Published January 13, 2015
The Milwaukee Brewers have suddenly stepped up their game and are in line for a series victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. The two clubs will close out a four-game set Sunday at Miller Park.
The Brewers lost the opener of this series on Thursday, but have responded with back-to-back one-run victories. Following Friday's 5-4 win on an RBI single from Aramis Ramirez, Jean Segura homered and Ryan Braun collected three hits and a run scored in Saturday's 4-3 triumph.
Milwaukee had a four-run advantage at one point, while Tom Gorzelanny and four relievers were able to maintain the lead for the club's fifth win in nine tries. Four of those wins have come against the Phillies. Milwaukee won two of three at Philadelphia last weekend.
In his first start of the season, Gorzelanny allowed one run and five hits over four innings in the no-decision and Tyler Thornburg tossed two scoreless innings for the win. Francisco Rodriguez posted his fourth save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
"Pretty much all year they've been pretty solid," Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said of the bullpen. "It's kind of a bad thing, but they have been in games a lot more than they should here, lately. They've gotten a lot more exposure out there and showed how good they are."
The Brewers are 3-3 on a seven-game homestand and will start a nine-game road trip Monday against Miami, Cincinnati and Houston. They are expected to activate closer Jim Henderson off the disabled list prior to Sunday's game and he has been shelved since May 24 with a strained right hamstring. Henderson, a right-hander, tossed a one-inning rehab assignment at Class A Wisconsin on Friday night, throwing 14 of his 19 pitches for strikes.
Henderson (2-1, 0.92 ERA) has nine saves and 23 strikeouts in 20 games this season (19 2/3 innings).
Rickie Weeks is starting to break out of his slump and has hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games, batting .317 in that time. Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 11 games and is hitting .289 with five RBI in the stretch. Braun has hit safely in seven of nine contests.
Nicked up with elbow and hamstring issues, Kyle Lohse will take the mound Sunday for the Brewers. Since his only win of the season on April 22 at San Diego, Lohse is 0-5 with a 5.53 earned run average in seven starts and previously took the mound in Tuesday's 4-3 win over Oakland.
Lohse did not figure into the decision and allowed three runs in six innings of work. He said he tweaked his leg running the bases in the third inning.
"I couldn't come out and leave the bullpen six innings to pitch," Lohse told the club's website. "I just tried to get through it and did the best I could. It wasn't real bad, but I had to make some adjustments mechanically to get through it.
"You're always going to have something. I was just doing what I could to keep us in the game."
The right-hander is 1-6 with a 4.39 ERA in 11 starts this season and 0-2 in five trips to the Miller Park mound. In 12 career starts against the Phillies, Lohse is 3-4 with a 3.18 ERA.
Philadelphia aims for a split of this Milwaukee series and has been dealt two straight losses since Thursday's 5-1 win.
The current slide comes on the heels of a season-best five-game winning streak. Kyle Kendrick got the start Saturday and allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings to absorb the loss.
"We had some chances to score but we couldn't take advantage of them," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Kendrick kept us in it, they could have scored a lot more."
The red-hot Domonic Brown connected on his 19th home run and drove in three for the Phillies, who have homered in 13 straight games, the longest streak since going deep in 18 consecutive games in 2008, when they won the World Series. Brown has helped those numbers with 11 homers in the last 15 games, while 11 of his past 23 hits left the yard.
"We fought hard all night. You can't win them all," Brown said after Saturday's loss. "Come back tomorrow and fight."
Brown is hitting .524 with four home runs and 11 RBI in six games against the Brewers this season.
In injury news for the Phillies, catcher Erik Kratz injured his left knee on Saturday and was placed on the disabled list. Catcher Steven Lerud was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley in a corresponding move. Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz is currently sidelined with a hamstring issue, while Kratz has eight homers and 22 RBI.
Philadelphia will resume its 10-game odyssey Tuesday at Minnesota, followed by a series in Colorado.