Jonathan Lucroy helped keep Zack Greinke unbeaten during his career at Miller Park in late May. Greinke can't rely on an offensive explosion every time out and will get the call tonight in the second test of a three-game series versus the Chicago Cubs.
Lucroy belted a pair of homers and finished with three runs scored and seven RBI in a 16-4 pounding of Minnesota in Brew City on May 20. Greinke tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball in that one, improving to 14-0 in 21 career appearances (20 starts) with a 2.60 earned run average at Miller Park. Greinke then lost his next start on May 26 in an 8-5 setback at Arizona, but rebounded in last Thursday's 6-2 triumph in Los Angeles.
Greinke held the Dodgers to a run on nine hits and struck out seven batters in six innings of work, improving to 6-2 in 11 starts and lowering his ERA to 3.46. The right-hander and 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner is 5-1 in his last six decisions and will be eyeing revenge on the Cubs, who defeated him back on April 12 in his season debut. Greinke was reached for eight runs and nine hits in only 3 2/3 frames to fall to 2-2 in four career starts in this series.
The Brewers hope Greinke can get some run support tonight after they were embarrassed, 10-0, in last night's series opener. Yovani Gallardo was hammered for five runs and six hits, including two homers, over six innings. He struck out 10 batters and walked only one, but it wasn't enough to lift Milwaukee, which has dropped two straight and three of four since winning four in a row.
"The numbers don't really match out, (Gallardo) really threw the ball well. He had great stuff," Brewers manager Rob Roenicke said. "(Cubs starter Ryan) Dempster was good, he only have up three hits. He's got a two-something ERA which means you're pretty good."
Cody Ransom had two of the Brewers' five hits, while Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez each had a hit in defeat. Brewers third baseman and former Cub Aramis Ramirez was held out of the lineup for the second straight night Tuesday with a strained left quadriceps. He is day-to-day. Milwaukee fell to 1-3 on a nine- game homestand and will also entertain San Diego in Brew City.
The Cubs broke out the bats on Tuesday and were able to stop an 11-game road losing streak -- the worst since the 1954 campaign.
Alfonso Soriano, Bryan LaHair and Jeff Baker each homered, while Dempster collected his first win of the season. Dempster took a perfect game into the sixth inning and eventually allowed three hits over seven shutout innings. He struck out three and walked zero batters to end an 18-start winless streak.
"(Dempster) did a great job obviously with five perfect innings," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "To finally get off that schneid was nice, he's pitched pretty well all year. For some reason at Miller Park against the Brewers he does the job."
Chicago had dropped four in a row overall until last night's win and is 4-4 since a season-high 12-game losing streak. It is also 1-4 on a 10-game road trip and will also make a stop in Minnesota.
The Cubs have lost each of Paul Maholm's last four starts and will send the left-hander back to the hill on Wednesday. Maholm is 0-2 in his past four outings and was beaten by San Francisco by the bay on Friday, when he gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. The loss dropped Maholm to 4-4 in 10 starts this season and raised his earned run average to 4.82.
Maholm has allowed 15 runs over his last four starts and lost to Milwaukee in his 2012 debut on April 10. In the 7-4 loss at Wrigley Field, Maholm yielded six runs and six hits, including two home runs, in four innings. He is 3-9 with a 4.74 ERA in 20 career starts against the Brewers, and 2-4 in 11 career starts at Miller Park.
Chicago has still lost five of eight meetings with Milwaukee this season and 12 of the past 17 matchups between the NL Central foes.