Coming off an emotional series victory over an NL Central rival and 2013 playoff team, the surging Milwaukee Brewers hope to keep riding high while improving on baseball’s best record.
That could be difficult as the San Diego Padres send one of the league’s most surprising hurlers to the mound.
The Brewers seek their fourth straight win Monday night when they open a three-game series against the Padres and Andrew Cashner at Miller Park.
Milwaukee (14-5) ended up with a drama-filled 3-2 victory at Pittsburgh on Sunday when Khris Davis hit a go-ahead home run in the 14th inning. Ryan Braun had sent the contest into extra innings with a game-tying homer in the ninth as the Brewers took three of four in the series.
Pittsburgh’s Travis Snider, Milwaukee bench coach Jerry Narron and outfielder Carlos Gomez were ejected in the third inning after Pirates’ starter Gerrit Cole took exception to Gomez’ bat-flip before he had to haul around the bases for a triple.
Gomez could be hit with a suspension for swinging his helmet after the benches cleared, though he didn’t appear to connect. That might be a big loss since Gomez is hitting .312 with five homers this season and was 11 for 20 versus San Diego in 2013.
Braun, who has gone 5 for 10 with three homers in his last two games, is batting .386 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last 12 at home versus San Diego.
The Brewers have seven homers over their last three games, but now they’ll have to deal with Cashner (2-1, 1.27 ERA). The right-hander has allowed four earned runs while limiting opponents to a .184 batting average in his four starts for the Padres (9-10).
He wasn’t nearly as sharp Wednesday as he was in his previous start when he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Detroit before settling for a one-hitter with a career-best 11 strikeouts. But he gave up two runs – one earned – while scattering nine hits over 7 1-3 innings in a 4-2 home win over Colorado.
”There’s no doubt that he’s going to be talked about as he moves forward,” said manager Bud Black, whose club ranks among baseball’s leaders with a 2.75 ERA.
Cashner has limited opponents to two runs or less in 10 consecutive starts dating to last season, posting an 0.99 ERA. He’s also pitched well against the Brewers, going 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA in eight games – two starts – dating to his time with the Chicago Cubs.
The Brewers hope to get another solid outing from Wily Peralta (2-0, 1.96), who has held opponents to two earned runs or less in each of his first three starts – all Milwaukee wins. On Wednesday, he allowed one run over 6 1-3 innings in a 5-1 home win to snap St. Louis’ four-game winning streak.
”He was a show-stopper,” Jonathan Lucroy said. ”He stopped their momentum and shut them down. He was a lot of fun to catch.”
The Padres wrapped up a 6-4 homestand with a 4-3 loss to San Francisco on Sunday. Nick Hundley homered and Everth Cabrera added two hits as San Diego failed to gain its first sweep.
Cabrera, who has a team-best .329 average, went 4 for 27 versus Milwaukee last season. Will Venable, however, has gone 15 for 33 during a eight-game hitting streak at Miller Park.
The Padres have won four of the last five meetings.