Some late-inning offense against the NL Central leaders has the Philadelphia Phillies on the verge of reaching the .500 mark for the first time this season.
The Phillies (19-20) will look for their third straight win Wednesday when they continue a four-game series with the suddenly struggling Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park.
Rookie catcher Carlos Ruiz homered in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Phillies a 4-3 win over the Brewers on Tuesday. Philadelphia, which has won five of six and is 15-9 since starting 4-11, scored six runs in the eighth inning of its 8-6 victory in Monday’s series opener.
“We finally found our heart and started playing together as a team,” Philadelphia reliever Brett Myers said.
Milwaukee (25-14), meanwhile, will try to avoid a season-high fourth straight loss after winning 11 of its previous 13. The Brewers still have a 5 1/2-game lead over the surging Houston Astros in the NL Central.
The Phillies could be in good position to extend their winning streak with Cole Hamels taking the mound Wednesday. Hamels (5-1, 3.46 ERA) will look for his fourth straight win.
Hamels has benefited from some solid run support of late, with the Phillies averaging seven runs in his last three starts. The left-hander allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings of the Phillies’ 7-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
“I just have to go out there and compete and the team will feel that,” said Hamels, who allowed four runs in 6 1-3 innings, but did not factor in the decision of his only start against Milwaukee—a 5-4 Phillies loss on May 18.
The Brewers, who won 12-3 over the New York Mets in their most recent victory Saturday, have scored 10 runs during their three-game skid and are 1-4 on a seven-game road trip.
Milwaukee set-up man Derrick Turnbow gave up Ruiz’s homer to take the loss for the second straight night. The Brewers bullpen has allowed 12 runs in 9 1-3 innings during their recent skid after allowing only eight in 41 innings over its previous 14 games.
“I made a mistake and he made me pay for it,” said Turnbow, who has allowed five runs in the first two games of the series after allowing three total in his first 16 appearances.
Jeff Suppan (5-3, 3.00) will look to help the Brewers get back on track when he takes the mound Wednesday. Suppan had his personal winning streak snapped at five games Friday when he allowed four runs and six hits in six innings of the Brewers’ 5-4 loss to the Mets.
The right-hander is 3-4 with a 7.04 ERA in eight starts against the Phillies.