Even after a win in their last outing, the Milwaukee Brewers have a losing streak to contend with.
After ending a four-game skid on Sunday, the Brewers look to snap a three-game slide at home when they open their first series at Miller Park since before the All-Star break with a matchup against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.
Milwaukee (47-52) avoided a three-game sweep by beating Cincinnati 4-1 on Sunday to finish its nine-game trip following the break with a 3-6 mark. It was just the Brewers’ third win in 12 games after they lost the final three contests of a four-game set against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park from July 6-9.
The Brewers’ slide has dropped them into a third-place tie with Houston in the NL Central. The bullpen has been the biggest problem, and closer Derrick Turnbow lost his job after blowing his fourth straight save on Friday.
“Kolb threw strikes—just what we want our relievers to do to get groundballs,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said.
Doug Davis (5-6, 4.82 ERA) will try to avenge one of his worst starts of the season when he takes the mound against the Pirates (35-65) on Monday. The left-hander allowed seven runs and a season-high 11 hits in three innings in a 14-3 loss at Pittsburgh on May 29.
Davis, 3-3 with a 4.44 ERA in 13 starts against the Pirates, is 0-1 with a 6.26 ERA in his last three outings. He gave up four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings, but didn’t receive a decision in Milwaukee’s 7-6 loss at San Francisco on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh enters this series after losing the final three games of a four-game series with Florida.
The Pirates have lost eight of 10 and 14 of their last 17 on the road, and haven’t won a series away from home since taking three of four from the Giants from June 8-11.
Zach Duke (7-8, 5.19), who has won two straight starts and is 5-2 since May 29, pitches Monday for Pittsburgh. The left-hander gave up four runs and seven hits while striking out five in six innings of a 6-5 win over Colorado on Wednesday.
“I think he’s going to be the guy, as we go along in the second half, who you see continue to escalate in the direction that you want him to go in,” Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. “Between now and the season’s end, you hope that that lynchpin surfaces for us. That’s what you hope for.”
Duke earned a win against Davis and the Brewers on May 29, yielding three runs and 10 hits in 7 2-3 innings, and is 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA in four career starts against Milwaukee.
Pirates third baseman Freddy Sanchez, who went 3-for-5 in Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the Marlins to raise his NL-leading average to .356, is batting .563 (9-for-16) with a home run, three doubles and two RBIs in his career against Davis.
The Brewers opened the season with a three-game sweep of the Pirates, but lost all four meetings in Pittsburgh from May 29-June 1.