Pittsburgh Pirates (30-55) at Milwaukee Brewers (37-49), 8:10 p.m.
Sports Network | July 9, 2010
(Sports Network) - A pair of slumping National League Central Division also- rans get together to finish the season's unofficial first half tonight when the Milwaukee Brewers host the Pittsburgh Pirates to begin a three-game series at Miller Park.
The Brewers, who finished two games below .500 last season, are 12 below as they head into the final series before the 2010 All-Star break and trail the first-place Cincinnati Reds by 11 1/2 games.
Milwaukee enters the three-game set having lost five straight.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is on pace to mirror its last-place Central Division finish of a season ago, when they went 62-99.
The Pirates are 30-55 thus far this season and sit at the bottom of the six- team loop, 18 games behind the Reds and on a three-game skid heading to Wisconsin.
The visitors send lefty Paul Maholm to the mound in the hopes of reversing the result of his last matchup with the Brewers on May 20. In that game at Pittsburgh's PNC Park, Maholm took a 4-3 loss after allowing four hits and four runs in seven innings.
It dropped his career mark against Milwaukee to 3-6 in 16 starts with a 4.66 earned run average.
He is 2-3 in eight starts since, including a 12-4 loss to Philadelphia on July 3 in which he was raked for 10 hits and eight runs in three innings - raising his season's ERA from 3.98 to 4.50.
For Milwaukee, fellow lefty Doug Davis returns to the rotation for his first appearance since a May 10 loss to Atlanta.
The 34-year-old suffered chest pain after that outing and was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 11 with pericarditis. He made a pair of rehab starts in the minors on the way back, initially at Triple-A Nashville on June 19 and later at Class-A Wisconsin on June 30.
He takes a roster spot left open this week when another starter, Yovani Gallardo, went on the DL with a strain of his left oblique muscle.
Davis is 8-6 with a 4.82 ERA in 22 lifetime starts against Pittsburgh.
On Thursday in Houston, Lance Berkman belted two solo home runs to support Roy Oswalt's complete-game one-hitter in the Astros' 2-0 blanking of Pittsburgh that completed a three-game sweep at Minute Maid Park.
Ross Ohlendorf (1-7) was the hard-luck loser after yielding both runs on seven hits over seven frames while walking one and fanning five for the Pirates.
In Milwaukee, Aubrey Huff hit a two-run homer and knocked in four, as the San Francisco Giants finished off a four-game sweep of the Brewers with a 9-3 win.
Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder each finished with two hits and an RBI for Milwaukee, which has dropped five straight and six of seven.
Manny Parra (3-6) suffered the loss after getting raked for 10 hits and six runs -- four earned -- over five frames. The lefty also struck out five and walked a pair.
Milwaukee has won five of its eight matchups with the Pirates this season.