The final week before the All-Star break might not have started well for Milwaukee Brewers, but they have a chance to end it on a positive note.
The Brewers look for a third straight victory and series sweep of the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday at Miller Park.
Milwaukee (39-49) entered this three-game set having lost five in a row, including a four-game sweep at the hands of San Francisco at home. A visit from NL-worst Pittsburgh (30-57) has helped the Brewers turn things around.
Coming off a 5-4, 10-inning victory Friday, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder(notes) hit back-to-back home runs in Saturday’s 4-3 win. Milwaukee is 7-3 this season against the Pirates, who have lost five straight overall, 23 of 25 on the road, and 26 of 29 games at Miller Park.
After enduring an 0-for-15 slump over his previous five games, Braun is 4 for 9 in this series. The All-Star outfielder is batting .395 with three home runs and 11 RBIs against the Pirates this season.
“I feel better than I did a couple of days ago,” Braun said. “It is a gradual process. You have to walk before you run. I am headed in the right direction and starting to feel better.”
Fielder will not be heading to Anaheim for Tuesday’s All-Star game, but has homered in consecutive games to give him 20 this season. Four of those home runs have come against Pittsburgh.
Milwaukee’s scheduled starter Randy Wolf(notes) (6-8, 4.49 ERA) is 8-2 with a 3.42 ERA in 15 starts versus Pittsburgh, including 1-1 with a 3.54 ERA in 2010. However, in his last outing against the Pirates on May 19, the left-hander gave up six runs, 10 hits and five walks in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-4 defeat.
Wolf struck out eight Tuesday but allowed all five of his runs - one of which was earned - in the sixth inning of a 6-1 loss to the Giants.
“The only thing you can do is move on and try to get better,” Wolf told the Brewers’ official website. “Whatever your job is, try to do better each time.”
Pirates manager John Russell would like to see his young team’s offense get better after being held to 12 runs during its five-game skid.
“The bottom line is we’ve got to score more runs,” Russell told the Pirates’ official website.
After throwing seven scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs for his first career win June 30, the right-hander allowed five runs in five innings of a 6-2 loss at Houston on Tuesday.
“Sometimes it’s another piece to the growing pains and development,” Russell said. “He’s got to be able to understand the situation, maintain his composure and throw the ball the way he’s capable of.”