The NL-leading Milwaukee Brewers did not open a key seven-game road trip quite the way they had hoped.
After having their longest winning streak of the season come to an end, the Brewers look to bounce back when they meet the New York Mets in the middle game of a three-game set on Saturday.
The Brewers (24-11) entered this series riding a six-game winning streak, but fell behind 4-0 after four innings and lost 5-4 in Friday’s series opener.
“They’re a bunch of battlers,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost told the team’s official Web site. “They feel like they’re in the game right up until the last out is made, and that’s why they’re a special group of guys.”
Despite the loss, the Brewers still own a seven-game lead in the NL Central over the Chicago Cubs, who fell to the Phillies on Friday. Following this series, Milwaukee travels to Philadelphia for four games.
New York (22-12) is just one-half game behind NL East-leading Atlanta, and has won three straight since most of the team decided to shave their heads.
“We didn’t get any prettier, but we’re playing pretty good baseball since this happened,” third baseman David Wright said. “Hopefully the streak continues.”
Wright, who had 26 home runs last year, now has three this season, while Delgado has gone deep in consecutive games after hitting just one homer in his first 30.
The Brewers’ power surge continued on Friday with home runs from Geoff Jenkins, Prince Fielder and J.J. Hardy. Jenkins has three homers in his last four games while Fielder has five and Hardy four in their last seven.
Ben Sheets (2-2, 4.04 ERA) takes the hill for Milwaukee on Saturday. After giving up eight runs in five innings in a loss to St. Louis on April 15, Sheets has allowed two runs or less in each of his last four starts, but has only one victory in those games.
He gave up two runs and six hits while striking out a season-high five in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-4 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday, but didn’t factor in the decision. He has just 21 strikeouts in 42 1-3 innings this season, after having 116 in 106 innings a year ago.
In his only start against the Mets last season, Sheets gave up four runs in five innings of a 9-3 loss on April 16. He is 2-2 with a 5.65 ERA in five career starts against New York.
The Mets counter with rookie Mike Pelfrey (0-4, 6.39), who tries again for his first win of 2007. After an effective season debut, Pelfrey has been saddled with the loss in each of his last four starts, posting a 7.32 ERA in those games.
The right-hander gave up three runs, three hits, walked four and hit two batters in 5 1-3 innings of a 3-1 loss to Arizona on Sunday.
“He’s making progress,” Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told the team’s official Web site. “(Pelfrey’s performance) would have looked better if we gave him some runs.”
Pelfrey, who will make his first career start against the Brewers, has gotten just four runs of support in his five starts.