Pittsburgh (12-14) at Milwaukee (18-9)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Milwaukee, WI
Temp: 62° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Thu May 3, 2007
  • TV: FSPI, FSWI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Milwaukee Brewers won’t be able to fly under the radar much longer. Having the best record in baseball makes it impossible.

The surprising Brewers seek their fifth straight victory Thursday night as they open a four-game series against the NL Central rival Pittsburgh Pirates.

Despite a roster filled with young talent, the Brewers have not had a winning season since 1992.

With more than one month of the season complete, however, Milwaukee (18-9) owns the best record in the majors and is nine games above .500 for the first time since April 24, 1998.

“They have a pretty good team,” Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols said. “They’re young, but they know how to play the game and they can swing the bat. We knew that. Everybody knew that in the league coming into the season.”

The Brewers continued their strong play Wednesday with a 4-0 victory over St. Louis, completing a three-game sweep of the struggling Cardinals.

Carlos Villanueva earned this win with four innings in relief of injured starter Chris Capuano and Prince Fielder hit a two-run single, as Milwaukee continued its best start since 1987 with its ninth win in 11 games.

“For him (Villanueva) to come in and throw up zeros was huge,” Capuano said. “It helped the hitters relax and put the ball in play.”

Capuano, who is not expected to miss a start, left after three innings with a bruised right calf. He was struck on the right leg near the knee by an Aaron Miles line drive in the second inning.

Capuano has been an important piece of an effective Brewers staff, going 4-0 with a 2.90 ERA. Milwaukee has allowed two runs or fewer in six of the last eight games.

The Brewers offense has also been very productive lately, scoring 26 runs during the current four-game winning streak.

While the rest of Milwaukee’s rotation has exceeded expectations, Dave Bush (2-2, 6.23 ERA) has struggled.

The right-hander had his worst start of the season Saturday in a 10-1 loss to Houston, yielding eight runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings.

Bush is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two career starts against Pittsburgh.

Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games Wednesday with a fourth-inning single. He is batting .382 (21-for-55) with five homers and 15 RBIs during the run.

The Pirates (12-14) completed a 5-4 homestand Wednesday with a pair of losses to the Chicago Cubs.

Pittsburgh lost the completion of Tuesday night’s suspended game 8-6 before falling 7-1 in Wednesday afternoon’s regularly scheduled contest.

After pitching very well in his first four starts, Pittsburgh’s Tom Gorzelanny (3-1, 3.06) looks to rebound from his worst outing of the season. Gorzelanny allowed five runs and eight hits over six innings Saturday in an 8-1 loss to Cincinnati. The left-hander had surrendered only six earned runs in his first four starts, spanning 26 1-3 innings.

Gorzelanny worked seven strong innings last Aug. 15 in his only career start against the Brewers, allowing just one earned run, but didn’t receive a decision.

The Brewers swept a two-game series April 18-19 against the Pirates at Miller Park.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Gorzelanny Mil vs. D. Bush Tor
14-10 Record 12-10
3.88 ERA 5.12
135 K 134
68 BB 44
1.40 WHIP 1.40

Scoreboard

Thursday, May 3