Returning to Miller Park may have been just what the Milwaukee Brewers needed.
Following an important comeback victory, the NL Central-leading Brewers try to win consecutive games for the first time in more than two weeks when they continue their three-game series with the NL East-leading New York Mets on Wednesday.
Milwaukee (58-49) defeated the Mets 4-2 Tuesday on Geoff Jenkins’ two-run homer in the 13th inning. The Brewers tied the game at 2 on Bill Hall’s ground-rule double in the eighth, spoiling Tom Glavine’s bid to win his 300th game.
Milwaukee snapped a three-game skid, maintaining its one-game lead over the second-place Chicago Cubs in the division.
New York (59-47), meanwhile, lost for the second time in six games, and still leads second-place Philadelphia by three games in the NL East.
“I feel like we earned one,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “That’s a first-place team. We persevered and found a way to win that game.”
Milwaukee, which had an 8 1/2-game lead in the division on June 23, has not won back-to-back games since taking four in a row July 14-17 - all at Miller Park. The Brewers are an NL-best 37-17 at home, and opened a six-game homestand on Tuesday after going 2-6 on their latest road trip.
Claudio Vargas (9-2, 4.30 ERA) has been a big reason for Milwaukee’s home success, and he’ll look to remain unbeaten at Miller Park when he takes the hill Wednesday.
The Brewers have won all 10 of Vargas’ home starts, as the right-hander is 6-0 with a 4.14 ERA in those games. Overall, Milwaukee is 15-3 in his starts this season, and he has not lost since May 26 at San Diego.
Vargas gave up two runs, nine hits and struck out eight in a season-high eight innings of Friday’s 12-2 victory over St. Louis to win his third straight start.
“My last two outings, I feel better,” Vargas told the team’s official Web site. “I’m pounding the zone more early in the count, and I’m making the hitter make contact more early in the count. That’s why I have been able to throw more innings.”
Vargas has had no luck against the Mets, though, going 0-2 with a 9.13 ERA in six games - three starts. This will be his first start against New York this season.
Vargas, who was originally slated to pitch Thursday’s series finale, is set to go in this game after Wednesday’s scheduled starter Dave Bush came on in the 13th inning on Tuesday to earn the victory.
New York counters with Oliver Perez (9-7, 2.84), who tries to rebound from a disappointing loss.
On Thursday against Pittsburgh, Perez yielded just one hit through the first five innings, but he committed a throwing error that led to five unearned runs in the sixth. He gave up five hits and five runs - all unearned - while striking out nine in six innings of an 8-4 defeat.
The left-hander is 2-1 with a 1.40 ERA in three starts since the All-Star break.
Perez tries to get back on track versus the Brewers, whom he had one of his best starts of the season against. He gave up one run, two hits and two walks in a season-high 8 1-3 innings of a 9-1 win on May 13, and is 2-1 with a 4.04 ERA in six career starts against Milwaukee.
Mets third baseman David Wright went 2-for-4 with an RBI on Tuesday, and is 7-for-11 with four RBIs in his last three games. Wright is 6-for-15 in four games against the Brewers this season, and is 3-for-9 with a double lifetime against Vargas.