Brewers-Padres Preview


Superb pitching has spurred the Milwaukee Brewers' recent road winning streak, but Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun may be key to extending it.

While Jimmy Nelson could make his final start, Gomez and Braun will try to continue pacing the NL Central-leading Brewers at the plate in the middle game of this series with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.

Milwaukee (73-58), atop the division by 1 1/2 games over second-place St. Louis, opened a nine-game trip with Monday's 10-1 win at San Diego, extending its road winning streak to five games.

The staff has a 1.60 ERA during the streak, while the starters have allowed four runs in 32 innings. Kyle Lohse chipped in by yielding one run in six innings Monday.

Gomez and Braun, meanwhile, are powering Milwaukee's offense, and it's not limited to any particular location.

Gomez is batting .375 (12 for 32) with 10 runs over the past eight games, while Braun is 10 for 26 (.385) with a pair of homers, five RBIs and six runs in six contests.

They each had three hits Monday, while Braun connected for a solo homer to give him five with 11 RBIs while going 11 for 28 (.393) over his past seven games at pitcher-friendly Petco Park.

''They were on tonight and they are an aggressive group,'' Padres manager Bud Black said. ''They have power, they don't walk much or strike out much. It's a good offensive group."

Nelson (2-4, 4.15 ERA) gets the ball in San Diego for the first time, and possibly the last as a starter with Matt Garza (left oblique strain) nearing a return.

Garza, on the disabled list since Aug. 5, is scheduled to participate in a bullpen session Tuesday and that could lead to his return to the rotation, with Nelson potentially moving to the bullpen.

"Truthfully, it's so cliche, but whatever helps us win," Nelson told MLB's official website. "Whatever helps us get to the playoffs and succeed in the playoffs. Whatever role it is, I just want to contribute to this team as best as I can, in whatever way that is.

"I just take the ball when I'm told to ... You have to keep your focus."

Nelson allowed four runs and nine hits while being pulled with two outs in the sixth inning of Wednesday's 9-5 loss to Toronto. It was the first time the rookie right-hander failed to complete six innings in six starts.

The Padres (60-70) counter with Tyson Ross (11-12, 2.68), whose 1.94 ERA at home ranks fifth in the majors. He is 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in his last four at Petco.

The right-hander is facing the Brewers there for the first time after splitting two meetings in Milwaukee behind a 4.50 ERA. He allowed five runs and nine hits - two homers - in six innings of a 5-2 loss there April 23.

Ross was terrific in Thursday's 2-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Dodgers, tossing a four-hitter with eight strikeouts in a pitchers' duel with two-time NL Cy Young-winner Clayton Kershaw.

"Ty was great," catcher Rene Rivera said. "That was one of the best outings. He was pounding the strike zone, he got quick outs. Two runs in eight innings is not bad. He did a great job."