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Blue Jays aim to keep fleeting postseason hopes alive in Milwaukee

(SportsNetwork.com) - With their postseason hopes fading, the Toronto Blue Jays pay a visit to Miller Park on Tuesday night to begin a brief two-game interleague series with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Milwaukee, on the other hand, has won four straight to pad its lead in the National League Central Division. On Sunday, the Brewers put the finishing touches on a weekend sweep over the Dodgers in Los Angeles with a 7-2 victory.

Jonathan Lucroy gave starter Wily Peralta all the run support he would need with a two-run homer in the first inning and a three-run double in the second. Peralta pitched six shutout innings to earn his major league-leading 15th win of the season.

Toronto currently sits 7 1/2 games back of Baltimore in the American League East and four games off the pace for the wild card. The Blue Jays have struggled of late, with 11 losses in 15 games this month.

Toronto was idle on Monday -- as was Milwaukee -- after suffering a 7-5 road loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison had a rough first inning as he surrendered six runs on a grand slam and a two-run blast. Toronto's offense put some pressure on with four runs in the middle innings and later had the bases loaded in the ninth, but Sox closer Jake Petricka was able to get out of the jam.

Monday's idle date was one of three off-days in a one-week span for the Blue Jays.

J.A. Happ gets the start for Toronto in Tuesday's series opener. The left- hander boasts a 2.51 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break but ran into some trouble in Seattle in his last outing, allowing five runs (four earned) in six innings.

"The results weren't there, so that's obviously frustrating, every game is big, but you can't get too down on this," Happ said. "I felt good, I felt like I was making pitches."

Milwaukee is skipping Kyle Lohse (sprained ankle) in the rotation. In his place steps Mike Fiers, who has allowed just one earned run in two August starts (14 innings) since moving from the bullpen into the starting rotation. He tossed six scoreless frames and notched 14 strikeouts against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Thursday.

"I feel like I've been pitching like this all year," Fiers said. "I kind of got my confidence back from last year, probably in winter ball. Coming into Spring Training, I felt good. I just took off from there. Yeah, I got sent to Triple-A, but it didn't kill my confidence sending me down. I just had to wait for my opportunity and do it now."