The Philadelphia Phillies are on the verge of climbing over .500 for the first time this season after sweeping one last-place team. To crack the break-even mark, they could use a better performance against another cellar dweller.
The Phillies, who dropped two of three to Milwaukee this past weekend, will try for an improved showing in a four-game series with the Brewers beginning Thursday night at Miller Park.
Philadelphia (30-30) outscored Miami 20-6 in its three games this week and earned a season-high fourth straight win in Wednesday's series finale. Ryan Howard hit a two-run triple in the seventh inning of that 6-1 victory, and the red-hot Domonic Brown followed with a two-run homer.
"We'll be over .500 tomorrow night if we play good," manager Charlie Manuel told the team's website. "When you get to .500, if we can win some games, like four or five straight, or eight out of 10, we'll be in a good position."
Brown is batting .381 with 11 homers and 24 RBIs in his last 16 games and leads the NL with 18 longballs. He homered three times in the three games against the Brewers (22-36) but couldn't prevent Milwaukee from recording its only series victory since the beginning of May.
Peralta gave up two runs over seven innings in a 4-3 victory Saturday to earn his first win since May 7 in his first start against Philadelphia. Cloyd allowed three runs over seven frames in his first start against Milwaukee and his second straight defeat.
The two will square off again as Philadelphia tries to move above .500 for the first time since it was 81-80 on Oct. 2.
The Brewers enter after dropping two of three to visiting Oakland. They gave up five runs in the seventh in Wednesday's series finale, a 6-1 loss. Milwaukee, losers in 25 of 33 and six of seven at home, is also perhaps dealing with another distraction surrounding Ryan Braun .
The outfielder is under investigation for his link to Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic that allegedly sold performing-enhancing drugs to a number of players. Braun was suspended for 50 games in 2011 after testing positive for elevated testosterone, the same year he won the NL MVP, but that penalty was overturned by an arbitrator.
"I've already addressed everything related to the Miami situation. I addressed it in spring training. I will not make any further statements about it. Truth has not changed," Braun said. "I've dealt with this for two years now. I'm pretty good at avoiding distractions."
Braun was not in the starting lineup Wednesday but manager Ron Roenicke said that was because of a nagging right thumb injury.
Braun is a .377 career hitter against Philadelphia, his best average against any NL team, but went 0 for 3 against Cloyd on Saturday. Logan Schafer was 3 for 3 with a pair of doubles versus the right-hander.
Brown is 9 for 15 with 12 RBIs in his last four games against Milwaukee but went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts Saturday against Peralta.
|May 22, 2013||Chase Utley||Day-to-Day||Sore Ribcage|
|May 21, 2013||Chase Utley||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|May 20, 2013||Ryan Howard||Day-to-Day||Sore left knee|
|May 20, 2013||Carlos Ruiz||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 19, 2013||Carlos Ruiz||Day-to-Day||Strained right hamstring|
|May 11, 2013||Mike Adams||15-Day DL||Right back strain|
|June 04, 2013||Marco Estrada||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|May 25, 2013||Jim Henderson||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 22, 2013||Hiram Burgos||15-Day DL||Right shoulder impingement|
|May 08, 2013||Tom Gorzelanny||15-Day DL||Left shoulder tendinitis|
|May 08, 2013||Tom Gorzelanny||15-Day DL||Left shoulder tendinitis|
|April 28, 2013||Jean Segura||Day-to-Day||Right index finger|
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Tyler Cloyd did what he was supposed to do, and the Philadelphia Phillies got where they wanted to be for a long time.
Delmon Young homered, Cloyd allowed four hits over 6 2-3 scoreless innings, and the Phillies moved above .500 for the first time this season with a 5-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night.
Coming off a three-game sweep of Miami that pulled the Phillies even for the first time since they were 6-6 on April 14, the season-high fifth consecutive win improved their record to 31-30.
"We're happy that some hard work is starting to pay off," Michael Young said after batting leadoff for the first time in almost 10 years. "We're starting to see it in the standings. We're very happy with that style of play right now. We just want to make sure we keep doing that. Keep pushing the envelope."
Cloyd had a big hand in helping the team get above .500.
"He took us where we wanted to go in the game," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "When you allow two runs or less, you stand a real good chance of winning the game.
Cloyd (2-2) limited Milwaukee to singles by Jean Segura , Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez through 6 2-3 innings. When Norichika Aoki singled with two out in the seventh, Manuel brought in Justin De Fratus who retired Segura on a grounder to second.
Philadelphia scored in four of five innings against Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta (4-7).
"Tonight, we got a good start right out of the gate," Manuel said.
Cloyd walked and scored on Mayberry's double in the second. Domonic Brown scored in the third when Erik Kratz hit into a fielder's choice.
"We got some runners on," Manuel said. "We got some runs out of it."
Delmon Young homered in the fifth for his fifth home run in his last 15 games after only having one through his first 17.
Milwaukee's run came in the eighth off Mike Adams when Braun walked, stole second, advanced on a groundout and scored on Jonathan Lucroy 's grounder to third.
The game was a rematch of Cloyd's and Peralta's previous start.
Cloyd lost 4-3 to Peralta on June 1 in Philadelphia, but didn't let that happen again. No Brewer got past second base despite his four walks.
In the loss to Peralta five days ago, Cloyd went seven innings, allowing three runs, two earned, eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Peralta pitched seven innings, allowed two runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out six, matching his season-high and picked up a rare victory.
This time, Peralta threw 30 of his 99 pitches in a shaky first inning as the Phillies went ahead 2-0.
Michael Young opened the game with a single. John Mayberry followed with a single and Jimmy Rollins did the same to load the bases and put Peralta in trouble right away.
"I led off for about two years," Young said. "Probably right around the All-Star Break of `04, that's all she wrote."
Ryan Howard 's sacrifice fly brought in Young. Peralta walked the next batter to load the bases again. With Delmon Young at bat, he bounced a pitch in the dirt that rolled away from catcher Lucroy allowing John Mayberry to score on the wild pitch. Peralta regrouped and struck out Young and retired Kratz on a comebacker to the mound.
That performance wasn't what Brewers manager Ron Roenicke expected from Peralta.
"He just didn't throw the ball where he wanted to," Roenicke said. "A couple ground balls the first two guys and then his command left him. He didn't have his slider today. The hard one he kept trying to throw and he couldn't command it, so he went to a softer slider."
Peralta gave up five runs on eight hits in five innings, walked four and struck out two, losing for the fifth time in his last six starts. The fourth inning was the only one he kept the Phillies off the board.
NOTES: Brewers LHP Tom Gorzelanny will make a spot start Sunday against Philadelphia. He's replacing RHP Marco Estrada who went on the disabled list Wednesday with a strained left hamstring. ... Braun was back in the lineup after sitting out Wednesday's game with a lingering thumb problem. ... Brown was the first Phillies player to hit 10 home runs over a 12-game stretch since Ryan Howard did it Aug. 28-Sept. 8, 2006. ... LHP Cliff Lee (7-2, 2.45 ERA) goes for his fourth consecutive win for Philadelphia on Friday. RHP Alfredo Figaro (0-0, 3.67 ERA), a reliever pressed into the rotation, makes his second start for Milwaukee. ... Michael Young had three singles for Philadelphia.