Published July 14, 2013
| Sports Network
Assured of heading into the All-Star break atop the NL West, the Arizona Diamondbacks aim to secure their first ever four-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday afternoon.
The Diamondbacks have won four in a row overall and are undefeated in six meetings with the Brewers this season. The clubs meet today for the final time this regular season and Arizona has claimed nine of the last 11 encounters overall.
Milwaukee seemed poised to finally get the better of Arizona on Saturday, using a three-run sixth inning to build a 4-1 lead. However, the D'backs got a run back in the bottom of the frame on a Didi Gregorius homer and then plated three runs in the seventh for a 5-4 triumph.
Jason Kubel got the rally started with a solo homer off Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse, who took a perfect game into the fifth inning before struggling late. He put the next two runners on before giving way to John Axford, who yielded a run-scoring single to Gregorius prior to walking a pinch-hitting Eric Chavez with the bases loaded.
"We never back down. We fight hard. We never give up," said Gregorius.
With the win, Arizona reached 50 victories before the break for the first time since 2003 and maintained a 2 1/2-game edge over the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top spot in the division. The Diamondbacks have won eight of their last 11 overall, though the three setbacks came in the form of a sweep by the Dodgers.
Jonathan Lucroy hit his fifth homer in seven games, a two-run shot in the sixth inning, but Milwaukee still went on to lose its fourth straight.
"You make mistakes and you pay for it," Lohse said. "(The D'backs are) big league hitters. You fall behind and make the wrong pitch, they're going to hit it hard and sometimes it goes out."
Hoping to prevent the sweep is Wily Peralta, who takes the hill today five days after throwing the first complete game of his career.
Peralta, who has not allowed a run over his past two outings, scattered three hits and four walks in going the distance on Tuesday in a 2-0 win over Cincinnati. The right-hander accomplished the feat with his mother in the stands to watch him pitch professionally for the first time and it was the first complete game for a Brewers hurler since April 5, 2011.
"Wily had outstanding command today. His slider was working well, and as the game went on he had some really good change-ups," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "As you watched him on the mound you could see his confidence grow, you could see it in his body language."
The 24-year-old is 6-9 with a 4.82 earned run average in 19 starts this season and faces the Diamondbacks for the first time.
The Diamondbacks hope to get Ian Kennedy on track on Sunday ahead of the All- Star break as the right-hander has not won since June 1. He has sandwiched four straight no-decisions in between a pair of losses and is coming off a 6-1 setback to the Dodgers on Tuesday.
Struggling with his command, Kennedy was charged with six runs -- five earned -- on nine hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings. He fell to 3-5 on the year in 17 starts with a 5.31 ERA.
The 28-year-old is 2-2 lifetime versus the Brewers in six meetings with a 3.49 ERA and did not factor into an April 7 outing against them after allowing four runs over six frames.