Brewers-Pirates Preview 2009-05-05

The Milwaukee Brewers are very happy to have Ryan Braun back. The Pittsburgh Pirates can't like the sight of any of them.

Braun could return to the starting lineup Tuesday night and he'd surely enjoy burning the Pirates again, as well as help the Brewers record the majors' longest winning streak by one team over another in nearly 40 years.

A victory by Milwaukee (14-12) would be its 17th in a row over Pittsburgh, which would be the longest such streak since Baltimore beat Kansas City 23 straight times over the 1969 and 1970 seasons.

The Brewers' 16th consecutive win in the series - the last team to do that was Arizona over Cincinnati from 2001-03 - came Monday as Braun's return sparked a 7-4 win.

"It's pretty remarkable. It's not easy to do," Braun said. "It's not going to happen forever, so enjoy it while it lasts."

Braun was in Milwaukee earlier in the day for an MRI on his stiff back. With no structural damage revealed, he flew to Pittsburgh and arrived in the dugout during the game but was not expected to play.

However, Braun pinch hit in the eighth inning and delivered a tiebreaking two-run double. He played left field in the next two innings, and his potential full-time return Tuesday would be particularly helpful if Bill Hall can't go after hurting his hamstring Monday playing in left.

The Pirates (12-13) tied the game in the bottom of the eighth, but Rickie Weeks hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the ninth.

"Unbelievable game," Braun said. "I was not anticipating playing, that's for sure. It's kind of a crazy day, something I've never experienced before."

Weeks batted third in the spot usually filled by Braun, who had missed the previous two games. Though it's uncertain if it directly related to why he was sidelined, Braun was hit between the shoulder blades by a pitch from Pittsburgh's Jeff Karstens on April 27.

Soon after that, Braun underwent a 1-for-12 slump before the Brewers shelved him. He batted .351 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 20 games before that skid.

Braun was angered by the hit-by-pitch - it came in his first at-bat after homering off Karstens.

"It's rare for major league pitchers to miss by that much with the fastball," Braun said after the incident. "We play them about 17 more times. Tell Mr. Selig, we'll see what happens. It'll be interesting."

The following day, Pirates starter Ian Snell struck out Braun three times and criticized the All-Star for his comments.

"You shouldn't say stuff like that," Snell said. "You should just keep your mouth shut because it might come back to bite you in the butt."

If Braun starts Tuesday, he will get another crack at Snell (1-3, 3.72).

In his outing at Milwaukee on Wednesday, Snell gave up one run - a homer to pitcher Yovani Gallardo - and five hits in seven innings in a 1-0 defeat. Snell is 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA in six career starts versus the Brewers.

The right-hander has a 2.16 ERA in his last four starts overall but has gone 1-2. He got nine runs of support in his lone win but received a total of four in his other four starts.

He'll be opposed by Jeff Suppan (1-2, 5.88), who has won his last three starts while posting a 2.95 ERA. The veteran right-hander is 12-3 with a 4.20 ERA versus the Pirates, including 5-0 in his last seven starts against them.

Nate McLouth is 8-for-18 (.444) in four games after missing a week with an oblique injury. He's hit .429 (8-for-14) with two homers against Suppan.

While Pittsburgh has lost six of seven, Milwaukee has won 10 of 13.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: May 5, 2009