Venue: Miller Park
The Milwaukee Brewers have won all nine of Yovani Gallardo's home starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Defeating Wandy Rodriguez, however, could prove difficult.
The Brewers, owners of the worst record in baseball against left-handed starters at 4-16, face another one in Rodriguez in the finale of this three-game set at Miller Park on Sunday.
Gallardo (3-4, 4.50 ERA) is 6-0 with a 2.80 ERA at home against the Pirates, limiting them to a .206 average. The right-hander, however, is looking to avoid losing four straight starts for the first time in his career. He's 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA over his last four outings since beating Pittsburgh 10-4 at home April 29 by allowing three runs over seven innings.
The Pirates (30-19) got revenge by beating Gallardo in a 3-1 home victory May 15 even though he surrendered two runs over six innings. Pittsburgh slugger Pedro Alvarez is 0 for 15 with eight strikeouts against him.
Milwaukee's woes against lefty starters continued in a 5-2 defeat Saturday. Jeff Locke limited the Brewers (19-28) to three hits with seven strikeouts over six scoreless innings as Pittsburgh won for the ninth time in 11 games.
What is curious about the Brewers' record versus left-handers is that their .261 average against them ranks in the top half of all teams.
Ryan Braun is hitting .388 against left-handers and other regulars such as Carlos Gomez (.362), Norichika Aoki (.348) and Jean Segura (.333) are also faring well, yet Milwaukee's record is worse than lowly Miami's 4-15 mark.
"That's still a good offense we're putting out there," Roenicke said. "I look at the lineup, right it down every day and when you look at it and you look at some of the numbers that we're putting up, I expect us to score runs. It's puzzling."
Aramis Ramirez is one of the few Brewers struggling versus lefties with a .214 average.
Rodriguez (5-2, 3.40) is seeking to win four straight starts for the first time since July 2-12, 2009, with Houston. He has posted a 2.37 ERA during his run, and will oppose Gallardo for the third time this year after going 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in the first two.
Rodriguez is 3-8 with a 6.46 ERA in 13 outings at Miller Park. Braun is hitting .386 against him and Ramirez is at .370.
Alex Gonzalez is 2 for 26 versus Rodriguez.
Pittsburgh won Saturday for the eighth time in 53 games at Milwaukee behind Alvarez, who homered twice and drove in three runs. Manager Clint Hurdle said he hoped the performance would boost Alvarez to go on a hot streak even though Gallardo figures to pose a major challenge.
"I'm trying to keep it simple and put a good swing on the ball," said Alvarez, who had batted .120 in his previous eight games. "We just want to go out and compete and if we do that, I know that we'll be successful."
The Brewers placed closer Jim Henderson on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring following Saturday's game, with Francisco Rodriguez earning the save in a 2-1 win Friday.
There haven't been too many chances for manager Ron Roenicke to use his closer. No team has a worse record this month than the Brewers' 5-17 mark.
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