Pirates-Brewers Preview

The Associated Press

Maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates' fortunes at Miller Park are taking a turn for the better. They are in position for a rare series victory in Milwaukee, with Ryan Braun's status in doubt.

The Pirates can capture a road set against the Brewers for the second time in the last six seasons Saturday night, and it's not clear if Braun will play.

Pittsburgh (26-25) won for the fifth time in its last 43 games at Milwaukee (23-29) with Friday's 8-2 victory in the opener of this three-game series. The Pirates' lone series triumph at Miller Park since the start of 2007 came when they took two of three April 26-28, 2010.

"We know about it," said Pirates starter Kevin Correia about the team's woes in Milwaukee. "I don't think it affects the way we approach the game or the way we're going to play. But it makes it a lot nicer when we do get wins here."

Pittsburgh's task figures to be easier with Braun not at 100 percent. The reigning NL MVP left Friday's game following the seventh inning after he aggravated lingering tightness in his right Achilles tendon and strained his right hip.

Braun sat out Thursday's 6-2 win over the Dodgers because his Achilles was sore.

"The danger in trying to play through an injury constantly, is it's easy to re-irritate it," Braun said. "Your body also compensates so it's easy to hurt something else. I don't think it's too bad, but it doesn't feel too good right now."

Braun seemed to insist he didn't want another day off but manager Ron Roenicke said he wasn't sure if the slugger would be available Saturday.

"We need to have him in the lineup," Roenicke said. "We need that bat there."

Milwaukee returned home after sweeping four games on the West Coast against the major league-leading Dodgers. Braun felt fatigue was a factor due to the travel after a Thursday night contest.

"I don't think we had too much wind after landing at 7 in the morning," he said. "You just turn the page and remember the fact that we played really well the last four days and hopefully tomorrow we get back on track."

Pittsburgh can move two games over .500 for the first time. The Pirates have won six of seven with their starters posting a 1.70 ERA in that span.

Erik Bedard (3-5, 3.12 ERA) is one of three Pittsburgh starters to not allow a run in an outing over those seven games with six innings of two-hit ball in Sunday's 10-4 win over the Cubs.

The left-hander has never faced the Brewers. He has pitched to one healthy Milwaukee hitter - Carlos Gomez.

The Brewers counter with Shaun Marcum (3-3, 3.63), who went 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA in four starts against the Pirates last year. He has fared well against Pittsburgh's top two hitters, limiting Andrew McCutchen to one hit in eight at-bats and Neil Walker to one in 11.

The right-hander earned a 3-2 victory Monday in Los Angeles by allowing one run over seven innings with a season-high nine strikeouts.

Brewers infielder Rickie Weeks, whose .158 average is the majors' lowest among qualifying hitters, was a last-minute lineup scratch Friday because of an illness.

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