Cubs-Brewers Preview

The Associated Press

The Milwaukee Brewers' home winning streak against the Chicago Cubs has reached 10.

No. 11 is far from a guarantee considering the pitching matchup Sunday.

The Brewers start the struggling Marco Estrada against red-hot Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija when this NL Central series concludes at Miller Park.

Milwaukee (15-18) entered this three-game set with just two wins in its previous eight games, but an 8-7, 13-inning victory on Friday and Saturday's 8-2 win has the club back on track.

The Brewers have won 12 of 15 overall in this divisional matchup and are undefeated at home against the Cubs (13-20) since a 7-4 loss April 8, 2011.

Milwaukee will try to match a season-best three-game win streak with Estrada (0-2, 4.50 ERA) looking to rebound from a pair of rough outings.

The right-hander, making his fourth start since Chris Narveson was shut down for the season last month with a torn rotator cuff, is 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA in his last two outings. Estrada was tagged for five runs - all in the fourth inning - in Monday's 6-1 home loss to Cincinnati.

"I don't know why we're having those tough innings, but he threw the ball really well the rest of the game," manager Ron Roenicke said of Estrada, who admitted he was uncomfortable pitching after an eight-day break between starts.

Despite throwing one inning of scoreless relief in a 7-4 victory April 10 in his only appearance versus the Cubs this season, Estrada has an 11.37 ERA in five games against Chicago.

As Estrada looks to avoid losing a third consecutive start, Samardzija (4-1, 3.03) tries to win a third straight. The converted reliever is 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA in his last three outings after giving up five runs in each of his previous two.

"I'm really thinking through at-bats and remembering what they did previously. That's all part of pitching," Samardzija said after striking out seven and throwing seven innings of one-run ball in Monday's 5-1 victory over Atlanta.

He's 2-0 in his last seven appearances against the Brewers, allowing one run and one hit in seven innings. Samardzija has faced them 15 times - only one start - and has a 4.84 ERA.

Ryan Braun, 4 for 9 with a homer off Samardzija, is batting .429 (15 for 25) with two homers and nine RBIs during Milwaukee's home winning streak in this series.

Second baseman Rickie Weeks could return to the Brewers' lineup Sunday if he is feeling better after getting hit by two pitches Friday. X-rays taken Saturday on Weeks' left wrist were negative.

If Weeks needs another day off, that might not be the worst news as he's batting .158 overall and has one hit in 19 at-bats against Cubs pitching in 2012.

Even if Weeks can go, Roenicke will likely try to get Edwin Maysonet at least a pinch-hitting appearance. Maysonet hit his first career grand slam Saturday and is 3 for 4 in the series.

Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair will try to extend the NL's longest on-base streak this season to 30. He is 1 for 10 with four walks in the last two games.

Chicago has dropped 10 of 14 on the road.

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