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Milwaukee at Pittsburgh

Venue: PNC Park
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An incredible run over the last month has vaulted the Milwaukee Brewers into the thick of the NL wild-card race.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are right there with them, but they've hardly resembled a playoff team lately.

The surging Brewers look to continue their astonishing playoff push in Tuesday night's opener with the Pirates, who might be weary after arriving home this morning.

Milwaukee (74-72) and Pittsburgh (74-72) are both 2 1/2 games back of St. Louis for the NL's second wild-card spot, but have taken different paths to get to this position.

While the Pirates squandered several opportunities to move past the Cardinals, having lost 18 of 25, the Brewers are a major league-best 20-6 since Aug. 19, trimming 10 games off their deficit. They've won five of six over Pittsburgh in this stretch.

"A month ago we were out of it," said Aramis Ramirez, who is batting .458 with two homers and 12 RBIs in his last six versus the Pirates. "All of a sudden we got hot. We're right there. We've got a chance."

To improve its chances, Milwaukee has to play well on a crucial 10-game road trip that begins in Pittsburgh, and continues with stops against NL East-leading Washington and Central-leading Cincinnati.

"This road trip is going to be a tough road trip, and we know it," manager Ron Roenicke said.

The Brewers, however, could have the advantage in the opener.

While Milwaukee spent its off day Monday in Pittsburgh, the Pirates split their four-game series in Chicago following a 3-0 win that ended at 1:28 a.m. CDT on Tuesday. The game started Monday at 10:42 p.m. after a rain delay of 3 hours, 37 minutes.

The Brewers have been off since Ryan Braun hit two home runs in Sunday's 3-0 win over the New York Mets. Braun is making a strong push for a second consecutive NL MVP, as he leads the league with 40 homers and is second in RBIs with 103.

Although Braun has been a catalyst to Milwaukee's offense, he's batting .143 with one homer and three RBIs in the last six with Pittsburgh. He is, however, 5 for 12 lifetime against scheduled starter A.J. Burnett (15-7, 3.66 ERA).

The Pirates have lost each of Burnett's last five starts after winning 18 of his first 22. He pitched well enough to win Wednesday in Cincinnati, allowing two runs in six innings, but was saddled with a 2-1 loss. The right-hander has been backed by four total runs of support in his last four starts.

Three starts ago in Milwaukee on Sept. 1, he gave up two runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 3-2 loss.

While Pittsburgh has had no luck behind Burnett lately, the Brewers have won each of Yovani Gallardo's last nine starts, with the righty earning the decision seven times to go with a 2.98 ERA.

Against Atlanta on Wednesday, Gallardo (15-8, 3.72) permitted two runs and four hits in seven innings of an 8-2 victory, the fifth time in six starts he yielded two runs or less.

The one time he didn't pitch well in his last six outings came against the Pirates on Sept. 2, when he gave up seven runs in 4 2-3 innings in a game Milwaukee eventually won 12-8. He had posted a 0.90 ERA in winning his previous five starts in the series.

Andrew McCutchen, who is 3 for 17 in his last four games versus Milwaukee, is 3 for 6 with a homer against Gallardo this season.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Probable Starters

Yovani Gallardo, RHP
2012 stats
186.1 Innings Pitched 174.2
15-8 Wins-Losses 15-7
3.72 Earned Run Average 3.66
72 Walks 56
188 Strikeouts 157
106 Pitches Per Start 98
Career vs. opponent
80.1 Innings Pitched 51.2
8-2 Wins-Losses 2-3
2.80 Earned Run Average 5.23

A.J. Burnett, RHP
Weather
weather image  Rain. Overcast. Cool.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
67°F54°F12mph/SW83%98%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Milwaukee1st NL Central5949.546-5-5 L 3
Pittsburgh2nd NL Central5749.53817-3 W 3
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs A.J. Burnett
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Maldonado330001.000
Braun125015.417
Aoki41001.250
Morgan82013.250
Weeks164013.250
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Yovani Gallardo
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Snider110001.000
McKenry221101.000
Holt42001.500
Mercer21001.500
Tabata84010.500
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Milwaukee -120 Pittsburgh 110
Injuries
Milwaukee
PlayerInjury
J. BianchiElbow
J. HendersonShoulder
T. ThornburgElbow
W. WangShoulder
Pittsburgh
PlayerInjury
C. BarmesGroin
G. ColeLat
S. MarteHead
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
May 5PITSF 11-10Machi Hughes 
May 6PITPIT 2-1Watson Hudson 
May 7PITPIT 4-3Cole Lincecum 
Jul 28SFPIT 5-0Worley Bumgarner 
Jul 29SFPIT 3-1Liriano Hudson 
Jul 30SF 3:45 PM EDT