MORTON GROVE, Ill. (AP)—The Milwaukee Brewers nearly took themselves out of playoff contention with an abysmal road trip.
They’ll try to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season when they return home to begin a three-game series with the Florida Marlins on Friday.
The Brewers have dropped seven in a row, all on the road, a streak that began with four losses to the Marlins last weekend.
Milwaukee was then swept in three games at Houston. The Brewers had an eight-game skid from May 28-June 4.
The current slide has dropped Milwaukee (62-72) is 6 1/2 games behind San Diego for the wild card. Florida (65-68) is three back after a 5-2 defeat to St. Louis on Thursday.
The Brewers lost 5-3 to the Astros on Thursday, a game in which manager Ned Yost and first baseman Jeff Cirillo were ejected in the first inning after arguing a close play at first base.
Earlier, first base umpire Tim Timmons and Milwaukee center fielder Brady Clark argued following a play at first.
“I didn’t know what was going on with Brady and them,” Cirillo said. “And then when Brady grounded out, he (Timmons) stared at him and punched him out aggressively.
“On my play, I would hate to think that he would sacrifice his job performance on a personal issue,” Cirillo said. “I mean, I give everyone the benefit of the doubt unless it’s something that was totally blatant.”
Prince Fielder snapped an 0-for-17 slump with an RBI single and added a two-run homer, but that was all the Brewers could manage.
Florida has dropped two in a row following a nine-game winning streak. Miguel Cabrera sat out Thursday’s loss a day after being hit with a pitch on his left triceps. He is listed as day-to-day.
“Nothing is broken or anything, it’s just bruised real bad,” said Cabrera, who leads Florida with 23 homers and 98 RBIs. “I just couldn’t get out of the way in time.”
The Marlins led 2-1 entering the eighth inning Thursday, but after starter Dontrelle Willis departed, the bullpen allowed four runs.
Anibal Sanchez (5-2, 3.41 ERA) makes his second straight start against the Brewers when he takes the mound Friday.
Sanchez didn’t earn a decision in Florida’s 4-3 win Sunday, allowing seven hits and two runs in six innings.
The 22-year-old right-hander has thrown well in the last month, going 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four starts. Sanchez hasn’t allowed a run in four of his 11 career starts.
Chris Capuano (11-8, 3.53) started for Milwaukee in the loss to the Marlins on Sunday. He also didn’t earn a decision, allowing four hits and two runs in six innings.
“I pitched well the whole game, but I just made those two mistakes at the end, so it leaves you feeling kind of sick about it,” Capuano said.
Capuano will be looking for only his second victory since the All-Star break. Over his last six starts, he’s posted a 2.77 ERA but is 1-2.
The left-hander is 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA in four starts against the Marlins.