Brewers-Padres Preview

The Associated Press

San Diego Padres hitters haven't given much support to their improved pitching staff and rookie right-hander Joe Wieland has especially had trouble getting help from his teammates.

Wieland will try again for his first major league victory when the Padres open a three-game series against the visiting Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.

San Diego has posted a 2.56 ERA over the last 10 games but has lost six of those because the Padres' hitters have produced 24 runs while batting .204. The team's pitchers also went 26 innings without giving up a walk until Sunday's 4-1 loss in San Francisco.

After winning 5-3 in the opener of that series, the Padres (7-16) scored only one run in each of their two losses in the set. Chris Denorfia drove in his team's lone run during Sunday's defeat with a fifth-inning double.

Wieland (0-3, 4.76 ERA) has been given a combined two runs of support over his three major league starts and the Padres have wasted two strong efforts from their 22-year-old right-hander in the past 11 days.

Wieland gave up one run over six innings against Philadelphia on April 19 and two over six frames in a 7-2 loss to Washington on Wednesday.

"Joe continues to make strides. It's a process," manager Bud Black told the team's website. "Hopefully, (he) keeps building on these and eventually breaks through and gets a major league 'W.' It's coming."

Wieland's next start will come against a team that's batting .237 this season and scored a combined seven runs while dropping two of three in St. Louis this weekend. The Brewers (10-12) salvaged the finale of that series with a 3-2 victory Sunday.

Jonathan Lucroy had a two-run double and Aramis Ramirez hit an RBI single in the sixth inning to help their team snap a six-game road losing streak.

"We definitely wanted to come away with a win here," closer John Axford told the team's website. "Doing it today and the way that we did today with a great pitched game, some clutch hitting and clutch defense, too, coming up when we needed to, I think that's a great note to leave on."

Axford converted his 48th consecutive save attempt during that win and is three shy of matching Jose Valverde for the third-longest streak in major league history. Randy Wolf (1-2, 7.17) will try to help get his closer in position to add to that run by building on his best start of the season.

The veteran left-hander gave up two runs and four hits over six innings in a 9-6 win over Houston on Tuesday after posting an 8.80 ERA in his first three starts this season.

"I am not there yet. It's just constant adjustments right now, getting to where I need to be," Wolf said.

Wolf, 6-10 with a 4.74 ERA in 21 starts for San Diego in 2008, gave up five runs and 12 hits over 3 1-3 innings to his former team on May 11, but escaped without a decision in a 13-6 loss. The Southern California native is 6-5 with a 5.51 ERA in 15 career starts against the Padres and 0-3 with a 5.91 ERA in his last four as an opposing pitcher at Petco Park.

Ramirez, batting .385 over his past seven games, will try to help out this time as he's a .317 hitter over his last 21 contests in San Diego.

Orlando Hudson is 5 for 11 in his career against Wolf and Mark Kotsay is 8 for 19.

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