Milwaukee Brewers veteran Randy Wolf(notes) got 16 runs to work with en route to earning a win against Pittsburgh in April. He may need just as much support if the Pirates have a second straight big game at the plate.
In a meeting of teams that continue to liven what would otherwise be a largely lackluster season series, the Brewers send Wolf to the mound Wednesday night as they try to bounce back from a dismal performance against the Pirates.
A nine-run first inning helped Pittsburgh (33-60) - the NL’s lowest-scoring team - beat Milwaukee 11-9 on Tuesday night in the second game of this four-game set. The Brewers committed three errors en route to breaking the franchise record for runs allowed in the first inning.
It continues to be a wild season series between these teams.
Milwaukee (43-52) beat Pittsburgh 20-0 at PNC Park on April 22 to hand the Pirates their most lopsided loss in their 124-year history, then won the next day’s matchup 17-3. Wolf (7-8, 4.56 ERA) got the win in the first of those games, tossing six innings.
He is 8-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 16 starts against the Pirates.
Wolf is 3-0 with a 2.39 ERA in his last four road starts. The left-hander earned a win at Atlanta on Friday night, giving up three runs in six innings of a 9-3 victory.
He’s facing a Pirates team that is suddenly hot at the plate. Pittsburgh has won three of four following a seven-game skid, scoring nine runs or more in each of the victories.
The Pirates have been led by rookies Pedro Alvarez(notes) and Neil Walker(notes). Alvarez, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, hit two homers - including a grand slam in the first inning - Tuesday and is hitting .355 (11 for 31) over his last eight games.
“I feel a lot more comfortable than when I first started,” said the 23-year-old third baseman, who was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis on June 16. “That’s what I try to do, just get in a groove and get more and more comfortable.”
Walker, coming off a career-high five-hit performance, is 12 for 19 (.632) with four RBIs in his past four contests. The second baseman is hitting .390 with 10 RBIs in 19 home games.
Milwaukee’s lineup is coming off a strong game of its own, going 6 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Braun has four homers and seven RBIs over his last eight games. The All-Star left fielder is 6 for 14 (.429) with two home runs against Zach Duke(notes) (3-9, 5.38), who is set to take the mound for the Pirates.
Duke had a 14.00 ERA in losing two starts to the Brewers in April and is 3-7 with a 6.33 ERA in 15 outings against them.
Duke has posted a 7.33 ERA in losing his last five starts overall. The left-hander, though, pitched well enough to win his last outing, surrendering two runs in five innings of a 5-2 loss to Houston on Friday night.
“I feel good,” Duke said. “So I like where I’m at physically.”