After three impressive series against National League contenders, Geoff Jenkins and the resurgent Milwaukee Brewers will try to take advantage of the last-place Cincinnati Reds when the NL Central rivals open their weekend series.
Milwaukee went 7-4 against defending NL East champion Atlanta, current East leader Washington and defending NL champion St. Louis to climb within two games of .500 and seven of the wild card-leading Braves.
“Obviously, this is a great squad, the record speaks for itself,” Jenkins said after the Brewers earned a split of their four-game series with the Cardinals with a 12-7 win Thursday.
“We’ve been playing pretty good baseball ourselves.”
Jenkins had three hits and three RBIs to extend his career-high hitting streak to 14 games for the Brewers, who are unbeaten in five series this month (3-0-2).
Celebrating his 31st birthday, Jenkins had RBI singles in the third and fifth and hit his 12th homer in the eighth. He is batting .451 (23-for-51) during the streak.
“Obviously, I’d like to do that on any day,” Jenkins said. “I’m sure mom will be real happy when she calls.”
The Brewers have had their way with the Reds this season, taking the first three meetings at Miller Park from April 29-May 1.
The Reds haven’t exactly been pushovers since the All-Star break, winning five of seven, including Thursday’s 9-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Austin Kearns delivered a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth inning as Cincinnati earned a split of the four-game set. Javier Valentin and Rich Aurilia homered for the Reds, who improved to 5-2 on their 10-game homestand.
Kearns, who spent the last six weeks with Triple-A Louisville losing weight and fine-tuning his swing, singled off Ryan Dempster for the go-ahead runs. He returned to Cincinnati on Wednesday night, too late to get into the game, but batted cleanup Thursday and finished 3-for-5.
“I’m not out for personal issues or to prove people wrong,” said Kearns, who wasn’t happy with the demotion. “In the past I’ve tried to do that, and it made it that much harder; I tried to do too much. I learned to relax in Louisville and was reminded that it’s a game. It’s nice to get off to a good start.”