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Struggling Mets return home to tangle with Brewers

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Mets hope a return home will cure their recent woes, as they begin a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday at Citi Field.

The Mets have lost six in a row after back-to-back sweeps at the hands of the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants, and they went 4-7 on the lengthy road trip, which started with four wins in five games at Philadelphia.

New York's woes continued with Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Giants and starting pitcher Zack Wheeler fell to 2-6 on the season after he gave up four runs in just 3 2/3 innings.

"I needed to go deep into the game," Wheeler said. "I didn't pitch well."

Curtis Granderson had a good day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI, while Daniel Murphy was 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored for the Mets. New York went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded five on base.

The Mets, who are scheduled to host San Diego for three games, will hand the ball to Daisuke Matsuzaka on Tuesday. Matsuzaka is trying to earn a spot in the rotation and is 2-0 with a 3.21 earned run average in 18 games (2 starts) this season. In his last start on Wednesday in a 5-4 loss to the Cubs, Matsuzaka allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings for the no-decision.

Matsuzaka won his only career start against Milwaukee on May 17, 2008 at Fenway Park as a member of the Red Sox. The Japanese right-hander allowed two unearned runs in 6 2/3 innings, struck out six and issued two walks.

The Brewers will try to add to New York's misery Tuesday and won two of three games in Pittsburgh over the weekend. The NL Central-leading Brewers took the series with Sunday's 1-0 win behind a gem from starter Yovani Gallardo, who threw seven scoreless innings, fanned eight and walked one.

Francisco Rodriguez pitched 1 1/3 innings in relief for his 19th save.

Jonathan Lucroy hit a ground-rule double that was picked up by a fan in the seventh inning and scored the game's only run on a ground out for Milwaukee, which won for the eighth time in 12 tries.

"That was a crazy game," said Lucroy, who ended with three of Milwaukee's four hits, including two doubles. "That was one of those games where both starters were on so you knew it was going to be a pitchers' duel and you just have to go out there and grind it out."

Taking the mound for the Brewers Tuesday will be Marco Estrada. Estrada is 5-2 with a 4.19 ERA and 2-0 in his last three starts. He posted a no-decision in last Wednesday's 6-4 loss at Minnesota and gave up four runs in six innings.

Estrada has given up 16 runs in the past four trips to the mound and the right-hander will face the Mets for the seventh time in his career. He is 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA in six appearances (1 start) against them.

Milwaukee won four of seven games against the Mets last season and went 3-1 at Citi Field.