MILWAUKEE (CBSMiami/AP) – Baseball is entering its annual ‘crunch time’ and nobody knows that better than the teams vying for a playoff spot.
Though wins have been scarce for the Milwaukee Brewers of late, they haven’t given up on reaching the postseason.
The Brewers look to win back-to-back games for the first time in more than two weeks Thursday night against the visiting Miami Marlins.
Milwaukee (75-71) has dropped 16 of 20, but the club has not lost its drive to remain a serious playoff contender. Recent call-up Matt Clark hit his first career home run and Wily Peralta earned his 16th win to help the Brewers snap a four-game skid with a 4-1 victory over Miami on Wednesday.
“If we keep motivated and keep fighting … I think we’ll get some wins,” Peralta told MLB’s official website.
The Brewers, who last won two straight contests Aug. 24-25 and haven’t done so at Miller Park since a three-game run Aug. 7-9, remain tied with Pittsburgh, 1 1/2 games out of the final wild-card spot.
They’ll turn to Mike Fiers (5-2, 2.03 ERA), who is 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA as a starter since being recalled from the minors to join the rotation Aug. 9.
After yielding three runs in seven innings of a 3-1 loss at San Francisco on Aug. 30, Fiers allowed two in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-2 victory over St. Louis on Friday.
“I just wanted to give them a quality start, keep the runs as low as possible and give our team a chance to win,” the right-hander said.
The Florida native is 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA against the Marlins, though both outings came back in 2012.
With two hits Wednesday, Milwaukee’s Gerardo Parra is batting .405 in his last 10 games but is 2 for 11 with three strikeouts against Nathan Eovaldi (6-10, 4.19).
The Marlins (71-73) have scored eight runs with Eovaldi on the mound during a 12-start stretch in which he’s gone 1-7 with a 4.90 ERA. The right-hander has received three runs of support and gone 0-4 with a 5.27 ERA while the Marlins dropped his last five outings.
He gave up all three runs in the fourth and struck out seven in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-3, 10-inning loss to Atlanta on Saturday.
Eovaldi allowed six runs over 18 innings despite losing his first three starts versus Milwaukee, then gave up six over four in a 6-0 loss at Miller Park last season in his most recent outing against the Brewers.
Looking to homer in a career-high fourth consecutive contest, Miami’s Marcell Ozuna is 12 for 24 with nine RBIs in the last six games. He’s 8 for 14 with five RBIs while homering in four straight games against the Brewers after going 2 for 31 without an RBI in his first eight versus Milwaukee.
Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun expects to be in the lineup after not starting Tuesday and sitting out Wednesday because of an injury to his right thumb. Braun is batting .171 with 16 strikeouts in his last 12 games.
“I want to try and get this guy as good as we can get him,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “If he swings the bat better when we get him back, that’s the right move.”
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