Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers are sizzling.
After a dreadful 2-8 start, the Brewers have ripped off eight straight wins and will go for another series triumph Tuesday in the middle test of a three- game set against the San Diego Padres.
The Brewers, coming off a perfect six-game homestand, kept rolling with Monday's 7-1 victory over the Padres in the opener of a six-game road trip at Petco Park. Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer and Yuniesky Betancourt belted a three-run shot to set the tone in the first inning. Braun ended with three RBI and has homered in consecutive games with six RBI in that time.
"I just enjoy coming back to the West Coast, it's always rejuvenating for me," said Braun. "It feels like home. Obviously, it's still a challenging ballpark to hit in, but I think I've enjoyed hitting here over the course of my career and as a team, I think we've enjoyed getting the chance here to come out and play."
Braun owns four homers and 11 RBI in the past five games for the Brewers, who last won eight in row from Aug. 5-13, 2008 and has homered in eight straight games. The Brewers, who are a game off the Central lead, have 15 home runs total in that span after producing just five in the first 10 contests.
Brewers starter Kyle Lohse was having a solid start, allowing just one run on five hits and a walk in five innings but in the sixth, as he was reaching first on a bunt, he bumped into Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko and left the game with a dislocated left pinky. Lohse is expected to make his next start.
"I've done it before, but this time it just wouldn't go back in," Lohse said. "I tried out there immediately because I knew what happened. It wasn't going back in, so they had to numb it up."
Yovani Gallardo will follow Lohse on the mound Tuesday and won for the first time this season in last Thursday's 7-2 decision over San Francisco. Gallardo held the defending World Series champions to a run and five hits in six innings, striking out six and walking one.
Gallardo is 1-1 in four starts with a 5.24 earned run average. The right- hander will make his seventh career start against San Diego and owns a 3-2 record to go along with 4.19 ERA in the first six appearances.
The Padres have lost four in a row and nine of 12 games. In Monday's lopsided loss in the lid-lifter of a six-game homestand, Jason Marquis had a night he would like to forget and gave up seven runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings.
A five-run first inning did the Padres in.
"Today, we got behind the 8-ball early," Padres manager Bud Black said. "But overall, we outhit them, we made some good plays in the field. Just a complete game, we're not playing. Now we got to do that more often, we just can't do it here and there."
Gyorko had two hits and Anthony Bass was credited with the lone RBI for San Diego, which will also host San Francisco on this residency and is winless in six straight at Petco Park.
Hoping to end the home drought for the Padres Tuesday will be Clayton Richard. The left-hander has posted back-to-back no-decisions and pitched well in a 2-1 loss to Colorado last Sunday. Scratched from his last start because of the flu, Richard gave up two hits in six shutout innings versus the Rockies.
Richard, who is 0-1 with a 5.28 earned run average in three starts, sports a 2-2 record and a 4.64 ERA in six career starts against Milwaukee.
San Diego lost five of the nine meetings with Milwaukee last season.