Brewers-Phillies Preview

The Associated Press

The Philadelphia Phillies have enjoyed big finishes at the expense of the Milwaukee Brewers' bullpen while posting back-to-back victories.

Given Brewers starter Marco Estrada's season-long struggles, the Phillies may be able to start quickly Wednesday afternoon in their bid for a three-game sweep.

Philadelphia (44-54) has scored 11 runs in the seventh inning or later in this series, scoring four in the ninth Monday to win for the first time in 43 games this season when trailing after eight innings. On Tuesday, the Phillies used a six-run eighth - capped by Hunter Pence's go-ahead RBI single - to bail out Cliff Lee and win 7-6.

Philadelphia has won seven of 10 following a 1-11 stretch.

"It's been awesome," Pence said. "We've come together, playing good ball and doing a lot of the little things."

Milwaukee's bullpen has allowed 11 runs and walked 10 in 3 2-3 innings in the two defeats, raising its ERA one-quarter of a run to 4.76.

The Brewers have lost a season-high five in a row and haven't dropped six straight since a seven-game skid April 30-May 6, 2011.

"I don't know what's going on," manager Ron Roenicke said after watching his bullpen blow a save for the 18th time in 38 opportunities. "These guys have always done a good job."

Estrada (0-4, 4.10 ERA) again seeks his first win since Aug. 23, hoping to keep the ball in the park. He received little help Friday at Cincinnati, allowing three homers in seven innings of a 3-1 defeat. Estrada lamented his lack of focus in the seventh, when he fell behind in the count to Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen before each homered.

"When you go out and make dumb mistakes in the seventh inning, it kills you inside," he said. "Every pitch counts now. I threw really bad pitches at 2-0. It's really frustrating."

Allowing home runs has been a source of frustration for Estrada, who has been tagged for 14 in 54 2-3 innings over 10 starts. He has given up at least one homer in nine of them, with his lone outing without yielding one lasting just one inning.

Ryan Howard is the only Phillies player to have taken Estrada deep, while Chase Utley doubled in his only at-bat against the right-hander. Howard has three homers in his last five games and Utley has two home runs and a triple in that span.

Phillies starter Vance Worley (5-6, 3.82) is out to regroup after coming undone in one bad inning Friday versus San Francisco. He was reached for six runs - giving up a grand slam during a five-run sixth - in a 7-2 defeat that denied him wins in consecutive starts for the second time this season.

"I missed my spots," Worley, who struck out nine, told the team's official website. "I got hurt on the one pitch, really. I felt strong. Everything was coming out the way I wanted it. I just missed."

The right-hander lost 3-2 in his only appearance against Milwaukee (44-52) on Sept. 11, giving up three runs in 6 2-3 innings. He may want to work around Ryan Braun, who went 3 for 4 with a homer Tuesday and is a lifetime .397 hitter with six home runs in 15 games at Philadelphia.

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