer (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Todd Ritchie (shoulder), 15-day DL.