With Ryan Braun leading the way, the Milwaukee Brewers find themselves on the verge of their longest winning streak in 10 seasons.
Victories, in contrast, haven't been easy to come by for the San Diego Padres - especially at home.
Milwaukee aims for a ninth consecutive win when it continues a three-game set against the slumping Padres on Tuesday night at Petco Park.
After opening 2-8, the Brewers (10-8) have picked up the pace in a big way over the last week-plus. After sweeping a six-game homestand, Milwaukee kicked off a six-game road trip with Monday's 7-1 series-opening victory.
Braun went deep for the fourth time in five days and drove in three runs for the Brewers, who have outscored opponents 46-24 during their eight-game winning streak. They haven't taken nine in a row since a 10-game run Aug. 19-28, 2003.
Braun, who has five homers and 13 RBIs during the winning streak, is now batting .328 with five long balls and 13 RBIs in 16 career road games against the Padres (5-14).
"I just enjoy coming back to the West Coast,' Braun said. "It's always rejuvenating for me. Obviously (Petco Park) is still a challenging ballpark to hit but I've enjoyed hitting here throughout the course of my career, and as a team I think we've enjoyed getting a chance to come here and play.'
San Diego, which was shut out at San Francisco on Saturday on Sunday, has plated three runs while batting .190 during a four-game losing streak. The Padres have also been outscored 32-17 in dropping six straight at home - their longest since a seven-game skid Aug. 26-Sept. 5, 2010.
San Diego could get a boost from Carlos Quentin, who's expected to return following an eight-game suspension for charging the mound against the Los Angeles Dodgers' Zack Greinke on April 11. The left fielder, though, is batting just .174 with no homers in 10 games.
The Padres will try to break through against Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo (1-1, 5.24 ERA), who came out with his best effort of the season just two days after being arrested on a drunken driving charge. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out six over six innings of one-run ball Thursday in 7-2 win over the Giants.
"I think Yo had something to prove and obviously wasn't happy with what happened," manager Ron Roenicke said. "And he was determined to go out there and do whatever he could to pitch well, and he did."
Gallardo has gone 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA over three career starts at Petco. He'll need to be wary of Chase Headley, who's 5 for 12 with a homer against him.
San Diego counters with Clayton Richard (0-1, 5.28), who was supposed to pitch Saturday before falling ill. Having posted a 1.64 ERA over his last two outings, Richard gave up two hits and overcome four walks to throw six scoreless innings in a 2-1 loss to Colorado on April 14.
"We talked about when we pitch well, you'd like to be able to support it with a couple of runs," manager Bud Black said. "That's how it goes when things aren't going your way."
The left-hander has compiled an ugly 10.45 ERA in losing his last two starts in the series, though both came in Milwaukee. He's 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA in two career matchups against the Brewers at Petco
Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy are a combined 8 for 14 against Richard, both taking him deep once. Braun is 4 for 8 in their matchups since the start of 2010.
The Associated Press News Service
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