Brewers-Mets Preview

The Associated Press

Marco Estrada has been one of the weak links in a Milwaukee rotation that hasn't been as sharp through its last couple turns.

That could change against the light-hitting New York Mets, who are struggling to come through in key spots.

Estrada looks to turn things around for the Brewers as he tries to send the host Mets to their longest losing streak in three years in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday night.

Yovani Gallardo ended his recent struggles with seven innings in Sunday's 1-0 victory at Pittsburgh. Now NL Central-leading Milwaukee (38-26) is looking for a similar performance from Estrada (5-2, 4.19 ERA) as it continues this eight-game trip.

The right-hander, however, has posted a 5.30 ERA in his last six starts after recording a 3.13 mark in his first six.

Estrada has surrendered the most home runs in baseball with 18 and has walked seven in his last two outings. He did not get a decision Wednesday when he allowed four runs over six innings of a 6-4 loss at Minnesota.

Milwaukee starters ranked seventh in the major leagues with a 3.05 ERA on May 1, but have a 4.89 mark over the last 13 games.

"It's not so automatic like it was, that everybody was having a great outing," manager Ron Roenicke told the team's official website. "I still think they're doing a good job of keeping us in ballgames. ...Marco's a little off and (Wednesday's starter) Wily (Peralta) is a little off, so hopefully we get that figured out."

Estrada allowed one run and two hits over seven innings in his only career start at Citi Field on Sept. 29, when the bullpen blew his one-run lead in a 3-2 loss.

He'll face a New York team that dropped the final six on an 11-day, 11-game, three-city road trip, leaving it on the cusp of its worst losing streak since April 10-16, 2011.

''We're tired," manager Terry Collins said following Sunday's 6-4 loss to San Francisco. "We're beat up a little bit."

The Mets (28-35) have batted .145 with runners in scoring position during the slide. Curtis Granderson hit two homers Sunday, but he's 0 for 14 with seven strikeouts in his last five home games.

David Wright has gone 1 for 19 in the past six games and is hitting .167 over his past 14 home contests against the Brewers.

The Mets haven't fared well at home against Milwaukee, averaging 2.8 runs and hitting .212 while dropping 10 of the last 12 meetings there.

Former New York outfielder Carlos Gomez ranks among the NL leaders in most offensive categories, including batting average (.307), home runs (12) and stolen bases (11). He's 8 for 15 with a homer in six career games at Citi Field.

Ryan Braun has hit .339 with 14 RBIs in his last 14 games overall and batting .417 with three homers and eight RBIs in his past 10 against New York.

They'll try to continue that production against Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-0, 3.21), who makes his third start of the season after giving up four runs and walking five over 4 1-3 innings of Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

In his only career start against Milwaukee in 2008, Matsuzaka gave up two runs - none earned - over 6 2-3 innings in a 5-3 win with Boston. Gomez is hitless in seven career at-bats in the matchup.

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