Brewers-Braves Preview

The Associated Press

A strong performance from a starting pitcher could be another sign the Atlanta Braves have put their poor start behind him.

Following the first quality start by a member of their rotation, the Braves will send Brandon Beachy to the hill Sunday as they go for a fifth straight win overall and a three-game sweep of the visiting Milwaukee Brewers.

After losing four in a row to open the season, Atlanta (4-4) improved to .500 with a 2-1 win over Milwaukee on Saturday.

Mike Minor gave up one unearned run and two hits in 7 1-3 innings, becoming the first Braves starter to record an out after the fifth.

"It was a lot of fun just because I got past the fifth inning and helped the team out, helped the bullpen out,'' Minor said.

Beachy's season debut was one of Atlanta's better efforts from a starting pitcher prior to Saturday. The right-hander lasted five innings of Monday's 8-3 loss to Houston. He allowed four runs, but only one was earned. Still, he remained winless in six consecutive outings since the start of last September.

Beachy faced the Brewers twice as a rookie last season, limiting them to one earned run and eight hits over 12 innings but not receiving a decision.

While Atlanta hopes its mound troubles are coming to an end, it could have another important bat back in the lineup Sunday in the form of Chipper Jones. The veteran third baseman has missed six total games this season, including the last two after he had fluid drained from his left knee Friday.

Jones, who has four hits in nine at-bats in the two games he has played, will try to help a lineup that managed just three hits Saturday.

"The guys have some confidence now and I'm on the brink of being able to play full time," Jones told the Braves' official website.

While the offense couldn't muster much Saturday, the Braves came in having hit .319 and scored 22 runs over the first three games of their winning streak. The four-game run is the longest for Atlanta since winning six in a row Aug. 18-23.

Milwaukee (4-5), which has lost three straight overall and seven in a row in Atlanta, has been held to two or fewer runs in three of its last four games.

The Brewers had five hits - four singles - Saturday, dropping their season batting average to .230. They are hitting .192 with runners in scoring position in the last four games.

Chris Narveson will try to help Milwaukee avoid the sweep as he makes his second start of the season. The left-hander gave up three runs in five innings of a 7-4 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.

Narveson has allowed two runs in 12 innings against the Braves, going 1-0 over the two starts including six scoreless frames opposite Beachy on April 4, 2011, at Miller Park as neither starter got a decision in Atlanta's 2-1 victory.