Pirates-Brewers Preview

MILWAUKEE -- For the second straight game, the Milwaukee Brewers will be without All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy. They'll have to get used to his absence.

After months of speculation, Milwaukee reportedly reached agreement on a deal that would send Lucroy, 30, to the Cleveland Indians for a package of prospects including highly touted catcher Francisco Mejia.

Milwaukee held Lucroy out of their 5-3 victory Saturday as talks "progressed," according to manager Craig Counsell, and news of the agreement broke approximately an hour after the game.

Lucroy or not, the Brewers look to finish their season-long 10-game homestead on a high note. They've won six of the first nine games and two consecutive series, and a victory Sunday would mark their third series sweep of the season.

"I don't think it's anything different than how we've played all year," Counsell said. "Every day is a new day. With all the stuff swirling around, we've talked about distractions and where to put them. Guys have gotten opportunities and made the most of them."

Matt Garza (1-4, 5.74 ERA) takes the mound for Milwaukee, making his ninth start of the season and his second of the year against the Pirates, who scored five runs on eight hits over five innings against him on July 21.

Garza took no decision his last time out against Arizona but left the game with a 4-3 lead after going six innings and allowing five hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts but he's 0-4 with a 7.52 ERA over his last five outings.

"I've been looking for my stuff throughout this season," Garza said. "The last start, I felt I was on the verge of finding it. I'm real happy I found it. A lot of the hits were off-speed hits and I learned after that and went back to what I'm accustomed to doing, going right after guys."

Pittsburgh counters with lefty Francisco Liriano (6-10, 5.38), who is two strikeouts shy of 1,500 for his career.

He's 7-6 with a 4.40 ERA all-time against Milwaukee (17 games, 16 starts) and 1-0 this year after striking out 13 in a 5-3 victory over the Brewers on July 21.

"It's just one of those nights where you're like, 'Man, thank God I'm not facing him.' He was on," said Pirates outfielder Matt Joyce.

Milwaukee has been a miserable destination for the Pirates, who are 17-63 at Miller Park since the start of 2007. During that same stretch, the Brewers are 102-56 over Pittsburgh overall, good for the second-best winning percentage of any team against a divisional opponent in all of baseball.

But while the Pirates as a team have struggled, Andrew McCutchen has done well, collecting 120 hits against the Brewers since the start of the 2008 season while Josh Harrison has gone 15-for-41 with two triples and five RBIs in his last 11 games against Milwaukee.

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