MLB

Brewers-Pirates Preview

While Charlie Morton has given the Pittsburgh Pirates another reliable starter, the Milwaukee Brewers are still trying to figure why Kyle Lohse can't lower the majors' worst ERA.

Morton will try to continue his home success as he looks to win a fourth straight start Wednesday night when the Brewers try to complete the first sweep by a road team at PNC Park since 2012.

After he had an extended rehab assignment while recovering from hip surgery last September, Morton (3-0, 2.84 ERA) has fit in nicely in a rotation that ranks among baseball's best with a 3.15 ERA.

The right-hander allowed three earned runs over 14 innings while winning his first two starts. He wasn't as sharp but got plenty of support Friday, giving up three earned over five in a 10-8 victory at Atlanta.

"I know we have a good baseball team," he told MLB's official website. "That gives me confidence."

Morton will try to win a career-best fourth consecutive start while keeping the Pirates (31-27) from getting swept in a three-game series at home for the first time since Milwaukee did it from Sept. 18-20, 2012.

He's been exceptional at PNC Park, going 5-2 with a 1.98 ERA in his last 10 starts there. It's the NL's fourth-best home ERA since May 6, 2014, among those with at least 10 starts.

Morton went 2-1 with a 1.19 ERA during a four-start stretch against the Brewers (22-37) before they tagged him for five runs over six innings in a 5-3 home loss last April. That was the second of two losses versus Milwaukee that month, and he opposed Lohse each time.

Carlos Gomez is 5 for 11 with a home run off Morton and Ryan Braun is 8 for 18 with a homer and three doubles. Aramis Ramirez is 6 for 17, but Jean Segura and Jonathan Lucroy are a combined 4 for 28.

Ramirez, who is 3 for 7 in this series, and Jason Rogers each hit solo homers in Tuesday's 4-1 win that gave the Brewers their fourth victory in five games.

Lohse, who had gone 54-30 with a 3.28 ERA over the previous four seasons, showed some of that form when he gave up two runs over 14 innings in consecutive May starts.

The right-hander, however, has since gone 0-2 with a 10.43 ERA over his last three. He yielded five runs over six innings Friday before the Brewers rallied for a 10-5 win at Minnesota.

Since going 11-2 with a 3.38 ERA over his first 21 starts against the Pirates, Lohse (3-6, 6.59) has posted a 9.35 mark while dropping his last three meetings - including a pair in April.

Gregory Polanco is 3 for 5 with two doubles off him this season and Starling Marte has gone 2 for 5 with a home run. Pedro Alvarez, Jordy Mercer and Neil Walker are a combined 2 for 18.

Marte accounted for the only run Tuesday with a second-inning solo shot. He's scuffled of late, going 4 for 35 (.114) over his last 10 games.

Since hitting .287 and averaging 5.4 runs while winning 13 of 16, Pittsburgh has batted .148 while totaling one run in the first two games of this series.

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