Vargas looks to remain Milwaukee’s lone undefeated starter when he faces the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Milwaukee is 6-0 when Vargas (3-0, 2.65 ERA) starts, and hopes the right-hander can help the club avoid losing three in a row for just the second time this season.
Philadelphia scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to rally for an 8-6 victory over Milwaukee in Monday’s series opener. The Phillies (18-20) have won four of five.
The Brewers (25-13), who still own the NL’s best record, are 1-3 on a seven-game road trip after going 9-1 on a recent homestand. Milwaukee has been outscored 17-7 in the last two games, with its bullpen having allowed 11 runs in 6 2-3 innings.
Milwaukee lost three straight at home from April 4-7.
Vargas, who has a 1.97 ERA in six starts, had his scoreless innings streak snapped at 17 on Wednesday against Washington, when he allowed one run and four hits in six innings but did not earn the decision in Milwaukee’s 3-1 victory.
The Brewers’ No. 5 starter is 1-3 with a 6.49 ERA in 10 career games - eight starts - against the Phillies.
Milwaukee will try to bounce back after suffering its first loss of the season when leading after seven innings. Reliever Brian Shouse allowed two runs and set-up man Derrick Turnbow gave up four more in the eighth for Milwaukee on Monday.
The Brewers have seen their bullpen ERA rise from 3.09 to 3.78 in the last two contests.
“You’re going to have those days,” Shouse said. “Everything’s been going well for us. We’ll bounce back.”
Wes Helms’ pinch-hit, bases-loaded single gave the Phillies a 7-6 lead in the eighth.
“A win like that can give you confidence,” said Helms, who played for the Brewers from 2003-05. “You beat the best. We didn’t give up.”
Philadelphia’s Chase Utley went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, including a two-run single in the pivotal eighth. Utley is hitting .500 (7-for-14) with six runs scored and five RBIs in his last four games. The second baseman is 3-for-6 with a double and home run in his career against Vargas.
The Phillies are 14-9 since starting the season 4-11, and are currently in third place in the NL East, 6 1/2 games behind the New York Mets.
“When we play games like (Monday), it tells our team how good we can be,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. “It boils down to consistent play.”
Adam Eaton (3-3, 7.43) will take the ball for the Phillies on Tuesday.
The right-hander, who signed as a free agent in December after going 7-4 in an injury-plagued 2006 with Texas, allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings last Tuesday, but finished on the losing end of Philadelphia’s 3-2 defeat at Arizona.
Eaton is 2-0 with a 5.24 ERA in four starts against the Brewers.