The Dodgers look to win their eighth straight home game for the first time in 14 years and continue their dominance over the wild card-leading Brewers at Dodger Stadium on Saturday.
Los Angeles (63-59) defeated Milwaukee 5-3 in Friday’s series opener to win its fifth straight and remain tied for first place in the NL West with Arizona.
The Brewers (70-53), meanwhile, dropped their second straight after an eight-game winning streak to fall 5 1/2 games back of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs. Milwaukee also had its wild-card lead over St. Louis shrink to two games.
The Brewers have baseball’s third-best road record (34-30), but the Dodgers are a major league-best 12-3 at home since the All-Star break.
Los Angeles has scored 40 runs while batting .338 during its seven-game home winning streak, and has not won eight consecutive games at Dodger Stadium since reeling off nine in a row April 24-May 15, 1994.
The Dodgers’ success at Chavez Ravine is likely not a shock for the Brewers, as they’ve lost eight of nine and 18 of 23 there since 2001.
Derek Lowe (9-10, 4.11 ERA) takes the ball Saturday, and has been at his best at Dodger Stadium lately, going 3-2 with a 1.78 ERA in his last five starts there.
The right-hander gave up three runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings to earn an 8-6 home win over Philadelphia on Monday.
In his only start against the Brewers this season on May 14, Lowe gave up four runs and six hits in six innings of a 6-4 victory, but was not a factor in the decision. He is 2-1 with a 3.73 ERA in five career starts versus Milwaukee.
On Friday, the Dodgers again received solid production from Jeff Kent, who had three hits and singled home the go-ahead run in the fifth inning. Kent is 17-for-34 with a homer, four doubles and nine RBIs in nine games since being moved to the No. 3 spot in the batting order, ahead of cleanup hitter Manny Ramirez.
While the Dodgers’ offense is rolling, the Brewers once again expect to be without All-Star left fielder Ryan Braun, who has missed his last six games because of a sore lower back. Braun is batting .300 with 30 home runs and 84 RBIs, and isn’t expected to be back until Sunday at the earliest.
“We want him in there because he’s one of the league’s elite offensive players, but let’s make sure he’s all right for the long haul,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost told the team’s official Web site. “I’m not taking any chances rushing him back.”
Braun’s replacement, Gabe Kapler, hit his seventh home run of the season Friday, and is 8-for-28 (.286) with two home runs, five RBIs and seven runs since taking over in left field.
Dave Bush (7-9, 4.35) looks to win three straight starts for the first time in his career when he starts Saturday.
Since Yost abandoned his plan to use Bush and Seth McClung in a home-and-road platoon, Bush has looked sharp.
After allowing one run and three hits in seven innings of an 8-1 victory at Cincinnati on Aug. 5, Bush gave up one run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-1 win over Washington on Monday.
Bush is 1-1 with a 4.73 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers, with both coming in 2006.