Brewers-Mariners Preview

The Associated Press

The short-handed Milwaukee Brewers have received contributions from different sources on the way to their best consecutive offensive performances since late April.

They'll likely need a whole lot more against one of the best pitchers in the major leagues.

The Seattle Mariners send ace Felix Hernandez to the mound Sunday when they try to avoid getting swept by the visiting Brewers.

After putting up its best showing at the plate in nearly two months in a 10-5 victory in Friday's opener, NL Central-worst Milwaukee (51-66) matched that outburst with a 10-0 win Saturday to score double-digit runs in back-to-back contests for the first time since April 29-30.

Even though they've lost All-Star Ryan Braun (suspension) and fellow starter Rickie Weeks (hamstring) for the rest of the season, the resilient Brewers have averaged 5.7 runs while batting .328 with runners in scoring position in winning five of seven.

Rookie Scooter Gennett, who is filling in for Weeks at second base, delivered the big blow Saturday with a three-run home run off the glove of Seattle right fielder Michael Morse in the seventh inning.

"Us little guys need all the help we can get,'' said Gennett, who is 4 for 8 in this series.

Catcher Jonathan Lucroy broke out of a 3-for-26 slump with four hits and is 7 for 17 (.412) in four career games against the Mariners (53-63).

Hernandez (11-5, 2.39 ERA), though, will try to prevent the Mariners from finishing their homestand 1-5.

Following a seven-start stretch in which he went 3-0 with a 1.41 ERA while striking out 54 in 51 innings, Hernandez will attempt to bounce back from his first loss since May 25. The All-Star right-hander, who ranks among the major league leaders in ERA and strikeouts, allowed six runs - three earned - and nine hits over five innings in a 7-2 loss to Toronto on Tuesday.

"He wasn't getting a whole lot off the corners. It was a pretty tight strike zone,'' said acting manager Robby Thompson after Hernandez matched his shortest start of the season. "When he missed, it was out over the plate and he was hit.''

Although Hernandez endured a rare poor outing, the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner was let down by his bullpen in his prior two starts after conceding only two runs while fanning 19 in 16 innings. He is 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in three interleague starts this season and 15-7 with a 2.73 ERA for his career against the NL.

Yuniesky Betancourt, who hit a grand slam Friday, is 1 for 12 lifetime against his former teammate.

Right-hander Wily Peralta (8-11, 4.42) hopes to build on his last outing and continue an outstanding stretch by Milwaukee pitchers, who have a 1.92 ERA over the last seven games.

After allowing 12 runs and 12 hits over 8 2-3 innings in his last two starts, Peralta ended a three-start winless stretch by giving up one run and five hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 3-1 victory at San Francisco on Tuesday.

The Brewers have not swept a series of at least three games in Seattle since taking three straight from Sept. 8-10, 1989, when they were in the AL.

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