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The Pittsburgh Pirates snapped a seemingly interminable losing streak in Milwaukee during their last visit, and actually left with a series victory.

Any success away from home seems like a distant memory right now.

Pittsburgh has lost 21 of 23 road games since late May, but the Brewers head into Friday night's series opener at Miller Park with their own issues after suffering a four-game home sweep.

The Pirates (30-55) had lost 22 consecutive games in Milwaukee before twice beating Trevor Hoffman in late April, earning two late-inning victories to end their lengthy hex at Miller Park.

Every other opposing venue has been equally inhospitable for Pittsburgh over the past six weeks. The Pirates have been outscored 125-54 while going 2-21 away from home since May 26. They delivered their most inept offensive performance yet Thursday afternoon in Houston, recording one hit in a 2-0 loss to Roy Oswalt and the Astros.

While Milwaukee (37-49) would typically be thrilled to host Pittsburgh, it'll have some serious work to do to erase the memories of its series this week with San Francisco. The Brewers had won 9 of 14 prior to the Giants' visit, but were outscored 36-7 in a four-game sweep that concluded with a 9-3 loss Thursday.

Milwaukee was 3 for 42 with runners in scoring position in the series.

"When you're not hitting, not bringing those guys in, there's a tendency to make the club look worse,'' manager Ken Macha said. "It's just a rut we're in. ... It wasn't a good series.''

Milwaukee may have a good chance to get its offense going against Paul Maholm (5-7, 4.50 ERA). Maholm delivered his second disastrous outing in his last three Saturday against Philadelphia, allowing eight runs and 10 hits over three innings of a 12-4 loss.

The left-hander surrendered seven runs and recorded only three outs in a 13-3 loss at Texas on June 23.

"He was flat,'' manager John Russell said of Maholm's performance Saturday. "He couldn't get the ball down. His breaking ball was inconsistent. He kept misfiring with his changeup. He couldn't get it where he wanted it to."

Maholm is 1-6 with a 5.27 ERA in 13 starts against Milwaukee since 2007. He's allowed four runs over seven innings in each of two starts versus the Brewers this season.

One Brewer who won't relish facing Maholm is Prince Fielder. Milwaukee's first baseman is 3 for 40 with 12 strikeouts against the Pirates' lefty.

The Brewers also send a southpaw to the hill, and there's no telling what Doug Davis (1-4, 7.56) will provide in his first start in nearly two months. Davis hasn't pitched since May 10 because of a heart condition, but looked strong in his last rehab outing for Triple-A Nashville, allowing one run over seven innings.

Davis, who was 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Pirates last season, is excited to return.

"There's only so much you can do on the DL to help your team win," Davis told the Brewers' official website. "Just to get back out there and get on the mound and actually contribute to a winning ballclub is something that you really can't (replicate) on the DL."

Tagged: Brewers, Pirates, Doug Davis, Paul Maholm

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