Athletics-Brewers Preview

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MILWAUKEE -- It will be hard for Zach Davies to top his last performance, when he spun eight shutout innings in a 3-1 victory over the Cardinals, but he'll take a shot Tuesday when the Milwaukee Brewers host the Oakland A's in an interleague matchup at Miller Park.

Davies posted an 8.78 ERA in his first three starts this season but since his record is 3-0 with a 2.97 in six outings while setting a career-high with nine strikeouts his last time out.

"It's hard to get much better than that," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Davies' outing against St. Louis. "That's certainly what he's capable of, against a very good offensive team; he has the ability to pitch like that. It's fun to watch when a guy pitches like that."

Milwaukee also expects to have left-fielder Ryan Braun back in the lineup Tuesday. Braun got a maintenance off-day Sunday and received treatment on his back and neck, which had kept him out of action for a stretch of seven out of eight games last month.

"It (was) preventive as much as anything,"Counsell said. "So we can get him to play 6-7 (games) in a row."

Braun's next hit will be the 1,500th of his career.

He'll try and get that hit against Oakland left-hander Sean Manaea (2-3, 6.16 ERA), whose rookie season has been quite a struggle. He showed improvement his last time out, holding the Twins to a run over six innings to earn his second victory of the season.

"The first couple of starts of the season, I wasn't comfortable at all," Manaea told the San Francisco Chronicle after that outing. "But as the season has gone on, I realize it's just baseball. ... The hitters are better, but I can still get them out with the stuff I have."

The game marks a homecoming of sorts of A's left fielder Khris Davis, who took over when Braun was suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season and spent two-and-a-half seasons in Milwaukee's starting lineup.

He hit 33 of his 74 career home runs at Miller Park, where he posted a .269 average with 91 RBIs while with the Brewers, who dealt the 28-year-old to Oakland in February for catching prospect Jacob Nottingham.

"It was a good steppingstone for me, but at the same time, I moved on," Davis told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's going to be a fun series, as long as we win."

Also returning to Milwaukee will be A's reliever John Axford, who spent his first four big league seasons with the Brewers and led the majors with 46 saves as Milwaukee won the NL Central and advanced to the NLCS in 2011.

The short interleague series is sandwiched between two off-days for the A's, who were swept over the weekend in Houston and will travel on to Cincinnati when they leave Milwaukee.

The Brewers split two of four in Philadelphia last weekend, return home to kick off a week-long home stand that will include four games with the defending National League Champion New York Mets.