Interleague Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, July 3rd (All times eastern)
Milwaukee Brewers (45-39) at Minnesota Twins (35-46), 2:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Milwaukee - Zack Greinke (7-3, 5.63) Minnesota - Nick Blackburn (6-6, 3.64)
(Sports Network) - Locked in a tie for first place in the National League Central with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers try to separate themselves by closing out their three-game interleague set against the Minnesota Twins on a positive note this afternoon at Target Field.
The Brewers are actually lucky to be in this position at the moment, given that they squeezed by Minnesota in an 8-7 final yesterday in order to halt a four-game slide. It also doesn't help that a team with an amazing 29-11 record at home thus far has posted a mere 16-28 mark on the road.
Nyjer Morgan finished up 3-for-5 with a home run, double, triple and four RBI, and scored the winning run for the Brewers in a four-run ninth inning on Saturday to give the visitors the hard-fought win. Pinch-hitter George Kottaras plated the game-winning run, while Jonathan Lucroy went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI for Milwaukee in the triumph as well.
Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder added doubles for the Brewers. Braun's hit pushed his hitting streak to a career-high 22 games and tied him with Cecil Cooper and Corey Hart for the third-longest streak in franchise history.
Fielder continues to lead the NL in RBI with 69 and is tied for second in the league with 21 home runs, yet he's delivered just one long ball in his last 10 games and only one RBI in the last five.
Takashi Saito worked a scoreless eighth inning to earn the victory and John Axford pitched a perfect ninth to collect his 21st save of the campaign. Milwaukee starter Chris Narveson was shelled by Minnesota hitters who piled up 14 hits and seven runs against him in just 4 2/3 innings of work.
Carl Pavano kept the Twins on top as he permitted just four runs on eight hits, striking out four, through 7 2/3 innings. Unfortunately the bullpen, specifically Matt Capps, was unable to bring home the win for their starter. Capps recorded only two outs but surrendered four runs on five hits as he absorbed his fourth loss of 2011.
Danny Valencia put up three hits and plated three for the hosts as he hit his ninth home run of the campaign. The subject of trade talks of late, Michael Cuddyer added his 11th home run and scored twice in the setback.
A loser in two of his last three outings, Zack Greinke hopes to get better results this time out as he closes the series with Minnesota this afternoon.
The eight-year veteran was stomped on Tuesday by New York as the Yankees recorded seven runs on just five hits and three walks in two innings. Greinke, who surrendered eight runs, yet struck out 10 in 5 1/3 innings versus the Chicago Cubs 12 days earlier, failed to fan a single batter in the 12-2 loss to the Bronx Bombers. He also hit a batter and was charged with a wild pitch versus the Yankees.
Against Minnesota for his career, Greinke is a mere 3-8 with a 4.90 ERA in 15 appearances.
As for the Twins, they'll be leaning on Nick Blackburn to get them through today at Target Field. The right-hander, just 1-2 with a 6.46 ERA in four career games versus Milwaukee, has dropped two straight outings, the most recent of which was a 15-0 thrashing by LA on Monday.
Against the Dodgers the Oklahoma native lasted just 4 1/3 innings and was charged with 13 hits and eight runs, seven of them earned. Despite the lopsided outcome, Blackburn's ERA on the season rose to just 3.64.
Minnesota, which is now 11 games below .500 and nine games off the pace in the American League Central, is trailing in the season series with the Brewers by a count of 4-1 and is now just 7-10 in interleague play this year. Milwaukee is showing a 6-8 mark versus the AL this season.
07/03 10:36:07 ET