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National League Preview from The Sports Network

Tuesday, June 5th (All times Eastern)

Chicago Cubs (18-36) at Milwaukee Brewers (24-30), 8:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Ryan Dempster (0-3, 2.90) Milwaukee - Yovani Gallardo (4-4, 4.22)

(Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Brewers hope to have the heart of their batting order back tonight in the opener of a three-game series versus the road-weary Chicago Cubs at Miller Park.

Both Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez were out of the lineup in Sunday's 6-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the finale of a three-game series. Braun has been hampered by a right Achilles injury and Ramirez is bothered by a strained left quadriceps. Braun came on to pinch-hit in the eighth inning and flied out.

"I knew I hit it on the barrel and it had a chance, but I didn't think it was going to get out," Braun said.

Nyjer Morgan, Brooks Conrad and Martin Maldonado all homered for the Brewers, who lost the series to the Pirates but are 7-4 in the last 11 games. Michael Fiers drew the start for Milwaukee and was saddled with the loss, as he was tagged for four runs and eight hits in five innings.

"I think command problems were the reason he got into trouble," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Fiers. "The home run to [Andrew] McCutchen was on 3-2 cutter up and over the plate. I thought we played a good ballgame, they just played a little bit better. It was a tough one to lose."

Milwaukee will resume its nine-game homestand tonight with Yovani Gallardo on the hill and he will try for his third straight winning start. Gallardo threw 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a 7-1 win at Arizona on May 25, then held the hosting Los Angeles Dodgers to three runs in six innings of last Wednesday's 6-3 triumph. Gallardo evened his mark at 4-4 in 11 starts to go along with a 4.22 earned run average.

Gallardo opened the 2012 campaign with a win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field and allowed just a run on five hits in seven innings of a 2-1 victory. The right-hander is an impressive 5-1 in 11 career starts against Chicago with a 2.77 ERA.

Chicago fell back into the loss column by suffering a four-game sweep at the hands of the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs, who ended a 12-game slide with a three-game sweep of San Diego, failed to avoid being swept with Monday's 3-2 loss at AT&T Park.

Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol gave up the go-ahead run in the seventh inning to absorb the loss and starter Jeff Samardzija was reached for a pair of runs through the first five innings in the no-decision.

Shortstop Starlin Castro made a crucial mental error in the fifth inning that allowed the Giants to even the score. Buster Posey walked, Angel Pagan singled and Brandon Belt walked to load the bases with no outs. After Joaquin Arias lined out, Brandon Crawford hit a grounder to second baseman Darwin Barney. The second baseman flipped the ball to Castro, who was covering second, in hopes of starting a double play. Instead of throwing to first, Castro started to jog off the field thinking the inning was over. The tying run scored on the play.

"It's very embarrassing," Castro said. "I apologized to my team and everybody. That kind of thing is not supposed to happen."

The Cubs have dropped 11 in a row on the road and last lost more than 10 straight road games in a single year during an 11-game drought from June 18-29, 1954. They are 0-4 on a 10-game trek and will also visit Minnesota.

Still searching for his first win of the season, Cubs starter Ryan Dempster will handle pitching duties tonight. Dempster did not record a decision in last Wednesday's 8-6 win over San Diego and barely got through 4 1/3 innings by allowing six runs and six hits with four strikeouts and four walks. The veteran right-hander is 0-3 in nine starts to go along with a 2.90 ERA.

Dempster lost to Milwaukee back on April 11 in a 2-1 loss and lasted 6 2/3 frames that day, permitting a pair of runs and five hits. He is 15-6 with 10 saves and a 2.75 ERA in 48 career games (26 starts) against the Brewers.

Chicago has lost five of seven meetings with Milwaukee this season and 12 of the past 16 matchups between the NL Central foes.

06/05 10:47:45 ET