MLB

Pirates-Brewers Preview

The Milwaukee Brewers are in position for their first home sweep and will send a rookie to the mound who has already made quite an impression on the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Taylor Jungmann won his big-league debut over Pittsburgh less than two months ago and seeks his first home win in Sunday's three-game series finale.

Milwaukee (40-52) can post its first four-game home win streak as it hands the ball to Jungmann (4-1, 2.15 ERA), who allowed one run over seven innings June 9 to earn a 4-1 victory at Pittsburgh.

"He was keeping us off-balance with his curveball and missing barrels," Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer said after that contest. "We hit a few balls hard off him, but nothing to show for it."

Jungmann is a 2011 first-round pick who posted a second straight victory last Saturday with a three-hitter for his first complete game in a 7-1 rout of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He famously threw a complete game in the 2009 College World Series final for Texas.

"The way he's throwing, he's going to keep getting better and better," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "There's no reason why he can't be a dominant force on our staff for a while."

The right-hander is 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA in two home starts - both lost by Milwaukee via shutout.

Pittsburgh (53-37) went into the All-Star break winning 13 of 16 before stumbling in this series. Pedro Alvarez is 0 for 7 in the two games and committed his 15th error in Friday's 4-1 defeat.

The Pirates were forced to turn to fill-in starter Vance Worley in Saturday's 8-5 loss after Francisco Liriano was scratched 20 minutes before the game began due to neck stiffness after a bad night of sleep.

The change from a left-hander to a right-hander caused Brewers manager Craig Counsell to insert Gerardo Parra and Scooter Gennett into the lineup since both often sit against lefties. They combined for four hits.

The Brewers fell behind 3-0 in the first inning and didn't score in the bottom half before scoring in each of the next six innings. Lucroy, Aramis Ramirez and pinch-hitter Khris Davis all homered.

"I was really proud of the guys," Counsell said. "We didn't get off to a good start but we played a good game the rest of the game."

It's not clear who will sit Sunday against Pittsburgh left-hander Jeff Locke (5-5, 4.03), who is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two 2015 starts against Milwaukee. Gennett started once and Parra did not start either of those games.

Locke gave up four runs - one earned - over five innings July 9 in a 4-1 loss to St. Louis. His road ERA is 7.28 compared to 2.58 at home.

Carlos Gomez is 6 for 18 off Locke, Lucroy is 6 for 17 and Ryan Braun is 8 for 23. Davis is 1 for 16 in this matchup, though he often starts against lefties.

The Brewers have won 12 of 16, with their starters going 8-3 with a 3.43 ERA. A victory Sunday would mark the ninth time in 10 years Milwaukee has swept a three-game home set from Pittsburgh.

"We've got guys swinging the bats well and the starting pitching, it's so important," Counsell said.

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