The NL Central-leading Brewers look to extend their longest winning streak in over a month on Saturday night, when they continue a series with the Kansas City Royals, who have lost three straight.
Milwaukee (42-31) opened the series with an 11-7 win over the Royals (29-45) on Friday. Hart homered and drove in four runs while Braun homered for one of his four hits for the team’s eighth win in nine games.
The Brewers are looking to win five straight for the first time since winning six in a row May 4-9.
Hart finished with three hits to extend his hitting streak to a career-high nine games. He is hitting .381 (16-for-42) during that stretch with five homers and 13 RBIs.
“I’m in a pretty good mind-set because I’m in there every day,” said Hart, who is hitting .325 in June. “Hopefully, I’m in there every day because I’m comfortable with it right now.”
The only Brewer that is hitting better this month than Hart is Braun, whose first-inning homer was his fifth since his contract was purchase from Triple-A Nashville on May 24. He is batting a team-high .375 (27-for-72) in June.
“He can hit. I don’t know what to say,” manager Ned Yost said. “And he showed that he can hit. He showed that he can hit in the minors. He showed that he can hit in spring training.
“I wouldn’t have put him right in the three hole if I didn’t think he could.”
The Brewers will hand the ball on Saturday to Dave Bush (4-6, 5.48 ERA), who is trying to win consecutive outings for the first time this season.
Bush was 0-3 with a 5.66 ERA in six starts entering his outing last Saturday against Minnesota. He allowed two runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings against the Twins in a 5-2 win.
“It feels good to go out there and shake hands the day you pitch,” said Bush, who won for the first time since May 8 against Washington.
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 4.70 ERA in four starts against Kansas City.
The Royals will counter with Brian Bannister (4-3, 3.21), who is looking to win his fifth straight start.
Bannister came into his last start having not allowed an earned run over 14 innings. The right-hander struggled on Sunday against the Florida Marlins, however, allowing four runs and nine hits in six innings, but the Royals won 5-4.
“I’m constantly out there playing chess games with hitters,” said Bannister, who has a 1.61 ERA this month. “That’s how I like to pitch. It’s not about stuff with me, but how I can get this guys out.”
Bannister has made one start against the Brewers, allowing one run and six hits in five innings of a 9-3 win over Milwaukee on April 16, 2006, while with the New York Mets.