Milwaukee (48-35) at Pittsburgh (36-47)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Pittsburgh, PA, US
Temp: 62° F
  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Wed Jul 4, 2007
  • TV: FSWI, FSPI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Claudio Vargas has been effective as a back-end pitcher in Milwaukee’s rotation. Against the Pittsburgh Pirates, however, he has been as dominant as a staff ace.

Vargas looks to extend his mastery over the Pirates as the Brewers continue a four-game series at PNC Park on Wednesday.

While the right-hander is 3-0 with a 4.94 ERA in his last five starts, Vargas (6-1, 4.29) is 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA in six starts and seven lifetime appearances against Pittsburgh (36-47).

Two of those victories have come this season, including an April 18 outing in which Vargas had a career-high 11 strikeouts in six innings. In his most recent game versus Pittsburgh, he scattered four hits and three walks in six innings of a 10-0 rout on May 4.

“I put a zero up on the board, and that’s the important thing,” Vargas said after that performance.

The NL Central-leading Brewers (48-35) are trying to regroup from one of their worst games of the season, a 6-2 loss Tuesday in which they committed a season-high four errors, stranded 10 runners and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

“We haven’t had one like that all year,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “There were other balls we misplayed that weren’t given errors. We didn’t play well defensively.”

Brewers leadoff hitter Corey Hart extended his career-high hitting streak to 19 games with a first-inning double. He is hitting .352 (31-for-88) with seven homers and 23 runs scored in that span.

Pittsburgh, which is just 2-6 against Milwaukee this season but 38-19 at home against the Brewers since 2001, counters with Ian Snell (6-5, 2.90). The right-hander left Friday’s game without a decision after limiting the Washington Nationals to two runs in seven innings before the Pirates won 3-2.

Snell has not faced the Brewers this season, but won all three of his starts against them in 2006, yielding just four runs in 20 innings while striking out 21.

Despite Tuesday’s victory, Jason Bay’s slump continued with an 0-for-4 effort. The Pirates’ left fielder is hitting just .133 (13-for-98) over his last 26 games, dropping his average 56 points to .256, and is 1-for-15 (.067) through the first four games of this homestand.

Lost in the good feelings of Tuesday’s win was Salomon Torres’ announcement that he filed a grievance against Pittsburgh four months ago. Torres, who also asked to be traded from the Pirates, claimed he signed a below-market value contract on the belief the team would rent his baseball training complex in the Dominican Republic.

Torres, who has 12 saves, is also upset at the pace of his rehabilitation assignment after being put on the disabled list June 9 with an elbow injury. The right-hander claims he is fully healed and ready to rejoin the Pirates.

“I’ve been quiet all this time, but I felt that I needed to speak up now,” Torres told the Pirates’ official Web site. “I feel like I’m being lied to and I’m being punished. I deserve to be treated fairly, and that’s all that I want. I’m not this way, but now it’s time to talk.”

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Starting Pitchers

C. Vargas TOR vs. I. Snell LAD
11-6 Record 9-12
5.09 ERA 3.76
107 K 177
54 BB 68
1.54 WHIP 1.33

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Jul 4