Brewers-Marlins Preview

The Milwaukee Brewers’ Yovani Gallardo has been the best pitcher

in the major leagues for nearly a month, and he’s likely the last

thing the slumping Florida Marlins want to see.

Looking to extend his own run, Gallardo will try to tie the

major league lead with his eighth win as Milwaukee continues a

four-game set with the Marlins on Saturday night in Miami.

After a career-high 14 wins last year, Gallardo got off to a

rough start by going 2-2 with a 6.10 ERA. But beginning May 7 when

he limited St. Louis to one hit through eight innings, Gallardo has

won five consecutive starts with a 1.29 ERA.

On Sunday, the right-hander retired 14 straight at one point and

held San Francisco to four hits over eight innings in a 6-0

win.

“It was just me focused on making pitches,” said Gallardo, who

will try to join Pittsburgh’s Kevin Correia with eight wins. Fellow

seven-game winners Jair Jurrjens of Atlanta and the Cardinals’ Kyle

Lohse are also scheduled to start Saturday.

Gallardo (7-2, 3.89) won his only career start at Sun Life

Stadium last season and is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in three games

versus the Marlins.

He will try to help the Brewers (31-26) post back-to-back wins

in south Florida for the first time since April 10-11, 2007. Ryan

Braun’s first career pinch homer, a two-run shot off Leo Nunez in

the ninth, gave Milwaukee a 6-5 win Friday.

Braun, a collegiate star at Miami, was held from the starting

lineup with a sore shoulder. He leads the team with 13 homers.

“Probably the first time ever in my career I’ve gotten an at-bat

without swinging at all,” he said. “No batting practice, no flips

in the cages, no tee, no nothing. Just kind of went up there,

simplified the game, saw the ball, hit the ball.”

Gaby Sanchez and Mike Stanton went deep for Florida, which

trailed 2-0 after one inning and 4-1 after three before

rallying.

“It hurts because we had our right guys on the mound and the

guys battled back to get the lead and then we relied on those guys

to close the game,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said.

The Marlins (31-24) will now try to avoid a season high-tying

third straight loss and fifth in six games. They will go with Chris

Volstad (2-4, 5.91), who hasn’t won in five weeks and is looking to

bounce back from his shortest outing of 2011.

The right-hander lasted 3 1-3 innings against Arizona on Monday,

allowing five runs and eight hits in a 15-4 loss.

Both of Volstad’s wins came in April at home, but he’s since

gone 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA there.

Volstad is 1-0 with a 0.73 ERA in two career starts versus the

Brewers. He didn’t receive a decision against them June 2, 2010, in

Florida after yielding a run and four hits in 5 2-3 innings of a

7-4 loss.

Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder drove in two Friday with his 12th

homer. He’s hitting .361 with four homers and eight RBIs during a

nine-game hitting streak in Miami, and has two singles in six

at-bats against Volstad.