With Jonathan Lucroy helping both the offense and pitching staff perform at a high level, the Milwaukee Brewers are on the verge of their longest winning streak since April.
The All-Star catcher will try to continue his strong play and Yovani Gallardo looks to turn things around on the mound as the Brewers go for a fifth straight win Friday night against the visiting New York Mets.
After hitting his 12th home run in Thursday’s 9-1 victory in the opener, Lucroy is 6 for 12 with three homers over three straight multi-hit games and is 9 for 22 with two long balls in his past five versus New York.
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Ryan Braun and Khris Davis also went deep for NL Central-leading Milwaukee (58-45), which has totaled 34 runs and hit .329 with 10 homers while winning a season-best five straight at Miller Park.
Lucroy also has been behind the plate while the Brewers have posted a 1.75 ERA in their last four games. They haven’t won five in a row since a season-high nine-game run from April 4-13.
Matt Garza bounced back from his previous rough outing Thursday when he gave up one run and two hits over eight innings. Now the Brewers are hoping to get a similar performance from Gallardo (5-5, 3.79 ERA), who hasn’t won since June 19.
”The bigger thing was I kept this thing rolling,” Garza said. ”Our guys are swinging the bats well.”
Following four starts in which he went 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA, Gallardo is 0-1 with a 6.17 mark in his last four. The right-hander hopes to get back on track by winning his third straight start against the slumping Mets (48-54).
”We are not swinging the bats very well right now,” said New York manager Terry Collins, whose club has totaled 10 runs and hit .157 over its last six games.
Slugger David Wright is 3 for 19 with eight strikeouts when facing Gallardo, but Lucas Duda is 5 for 10 with two home runs and Daniel Murphy is 6 for 15 with three doubles. Duda provided one of the few highlights Thursday with his career-high 16th homer as the Mets lost for the fourth time in six games.
New York’s Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.78) is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his last four starts after allowing one run over six innings at San Diego on Sunday. The right-hander, however, did not factor in the decision while receiving no run support in the 2-1 loss.
Wheeler has pitched well on the road, going 2-1 with a 1.66 ERA in his last six outings. In his only career start at Miller Park, he gave up three runs – one earned – over five innings in a 12-5 win July 5, 2013.
Carlos Gomez went 3 for 3 with a double off him in that contest. The former New York outfielder is 9 for 19 in his last five at home and 12 for 26 in his last five against the Mets after Thursday’s two-hit effort.
Braun is batting .383 with 11 RBIs over a 12-game hit streak for Brewers, who have followed a 1-11 stretch by winning six of eight to open a three-game lead over St. Louis and Pittsburgh.
Milwaukee’s Scooter Gennett could miss his third straight game due to tightness in his quad, but New York’s Ruben Tejada is expected back after missing the opener as a precaution because he was hit in the helmet by a pitch Wednesday.