Jeremy Hefner got off to a disappointing start to the season, but has since turned things around and proven to be a reliable option in the New York Mets' rotation.
New York hopes Hefner's run of solid starts continues on Sunday as they visit the Milwaukee Brewers for the finale of their three-game series.
Hefner (3-6, 3.54 ERA) opened the season 0-5 with a 4.50 ERA, with the Mets (36-48) losing all nine of his starts. In seven starts since, he is 3-1 with a 2.09 ERA with a walk rate of 1.47 per nine innings. The right-hander issued 3.60 base on balls per nine in his first nine starts.
He held Arizona to a run and four hits over seven innings in a 9-1 win on Tuesday - his seventh quality start in eight games.
"If I give a quality outing, go deep into games, I've done my job," said Hefner, who yielded a solo homer. "If we score runs, then I'll get a win. If we don't, then I might get a no-decision or whatever. Just as long as the team wins, I'm happy.'
He'll look to lock down the Brewers (35-51), who have split their last six games but continued to swing the bats well in a 7-6 victory over the Mets on Saturday. Milwaukee is hitting .294 in its six July games with 11 doubles and 17 walks.
Leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki was 2 for 4 Saturday to extend his hitting streak to six games, during which he's 13 for 29 with four runs driven in.
Logan Schafer finished with three hits, and is 7 for 21 this month after going 12 for 67 (.179) in his first 18 games as a replacement for the injured Ryan Braun.
Milwaukee, which won for the third time in 11 games, will call upon Tom Gorzelanny (1-1, 2.43) in a spot start. The Brewers were initially slated to send Wily Peralta to the mound, but he left his previous outing with a strained left hamstring, and the club opted for extra rest.
"We just didn't want him to go back out Sunday, and all of a sudden in the second or third inning, he feels something again," manager Ron Roenicke told the team's official website.
Gorzelanny didn't record a decision in his only previous start this year, allowing a solo homer in addition to four other hits over four innings in a 4-3 win over Philadelphia on June 8. The left-hander is 4-5 with a 4.53 ERA in 21 games - eight starts - versus New York.
David Wright, who was named an All-Star starter for a fifth time Saturday, is 2 for 12 with five strikeouts versus Gorzelanny since 2008. He is 9 for 29 with a .444 on-base percentage during a seven-game hitting streak.
Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks, who had two hits Saturday after going 2 for 23 in his previous seven contests, homered in his lone at-bat against Hefner on Sept. 15. Hefner worked one inning of relief in his only outing versus the Brewers.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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