Being no-hit may have been the best thing to snap the Milwaukee Brewers out of a month-long malaise.
The NL Central-leading Brewers look to push their winning streak to five games and complete a sweep of the Minnesota Twins as their interleague series concludes Sunday at the Metrodome.
The Brewers (38-30) looked completely overmatched Tuesday in a 4-0 loss to Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers. Their hitters struck out 12 times in the no-hitter, their 20th loss in 30 games after bolting to a 24-10 start.
Since that defeat, Milwaukee has found its offensive groove, rapping out 48 hits during the win streak - its longest since a season-high six-game run from May 4-9. The Brewers had nine hits in Saturday’s 5-2 victory, but used the small-ball approach with six singles and three doubles.
“You can’t hit a home run all the time,” said Brewers center fielder Bill Hall, whose RBI double in the sixth snapped a 1-all tie. “Sometimes you’ve just got to be able to manufacture some runs.”
“As a team, we’re getting back on a roll and playing pretty well on this road trip,” Bush told the Brewers’ official Web site. “I’d like to keep it going (Sunday) with a chance to keep some momentum going and get back to where we were a few months ago.”
Jeff Suppan (7-7, 4.04 ERA) hopes to end his recent slump and give the Brewers their first road sweep this season. The right-hander is trying to avoid his first three-start losing streak of 2007, and has dropped five of his last seven decisions.
Suppan was the losing pitcher against Verlander on Tuesday, giving up four runs in 6 1-3 innings. He is 5-8 with a 4.61 ERA in 17 lifetime starts against the Twins, but has not faced them since losing on Aug. 23, 2002, while pitching for the Kansas City Royals.
He also has not won at the Metrodome since his first start there - on May 9, 1999 - and is 1-4 with a 3.14 ERA in seven starts at Minnesota.
The Twins (33-33), who took two of three games from the Brewers at Milwaukee last month, turn to rookie Kevin Slowey (2-0, 3.71) in a bid to avoid being swept at home in a three-game series for the first time since June 29-July 1, 2004.
Slowey allowed three runs - two on solo homers - and seven hits in six innings of a 7-3 victory over Atlanta on Tuesday in his first start at the Metrodome.
“I’m going to give up my fair share of hits and home runs, I mean, look, I’ve already given up four home runs,” Slowey told the Twins’ official Web site. “Throwing strikes and not walking guys is what I focus on. I’ve got a great group of guys behind me and I can trust those guys to make the plays.”
The 23-year-old right-hander, who has logged 17 innings in his first three starts, is making his first appearance against the Brewers.
Milwaukee has not swept a three-game series at the Metrodome since July 8-10, 1988, when it was still in the American League.