Atlanta (3-3) at Milwaukee (2-4)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Milwaukee, WI
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 1:40 pm EDT Thu Apr 7, 2011
  • TV: SPSO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

It took longer than they hoped, but the Milwaukee Brewers are starting to see some positive results.

The Brewers look for their third straight victory in the finale of a four-game set against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday at Miller Park.

After opening with four straight losses, including 2-1 to Atlanta on Monday, Milwaukee (2-4) has won two in a row to instill some confidence for a team expected to contend for a postseason spot.

“It was a slow start for us,” said Brewers closer John Axford(notes), who recorded his first save in a 5-4 win Wednesday. “We had to get the ball rolling … these two games have been fantastic.”

Mired in an 0-for-11 slump coming in, Prince Fielder(notes) had three hits and drove in his first three runs. Fielder is batting .286, but still searching for his first extra-base hit.

“I’ve been feeling good the whole time,” he said. “Unfortunately in baseball, it doesn’t matter if you feel great or not. You can feel terrible and still get hits. That’s just how it is.

“(I’m) not letting results dictate how I’m going to approach it. Results aren’t in my control, but I can control my approach and control my attitude.”

While Fielder appears set to break out, the Brewers hope their bullpen has settled down.

Milwaukee relievers allowed nine earned runs in 13 innings before Zach Braddock(notes), Kameron Loe(notes) and Axford combined for three hitless innings Wednesday.

Now, Milwaukee needs right-hander Shaun Marcum(notes) to bounce back from a rough debut with his new team when he faces the Braves (3-3) for the first time.

Brought in with Zack Greinke(notes) to beef up the rotation, Marcum allowed four runs and matched a career high with five walks in 4 2-3 innings of a 4-2 loss at Cincinnati on Saturday.

The poor outing could be attributed to Marcum missing a late spring training start that set back his preparation.

“I think anytime you’re not truly stretched out to the point that going into the season you feel you’re ready, it’s going to affect a guy,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “It’s still a surprise. I’m used to him throwing strikes and throwing it where he wants to.”

Like Marcum, Atlanta’s scheduled starter Tommy Hanson(notes) looks to bounce back from a rough 2011 debut.

The right-hander allowed four runs, five hits, walked two and hit a batter in 3 2-3 innings before a 55-minute rain delay ended his day in a 6-3 loss at Washington on Saturday.

“I’d just go through spurts where I’d make pitches, and then I wouldn’t make pitches,” Hanson said. “That’s not going to cut it.”

Hanson is 1-2 with a 3.81 ERA in four starts versus the Brewers. The victory came when he allowed four hits and struck out eight over eight scoreless innings of an 8-2 win on May 10 in Milwaukee.

After Yovani Gallardo(notes) held them to two hits in Tuesday’s 1-0 loss, the Braves had eight Wednesday. Brian McCann(notes) had three hits and Jason Heyward(notes) connected for a three-run homer.

“It was nice to see the bats starting to swing on our end,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “A short turnaround and right back at it (Thursday).”

Heyward, who has two homers and five RBIs, is batting .333 with five RBIs in five games at Miller Park.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Hanson CWS vs. S. Marcum Cle
11-7 Record 13-7
3.60 ERA 3.54
142 K 158
46 BB 57
1.17 WHIP 1.16


Thursday, Apr 7