Brewers-Twins Preview

Suddenly the Milwaukee Brewers have momentum, and a win from

Zack Greinke would help build more of it.

Coming off their biggest comeback road victory in 28 years, the

Brewers hope Greinke can end his losing streak against the

Minnesota Twins in the conclusion of a three-game series Sunday at

Target Field.

Milwaukee (45-39) lost the first four of its six-game trip

before erasing a seven-run, fifth-inning deficit to beat Minnesota

8-7 on Saturday. The Brewers scored four times in the ninth off

closer Matt Capps, capping their largest comeback win as the

visitor since scoring the final 11 runs in an 11-7 win at Cleveland

on Sept. 20, 1983 – one month and one day before Greinke was

born.

“From where we were sitting on this road trip, having a tough go

and a tough go in this game too, putting a four-spot there against

a pretty good closer to seal that win was awesome,” said closer

John Axford, who tossed a perfect ninth for his 21st save of the

season. “You can just feel all the energy in the clubhouse right

now.”

The Brewers, tied for the NL Central lead with St. Louis, have

won eight of their last nine meetings with Minnesota, but Greinke

(7-3, 5.63 ERA) hasn’t been so fortunate.

The right-hander has lost his last four starts against the Twins

– all with Kansas City – while compiling an 8.18 ERA. He’s 0-5 with

a 4.64 ERA in seven career starts at Minnesota, with three of those

losses coming at Target Field.

Greinke is also 2-3 with a 7.77 ERA in five road starts this

season, losing his last two while allowing 15 runs in 7 1-3

innings.

He struggled in the opener of this trip Tuesday, surrendering

seven runs in two innings of a 12-2 loss to the New York

Yankees.

Ryan Braun is batting .366 with three homers and 19 RBIs during

a 22-game hitting streak. Extending the streak Sunday would make

his run the longest by a Brewer since Paul Molitor’s

franchise-record 39-game streak in 1987.

Braun is 7 for 12 with four doubles against Minnesota’s

scheduled starter, Nick Blackburn (6-6, 3.64).

Despite Saturday’s collapse, the Twins are 10-2 in their last 12

at Target Field.

“One thing that this team has done well of is regrouping; come

in the next day and worry about the next day,” said Michael

Cuddyer, who had two hits including a homer Saturday for Minnesota

(35-46). “To say it’s emotionally draining, yeah, it’s a tough

loss, there’s no question about that. But I think we’ll be able to

regroup and come out (Sunday) and put this one in the rearview

mirror.”

Danny Valencia, whose error in the sixth Saturday was followed

by a two-run shot from Nyjer Morgan, is hitting .333 with three

homers and eight RBIs in his last seven home games.

He’s 7 for 21 with two homers and seven RBIs this season against

the Brewers, and 3 for 4 with a home run lifetime off Greinke.

Blackburn is trying to rebound from a 15-0 loss to the Los

Angeles Dodgers on Monday, when he got tagged for eight runs and 13

hits in 4 1-3 innings.

The right-hander has posted a 12.64 ERA while losing four

consecutive interleague starts. That includes his last meeting with

Milwaukee on June 24, 2010, when he allowed five runs and served up

homers to Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder in 3 2-3 innings of a 5-0

defeat.

Blackburn is 1-2 with a 6.46 ERA in four career starts against

the Brewers.