Padres-Brewers Preview

The Associated Press

Will Venable and Nick Hundley are two of the big reasons behind the San Diego Padres' recent surge at the plate.

Facing the Milwaukee Brewers has been another.

Venable and Hundley try to help the Padres match their longest road winning streak of the season Wednesday night against the Brewers.

San Diego (45-56) has broken out at the plate while winning four of six, batting .308 with seven homers and 34 runs. That equaled its scoring and home run totals over the previous 15 games, which included 14 losses and a .200 average.

The Padres' offensive turnaround continued Tuesday as they pounded out 15 hits in a 6-2 win at Milwaukee (41-58) after opening this four-game series with a 5-3 victory.

They last won three straight as the visitor during a series sweep of the Dodgers from April 15-17.

"There's no doubt there was a struggle," manager Bud Black said. "We didn't hit and we didn't pitch. Now, you're seeing better offensive outputs.

"It's no secret. It's good to see guys performing like they're capable of."

Black may be referring to Venable and Hundley, who each had a homer among their three hits Tuesday.

Venable is hitting .232 this season but is 8 for 21 with two homers over his past five games. Hundley is 8 for 18 with a pair of long balls and six RBIs over his last five contests.

"I know they say hitting is contagious or whatever, but it's just the ability to string together good at-bats," Venable said.

Venable's good fortune may continue. He has a .397 average in 18 visits to Miller Park, his best in any NL park.

Milwaukee's starters have surrendered seven runs and 12 hits over 9 2-3 innings in this series, but Kyle Lohse (6-7, 3.49 ERA) has won three of his last four starts versus San Diego behind a 2.63 ERA.

The right-hander earned a 7-1 road victory against the Padres on April 22, allowing one run in five innings.

A meeting at home may be beneficial to Lohse, who owns a 2.28 ERA while winning four straight starts there. He battled through his latest outing Friday, tossing 105 pitches in six innings of Friday's 2-0 win over Miami.

Lohse may not be expecting much help from the lineup, which has a .206 average over the past 11 games. The Brewers have mustered eight hits in this series, their first two games since the announcement of Ryan Braun's season-ending suspension.

"We haven't really hammered the ball for a while," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Some of it is personnel, but I still expect a lot of these guys to have better at-bats."

Sean O'Sullivan (0-1, 6.43) will face Milwaukee for the first time in a spot start in place of Jason Marquis, who is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery.

O'Sullivan is looking to win for the first time since beating the New York Yankees on May 12, 2011. The right-hander, who spent all of last year in the minors, gave up two runs and six hits over five innings in a 10-1 loss to San Francisco on July 12 - his first start since Sept. 27, 2011.

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