Preview: Brewers at Giants
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Milwaukee Brewers will be gunning for their first four-game series sweep in San Francisco when the National League playoff hopefuls meet again Sunday afternoon.
In a series that began with 5 1/2 games separating the two in the NL wild-card race, the Brewers have opened a larger gap with 7-5, 3-1 and 7-1 wins.
Brewers right-hander Junior Guerra (6-6, 3.13 ERA) and Giants lefty Andrew Suarez (3-6, 3.99) form the pitching matchup Sunday in a duel of hard-luck starters.
Jhoulys Chacin threw seven strong innings in Saturday's 7-1 victory, one that clinched the Brewers' first series win in San Francisco since 2010.
Now they'll try to do one better, improving one win upon the franchise-best, 3-0 series sweeps they recorded in San Francisco in 1999 and 2008.
Chacin's performance allowed the Brewers' big weapons in the bullpen to take a day off. That made two straight for All-Star Josh Hader, who worked 1 1/3 innings of hitless relief in the series opener Thursday.
So far in the series, the Milwaukee bullpen has pitched a full nine innings, allowing seven hits and three runs.
Milwaukee newcomers Joakim Soria and Mike Moustakas both have been introduced to a winning situation in the series.
Soria, acquired Thursday from the Chicago White Sox, pitched a scoreless seventh in Friday's 3-1 win.
Moustakas, picked up from the Kansas City Royals on Friday, helped produce the final run of Milwaukee's 7-1 win Saturday night with his only hit in five at-bats, a single.
Moustakas' start at third base meant Travis Shaw was pushed over to second for the first time in his career.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder handled three chances flawlessly in the game, a grounder, a line drive and a pop fly.
The Brewers played error-free ball in the game. They've made only one error in the series.
Guerra would love to get the type of run support the Brewers have provided their pitchers in the Thursday and Saturday games. He's allowed one earned run or fewer in 11 of his 19 starts, yet has only a 4-1 record to show for those outstanding efforts.
He had that type of performance in the only previous outing of his career against the Giants last June. He allowed one earned run in five innings but wound up with no decision in what turned into a 7-2 loss.
He's 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA against the Giants.
Suarez, a rookie, has never faced the Brewers. He's 1-3 at home this season in eight starts despite a fine 3.35 ERA.
Suarez is winless in July (0-2) even though he's allowed only nine runs in four starts.
Guerra and Suarez are two of 13 pitchers with non-winning records in the NL this season who have made at least 15 starts with an ERA less than 4.00.
The Giants have lost six of eight since the All-Star break but won Suarez's lone start 4-3 with a run in the ninth Tuesday at Seattle. He did not get a decision in the win.
San Francisco has lost all four games since.