Strong starting pitching has helped the Milwaukee Brewers bounce back from a four-game losing streak.
Hoping to follow up consecutive successful starts from CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets, Manny Parra looks to help the wild card-leading Brewers to a third straight victory as they conclude their four-game home set with the San Diego Padres on Sunday afternoon.
Sheets allowed five hits while striking out seven in a complete-game, 1-0 victory on Saturday. The previous night, Sabathia yielded one run in seven innings of a 3-2, 11-inning win over the Padres (54-88) to snap a four-game skid.
Milwaukee (82-60) owns a 4 1/2-game lead in the NL wild-card race and is four games behind NL Central-leading Chicago.
“We’ve got a lot of starting pitching where we can sustain winning streaks and stop losing streaks,” Sheets told the Brewers’ official Web site.
Stellar work from the rotation has helped the Brewers overcome some weak hitting. They have failed to score more than three runs in any of their last four games, and five of their last six.
Parra (10-6, 4.10 ERA) has not earned a decision in either of his last two starts. He gave up four earned runs and six hits in five innings of a 6-5, 10-inning loss to the New York Mets on Tuesday.
“In my opinion, it was another subpar performance,” Parra told the Brewers’ official Web site. “I’m catching too much plate. Five innings is just not going to cut it.”
The left-hander, who won eight straight decisions from May 20-July 20 but has only one win in eight starts since then, will make his first career start against San Diego on Sunday.
The Padres are a major league-worst 16-34 when facing a left-handed starter.
Prince Fielder’s RBI ground out was the difference Saturday for the Brewers, who have scored 15 total runs while opening 2-4 in September.
“It’s just the nature of the game and the cycle of the game,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said.
The Brewers will try for an offensive resurgence while facing San Diego’s Chris Young (4-5, 4.91), who makes his second start since coming off the disabled list due to a strained right forearm.
Young, who hasn’t won since May 16, allowed four runs and six hits in five innings of a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday - his first appearance since Aug. 10.
“It was really nice to be back out there. I missed it,” Young said. “Even though we didn’t win, it was still fun going out there and competing. I was a little bit rusty.”
The 6-foot-10 right-hander has made one career start versus Milwaukee, allowing two runs in six innings of an 11-inning, 4-3 loss to the Brewers last Sept. 29 at Miller Park.
Luis Rodriguez had three hits and rookie Chase Headley added two Saturday for San Diego, which has dropped five of its last six games and owns the worst overall record in baseball. Rodriguez is 6-for-13 with three doubles and two RBIs in this series.