The Arizona Diamondbacks look to complete a sweep and move above .500 for the first time in nearly a month when they close out a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday at Chase Field.
Conor Jackson was 2-for-4 with two homers for the Diamondbacks (45-45), who reached the .500 mark for the first time since June 21, when the team was 36-36. Arizona, which had a 36-35 record on June 20, is in fourth place in the NL West, three games behind the San Diego Padres for the division lead.
Arizona added Stephen Drew—the younger brother of Dodgers outfielder J.D. Drew—to the lineup on Saturday to replaced the injured Craig Counsell. The 22-year-old shortstop was 1-for-3 with a run scored.
Drew wasn’t the only rookie with a famous name to make his major league debut Saturday. Tony Gwynn Jr., whose father was a Hall of Famer for the Padres, was called up by the Brewers when third baseman Corey Koskie landed on the disabled list. Gwynn pinch-hit in the sixth inning and grounded out to first base.
“We’ll pick spots for Tony to play,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “But are we going to throw him in center every day? No, we’re not doing that.”
Drew, on the other hand, can expect significant playing time in place of Counsell, who broke a rib in the seventh inning of Friday’s game and is expected to miss three to six weeks.
“(Drew) is going to play,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. “We wouldn’t have him here if he wasn’t going to be an everyday player.”
Arizona will hand the ball to Claudio Vargas (7-5, 4.91 ERA), who is 1-3 in his last six starts. In his most recent start on July 5 against the Dodgers, he allowed five runs over four innings, striking out four and walking three in the 5-4 loss.
The right-hander is 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA in three career starts against the Brewers. He defeated Milwaukee at Miller Park on April 9, giving up two hits through six innings of the 7-0 win while striking out six.
The Brewers (44-48) counter with Dave Bush (5-7, 4.34), who is just 1-1 in his last five starts despite holding opponents to two runs or fewer in four of them.
Bush pitched seven innings in his last start on July 8, allowing two runs and nine hits in the 3-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs—his first defeat since June 11. He struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter.
“I thought I threw pretty well tonight,” said Bush, who also drove in Milwaukee’s only run in the contest. “But I needed to be one better.”
The right-hander’s only career start against the Diamondbacks was a 3-1 victory on April 7 in his Brewers debut. Bush pitched seven strong innings, giving up one run and two hits while striking out seven.
The Brewers, who have lost five straight games, continue their nine-game road trip with a three-game set at San Francisco starting Monday.
“You can’t bury your head in the sand,” Yost said. “You get after it again tomorrow.”