A favorable schedule is a big reason why the red-hot San Francisco Giants could be atop the NL West for the first time in two months.
The Giants attempt to again capitalize on the last-place Milwaukee Brewers and match their longest home winning streak of the season Tuesday night.
San Francisco (55-44) was 5 1/2 games behind division-leading Los Angeles on July 10. However, a 12-1 stretch has the deficit down to one-half game.
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"We've been playing good baseball," Brandon Crawford said. "This is kind of what we were looking for."
The Giants last led the West on May 29 and the schedule is providing a chance to get back there. They're in a fifth straight series against an opponent with a losing record, and their seven consecutive victories over the Brewers (43-57) match their longest streak in the all-time series set from 2002-03.
San Francisco's 4-2 win over Milwaukee on Monday extended its home winning streak to seven games, one shy of its season high from April 21-May 5.
The Giants are averaging 6.2 runs and hitting .324 over the last 13 games with Buster Posey's .469 average leading the way.
Matt Duffy is hitting .414 in the last 13 and he doubled on of his three hits in the opener of this three-game set. He leads all rookies with a .307 average, and is 7 for 17 in six career matchups with the Brewers.
Crawford had a two-run shot Monday, and is 9 for 22 with three homers and six RBIs in the last six games.
San Francisco turns to Matt Cain (2-1, 4.09 ERA), who is starting to feel comfortable on the mound after being out a year recovering from elbow surgery and a forearm flexor strain.
The right-hander allowed one run with six strikeouts in six innings of a 7-1 win at San Diego on Wednesday. That came five days after he gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings of a 6-5 loss at Arizona.
"The biggest thing is to be getting back out there and having fun with it," Cain said. "Everything is coming back together, being able to throw with these guys after having such a long break."
He's 0-2 with a 3.15 ERA in his last three home starts against Milwaukee with the last meeting coming in 2013.
The Brewers are sending Wily Peralta (1-5, 4.00) to the mound for the first time since May 22, when a strained left oblique forced him to leave after four innings of an 11-0 win at Atlanta.
The right-hander allowed two runs with 12 strikeouts in 11 1-3 innings in three rehab starts.
"I finally feel 100 percent," Peralta told MLB's official website. "No pain, I don't feel anything. It's good to be back with the team."
Peralta gave up six runs and nine hits in three innings of a 13-2 loss at San Francisco on Aug. 29. He had won the two previous matchups by allowing one earned run in 13 innings.
He's allowed Crawford to go 3 for 9 with a homer off him.
It's unclear if Ryan Braun will be back in the lineup after he missed a game with lower back tightness. The All-Star slugger is a .346 hitter with seven homers and 16 RBIs in 19 career games in San Francisco, and he's 9 for 25 (.360) against Cain.