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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, July 20th (All times eastern)

Milwaukee Brewers (52-46) at Arizona Diamondbacks (52-45), 9:40 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Milwaukee - Chris Narveson (6-6, 4.74) Arizona - Joe Saunders (6-8, 3.89)

(Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Brewers shoot for another fast start against the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight in the third installment of a four-game series at Chase Field.

Milwaukee remained within striking distance of surprising Pittsburgh for the National League Central lead with an 11-3 pounding of the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. A five-run first inning was highlighted by Corey Hart's leadoff homer and two-run shots from both All-Star Ryan Braun and Yuniesky Betancourt. Braun was back in action after missing several games with leg problems and left after batting in the fifth inning as a precaution.

"We're trying to get him back to where we don't have any setbacks," manager Ron Roenicke said. "We have a plan for him. I don't really want to say what that is, but there is a plan for what we're going to do with him. If we put him out there for nine innings every single game we've got a chance to set him back. We really don't want to do that."

Betancourt went deep twice, finished with four RBI, three hits and three runs scored, while Rickie Weeks homered for Milwaukee, which is a half-game behind the Pirates in the Central with St. Louis just 1 ? games off the pace. Casey McGehee and Jonathan Lucroy had three hits apiece in the win.

Yovani Gallardo earned the win - his 11th of the season - and allowed three runs, one of which was earned, with six strikeouts over six innings.

"The guys came out swinging the bats," Gallardo said. "They were aggressive up at the plate and they put those five runs up in the top of the first, but you can't lose focus too much. [The D-backs] were able to get two of them back in the first inning, and it was still early in the game. You have to keep focus."

The Brewers are 3-3 on an 11-game road trip and will visit San Francisco for three games on the trek. They didn't provide much run support the previous time Chris Narveson took the hill in a 4-0 loss at Colorado last Friday and perhaps that will change after last night's eruption. Milwaukee hopes to push a few runs across the plate Wednesday, when Narveson makes his 20th start of 2011.

Narveson permitted three runs and five hits in six innings against the Rockies to fall to 6-6 in 19 starts with a 4.74 ERA. He had won four of his past five decisions.

"It's about finding what it takes," Narveson said. "It's like when you're pitching, sometimes you have a guy who you struggle to maybe get out. Once you figure that out, things seem to click. I think we're in that rut where we're trying to see what it takes to get those winning ways on the road."

The lefty hasn't fared well away from Miller Park this season, going 1-4 with a 5.59 ERA in 10 road starts. In four career appearances (3 starts) against the Diamondbacks, Narveson is 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA.

Arizona had a three-game winning streak halted and failed to build off of Monday's 3-0 win in the series opener. It is now 3-2 on a 10-game homestand and 4 ? games behind San Francisco for bragging rights in the National League West Division.

Barry Enright lasted three innings on the hill for the D'Backs last night and yielded six runs and seven hits. He was recalled from the minors prior to the game and couldn't dig himself out of a huge hole in the first inning.

"To put the ball down the middle for those guys, in that first inning especially, it's not acceptable," said Enright. "We talked about it before, location is going to be who I am. I'm not going to blow anyone away."

Justin Upton posted two hits and an RBI and Brandon Allen went deep for Arizona, which will also host Colorado for three games in the desert. Zach Duke allowed three runs in two innings of relief. He had made just one relief appearance in his career entering Tuesday.

Joe Saunders draws the start for the D'Backs tonight and is coming off a tough loss last Friday versus the Dodgers. Saunders allowed four runs - three earned -- and five hits, including a two-run homer to Matt Kemp, in six innings of his team's 6-4 loss. He was 6-2 with a 2.73 ERA in 10 starts prior to the LA loss.

"I made two mistakes, two first-pitch fastballs and that was pretty much the difference," Saunders said. "Other than that, I thought I threw the ball OK."

Saunders, a left-hander, is 6-8 with a 3.89 earned run average in 19 starts this season. He is 2-4 in nine home starts and will face Milwaukee for just the second time in his career. In a 12-2 loss last June 14 as a member of the Angels, Saunders was dealt the loss for allowing six runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings of work.

Arizona won two of three meetings with Milwaukee earlier this month at Miller Park, but the Brewers have won 11 of the past 19 contests in this series.

07/20 10:37:58 ET

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