The Brewers try to continue their dominance at home over the Phillies when the teams meet Sunday at Miller Park in the weekend series finale.
Milwaukee (60-51) is 39-19 at home, where they are concluding a six-game homestand. The Brewers have won seven straight from Philadelphia (57-53) at Miller Park since May 9, 2005.
They needed some late-inning heroics and kept that run going with a 6-5 victory on Saturday. Prince Fielder’s two-run homer in the eighth inning helped the Brewers cap a rally from a 5-1 deficit and kept them one game ahead of the second-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.
Fielder was 2-for-4 with three RBIs in the win and extended his hitting streak to nine games. The All-Star is batting .381 (8-for-21) versus the Phillies this season.
“I’d have a hard time thinking back this year for a more exciting win,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “The fans were into it. Our guys were staying after it. They had a lot of fire in their eyes even when they were down 5-1. You had a good feeling, and it’s hard to have a good feeling when Cole Hamels is on the mound.”
The Phillies have dropped four of their last five following a stretch of nine wins in 10 contests. Neither Phillies manager Charlie Manuel nor Hamels, who started Saturday, spoke to reporters after the defeat.
Philadelphia fell despite getting home runs from Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell and Greg Dobbs. Burrell’s second-inning home run moved him into sixth place on the Phillies’ all-time list with 205 and extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
He is batting .487 (19-for-39) with five home runs and 13 RBIs during that stretch, and is 7-for-16 with two homers in his career against Jeff Suppan, who will take the mound for Milwaukee.
Suppan (8-9, 4.97 ERA) beat Kansas City 11-6 on June 22, but is 0-2 with a 5.17 ERA in seven starts since then. The right-hander pitched well in his latest outing on Tuesday, holding the New York Mets to two runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings, but didn’t factor into the 4-2 win in 13 innings.
He is 3-5 with a 6.75 ERA in nine career starts versus the Phillies. Suppan, though, has lost his four straight starts against Philadelphia including a 6-2 defeat on May 16 when he allowed all six runs, but just four earned, in seven innings.
The Phillies will hand the ball to Adam Eaton (9-7, 5.87), who has the highest ERA in the NL, but has benefited from an average of 6.02 runs of support per game. He gave up five runs—four earned—and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 7-3 defeat to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
“This year mirrors ’04,” Eaton told the Phillies’ official Web site. “I was healthy all year with good stuff. But for some reason, I pitched great, but give up a three-run homer late in the game and we’d lose. It’s frustrating not to produce when I have my health on my side.”
Eaton is 2-0 with a 4.20 ERA in five career starts versus the Brewers. He failed to get a decision in a 4-3 win over Milwaukee on May 15 despite allowing two runs and four hits over 7 2-3 innings.