A series with the New York Mets seemed to be an ideal chance for the Milwaukee Brewers to gain ground in the playoff race and match their record home winning streak.
Instead, they'll be trying to rebound from a rare home loss on Saturday night by attempting to avoid falling to the Mets for the fifth time in six tries at Miller Park.
The Brewers (72-72) remained 3 1/2 games back of St. Louis for the NL's second wild-card spot after opening this three-game series with a 7-3 loss to New York (66-78), which snapped its third six-game skid of the year.
The defeat also stopped Milwaukee's nine-game home winning streak, which was one shy of the club record set in 1979.
"One game is not going to change it," said Mike Fiers, Friday's losing pitcher. "We had a really good stretch of wins here. We can still win the series. It's one game. If we can come back and win these next two games, it would be nice. It doesn't really matter where we're at. We need to win."
The Brewers are 17-3 in their last 20 home games, and 18-6 in the past 24 overall after sitting 12 games under .500 on Aug. 19.
"Nobody expects us to be in this thing, and I think we've played that way, and that's why we've gotten back in it," manager Ron Roenicke said. "If you start looking at every game like it's 'you have to win,' I don't think the young guys will do well with that. So we haven't gone there."
Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.71 ERA) will try help his club bounce back as he looks to win for the first time since missing more than two months with elbow tightness.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 5.03 ERA in four starts since coming back, but they've all been on the road. He's won three of his past four home outings, including the last two with a 2.84 ERA.
Marcum's recent struggles continued in Sunday's 5-4, 10-inning loss at St. Louis. He surrendered four runs and two homers, all in the first two innings, before exiting after the fifth.
Perhaps facing the Mets will help him recover. Marcum is 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two career starts against New York, both last season.
The Brewers, though, have dropped four of five at home to the Mets, and Ryan Braun hasn't managed to homer against them in 16 career meetings there.
New York has moved Jenrry Mejia into the rotation, relegating Jeremy Hefner to the bullpen for the rest of the year.
Mejia (0-0, 4.50) is scheduled to make his first start in exactly two years. In that outing, the right-hander lasted 2 1-3 innings against Pittsburgh before exiting with a shoulder injury, and he missed all of last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
In his only major league action since, Mejia allowed a solo homer in two innings of relief against Atlanta on Sept. 7.
He was 4-4 with a 3.59 ERA in 30 games - 14 starts - in the minors before being called up earlier this month.
Mejia has faced the Brewers once, throwing a scoreless inning of relief at Miller Park on May 29, 2010.
Teammate Lucas Duda is 7 for 16 in his last five games, getting two hits and two RBIs while connecting for his 14th homer in his first visit to Milwaukee.
"He changes the look of the batting order because everybody knows he can hit a home run," manager Terry Collins said.