The success of the Milwaukee Brewers over the past 17 games has had a lot to do with an effective lineup. Over the same sample size, the Cleveland Indians have leaned heavily on pitching.
The clubs meet Tuesday night at Miller Park, where the Brewers will try to extend their longest home winning streak of the season while beating the Indians for the eighth straight time in their first meeting since 2009.
After completing a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh with Sunday’s 6-1 victory, Milwaukee (41-52) has won four straight at home as part of a 13-4 overall span and can get back to 10 games under .500 for the first time since being 15-25 on May 19. The Brewers are averaging 5.9 runs and batting .310 on the run, a pair of marks that lead the majors dating to June 28.
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Jean Segura has a .404 average in 13 games this month after going 7 for 59 in the last 15 of June, and Ryan Braun is hitting .347 in his last 18.
They’ll face Danny Salazar, who’s coming off the second-longest start of his career. Salazar (8-4, 3.74 ERA) surrendered an unearned run and five hits with eight strikeouts in 8 2-3 innings of a 5-1 home win over Oakland on July 10. The right-hander lasted fewer than five innings in three of his previous four starts.
After Sunday’s 5-3, 11-inning win in Cincinnati, the starting staff’s ERA is 2.67 over the past 17 games.
"You see one of the guys pitch a good game and then you want to go out there and pitch a good game, too," Salazar told MLB’s official website. "We’re competing and having fun at the same time. We’re just pushing each other every day in practice, in the game, and it’s working. We’re going to keep doing that."
He’s never beaten an NL team, going 0-3 with a 5.08 ERA in six starts as all of the losses have come in four starts in NL parks. Adam Lind is 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in their matchups, and the first baseman is in a 2-for-20 slump.
The Indians (44-47) will face Matt Garza, who’s making his first start since going on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis after having allowed at least four earned runs in four straight outings. Garza (4-10, 5.55) gave up four and 10 hits in six innings of an 8-7 win in Philadelphia on July 2, falling to 0-3 with a 7.88 ERA in that span.
"This was just a good spot for the doctor to have his say," Garza said. "He wanted me to skip a start a while back and I didn’t want to, and he thought it was a good time just step back and give it a rest since the last couple of years I missed not weeks, but months."
The right-hander is 2-4 with a 4.81 ERA against Cleveland, but those eight starts came between 2006-10. Michael Bourn (10 for 19) and Brandon Moss (5 for 10 with a home run) have had success off Garza in their careers.
Garza will face a Cleveland lineup that’s stepped it up in the last two games with 14 runs and 24 hits. Francisco Lindor had five of them, and the rookie is batting .355 in his last seven games. Jason Kipnis had four and is hitting .404 in 15 games against the NL this season.