The Milwaukee Brewers opened the final stretch of the regular season with one of their best offensive games in more than a month. They hope this means they’ve put a disappointing August behind them.
The Brewers (68-67) look for a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates as the teams close out their three-game series on Sunday.
After finishing August with a 9-18 record, Milwaukee opened its September schedule with a 12-3 rout of the Pirates (59-76) on Saturday. The 12 runs were the most scored by the Brewers since they also tallied 12 in a win over St. Louis on July 27.
“It was a nice game all around for us,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “I believe we are really starting to get on a roll.”
Second baseman Freddy Sanchez drove in two runs for the Pirates.
“They’re a good team, fighting for a playoff spot,” Pittsburgh starter Shane Youman, who lasted just two innings on Saturday, said of the Brewers. “They’re gonna take advantage of every opportunity.”
The Brewers are looking to sweep a three-game series at home for the first time since June 25-27 when they took three straight from Houston. Milwaukee is 7-1 in hits last eight at home against the Pirates.
The Brewers will send Jeff Suppan (8-11, 4.78 ERA) to the mound. Suppan has not won in more than two months, but he’s been outstanding in his career against the Pirates when pitching at home.
Suppan is 9-3 with a 3.97 ERA in 17 career starts against the Pirates, and he is 7-0 with a 2.45 ERA in eight starts at home, including two wins at Miller Park this season.
The right-hander is trying to post a win against a National League opponent for the first time beating Florida 8-5 on June 1. He won an 11-6 interleague matchup against Kansas City on June 22, and since then, has gone 0-4 over his next 12 starts. The Brewers are 5-7 over that stretch.
Suppan has pitched well in his last three outings, however, not allowing more than three earned runs in any of those starts. He did not receive a decision against the Cubs on Tuesday after giving up two runs and six hits in six innings of a 5-3 loss.
Suppan had struck out four and made just 82 pitches when he was pulled after hitting the first batter he faced in the seventh.
“He had pitched well to that point and we had struggled in the seventh inning with our starters a little bit here lately,” Yost said. “I didn’t want to take a chance.”
The Pirates, who have lost four straight, will counter with Tom Gorzelanny (13-7, 3.50).
Gorzelanny, who leads the team in wins, has won four of his last five starts, including his last two. He pitched four innings on Tuesday against Cincinnati, allowing four runs and eight hits in six innings of a 6-4 victory.
The left-hander is 2-0 with a 2.49 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance against the Brewers. Both wins came this season.