Brewers aim to set single-season home mark in clash with Marlins
In a season of firsts for the Brewers, today represents a field advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
With Friday night's win, Milwaukee wrapped up the NL Central championship, its first division title since moving to the National League and the team's first crown since capturing the AL East in 1982. With last night's 6-4 victory, John Axford notched his 45th save of the year, which moved him past Francisco Cordero (2007) for the single-season franchise record.
It was also the 54th home win for the Brewers, tying the franchise record for most such victories in a season (54-27 in 1978). They can break the record today in the finale of a three-game series with the Florida Marlins.
More importantly, the Brewers are one game ahead of NL West champion Arizona for the second-best mark in the NL, behind Philadelphia. After today, the Brewers host Pittsburgh for three to conclude the season.
Milwaukee's Chris Narveson is 0-2 over his last three appearances, including one relief effort. The lefty lasted just four innings in a loss to the Cubs on Monday. He is 0-2 with a 5.60 ERA in three career starts against the Marlins.
Ricky Nolasco toes the rubber for the Marlins. He's coming off a no-decision against the Braves on Monday. In that outing, a 6-5 win on a walk-off home run by Omar Infante, Nolasco pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed five runs -- four earned -- on five hits. He faced Milwaukee earlier this season on June 3, but did not factor in the decision, a 6-5 loss for the Fish. He is 1-1 with a 7.99 ERA (23.2 IP/21 ER) in five career starts against the Brewers.
Last night, Corey Hart sparked a three-run seventh inning with a pinch-hit, two-run double. Ryan Braun had an RBI double in the seventh and knocked in a total of two runs for the Brewers. Yuniesky Betancourt hit a solo homer for Milwaukee, which got an RBI from Prince Fielder.
"The day after is always a concern," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Saturday's victory. "We came out and played a really good ball game."
Brewers starter Zack Greinke gave up four runs on nine hits over five innings. He struck out six and walked five. LaTroy Hawkins (2-1) tossed a scoreless seventh to pick up the win. Greinke went 11-0 in 14 home starts this season.
Emilio Bonifacio and Infante homered for the Marlins, who have lost four of six.
"We had so many chances early to break the game open and couldn't come through with that hit," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said.
The Brewers swept a four-game series in Florida from June 3-6 and have won seven straight and nine of the last 10 meetings.