If the Milwaukee Brewers are to remain in the mix for the NL Central title, they’ll have to play better on the road.
The Brewers can start Monday night in the opener of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies as they begin a six-game road trip.
Milwaukee (60-52) blew a five-run, ninth-inning lead and lost 8-6 in 11-innings to Philadelphia to finish 3-3 on a homestand against the Phillies and the NL East-leading New York Mets.
While the Brewers, who continue to compete with the Chicago Cubs for the division lead, are a major league-best 39-20 at home, they are 21-32 away from Miller Park and 5-14 on the road since winning four straight road contests from June 13-16. Milwaukee went 2-6 on its most recent swing through Cincinnati and St. Louis.
The Brewers will play 28 of their final 50 games on the road. Milwaukee lost two of three at Coors Field last season after winning its two previous series there.
On Sunday, Francisco Cordero couldn’t hold a three-run lead with two outs in the ninth inning and failed to convert a save opportunity for the first time at home this season. It came one day after the Brewers rallied from four runs down to beat Philadelphia 6-5.
Cordero, who has an 8.62 ERA on the road, pitched in all three games over the weekend.
Braun, who is batting .421 (8-for-19) with two homers in his last four games, is hitting .347 with 53 RBIs since being called up from Triple-A Nashville on May 24. He is 3-for-9 with two homers and four RBIs against Colorado.
The Brewers hope Claudio Vargas (9-3, 4.78 ERA) can help them open the trip on a positive note Monday as he looks to stay perfect against Colorado.
Vargas, who is 4-0 with a 4.74 ERA in seven starts against the Rockies, hopes to rebound from his first loss in almost a month. The right hander, who is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts at Coors Field, allowed a season-high seven runs and five hits in 2 2-3 innings of an 8-5 home loss to the Mets on Wednesday.
“There’s not a reason for it,” Brewers manager Ned Yost told the team’s official Web site of Vargas’ shortest 2007 start. “There’s no excuse for it.”
Milwaukee took two of three from the Rockies at Miller Park from July 13-15, but Colorado is 11-8 since and has won 12 of its last 15 home games.
Colorado (56-54) lost 6-5 in 10 innings at Atlanta on Sunday for its second straight loss to the Braves to finish 3-3 on its road trip.
“This was a series we should have won,” said Ryan Spilborghs, who went 2-for-3 with two homers. “There were a lot of opportunities. It was not a good day.”
Todd Helton went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Rockies, who have fallen 5 1/2 games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West.
Third baseman Garrett Atkins is batting .375 (9-for-24) with two homers and 14 RBIs in his last six games. He is also hitting .375 (6-for-16) with two homers and five RBIs against Vargas.
Josh Fogg (5-7, 4.87) looks to bounce back from his last outing when he takes the ball for the Rockies on Monday. Pitching on nine days’ rest, Fogg allowed three earned runs and eight hits in five-plus innings of a 4-2 loss at Florida on Wednesday.
The right-hander, who last won on July 17, is 5-4 with a 3.84 ERA in 14 starts against Milwaukee, but has lost his last two outings against the Brewers, both in 2006.