Braves-Brewers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 09, 2012
The Atlanta Braves' pitchers have led the way during a five-game win streak but they might get a stiff challenge from the surging Milwaukee Brewers' lineup. There's a chance, though, that the Brewers might not have Ryan Braun or Corey Hart available when they try to snap a seven-game skid to the Braves on Monday night. Atlanta (81-60) has posted a 0.98 ERA over its last five games and started its win streak with three consecutive shutouts. The Braves had a 31-inning scoreless streak, their longest in 20 years, snapped during an 11-3 rout Saturday in New York and completed the sweep of the Mets with a 3-2 win in 10 innings Sunday. Brian McCann hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly and homered for the second straight game. He had four hits and four RBIs on Saturday after going 0 for 17 in his previous four contests. "We're going to play this thing strong throughout the rest of the way, hopefully into the postseason and beyond that because we're a really good team," McCann told the team's website. The Braves have batted .230 over their last 13 games and have scored three runs or fewer in five of their last six. Their next opponent has had a contrasting performance at the plate lately. Milwaukee (69-71) has batted .292 and averaged 6.2 runs while winning 15 of 20 but missed a chance to get back to .500 for the first time since April 24. Norichika Aoki hit a tying two-run homer in the ninth inning Sunday in St. Louis, but the Cardinals won 5-4 in the 10th. Braun had to leave that game because of a nagging right wrist injury and Corey Hart hurt his left ankle. Braun has an NL-best 38 homers and became the franchise's first player with at least 100 RBIs in five straight seasons Friday. Hart is batting .351 with 20 RBIs over his last 25 games. "I've dealt with it for a while, off and on, and occasionally I take an awkward swing and irritate it," Braun told the team's website. "I'll be all right though." The Braves scored 19 runs in a three-game home sweep of the Brewers from April 13-15 but it was Mike Minor's pitching that helped them win the middle game of that set. Minor (8-10, 4.58 ERA) gave up an unearned run and two hits over 7 1-3 innings in a 2-1 victory, and is coming off another strong start. The left-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out seven during a 1-0 victory over Colorado on Wednesday, his second win in three outings. Minor lost his only start at Miller Park on April 6, 2011, allowing five runs over 4 1-3 innings, and will pitch opposite one of the Brewers' top prospects, Wily Peralta (1-0, 5.14), in this visit. Peralta won his first major league start Wednesday, allowing three runs and five hits over six innings in an 8-5 win at Miami. "Really happy with the way he threw," manager Ron Roenicke told the team's website. "That first outing, you don't know what's going to happen." Peralta, who was recalled from the minors Tuesday, had pitched in only one other major league game, making a relief appearance against Colorado on April 22. Milwaukee's seven consecutive losses to Atlanta have all come at Turner Field. The Brewers won three of four during the previous matchup at Miller Park from April 4-7, 2011.
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