Padres-Brewers Preview

The San Diego Padres had been executing better with runners in scoring position in recent weeks, but timely hits have been rare in the last few days.

They're hoping for better situational hitting to end this 10-game trip on a positive note Thursday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Padres (52-56) won eight of 10 from July 24-Monday, going 23 for 53 with runners in scoring position in the last five victories. They've lost three of four, however, going 4 for 27 in those situations in the losses.

San Diego matched Milwaukee's 11 hits Wednesday, but was 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position in an 8-5 loss to the Brewers (46-63), who were 4 for 7.

"It would make a big difference to come out tomorrow and redirect this kind of momentum, have some fun, win a ballgame, go home 6-4 (on the trip)," interim manager Pat Murphy told MLB's official website.

Murphy did have a few reasons to be encouraged: San Diego rallied for three runs in the ninth, Justin Upton was 2 for 4 after sitting out Tuesday with a sore thumb and Yangervis Solarte extended his hitting streak to 11 games, the longest by a Padre since Will Venable's 15-game run in August 2013.

San Diego's Odrisamer Despaigne (5-7, 4.75 ERA) is aiming to win a third straight outing after back-to-back victories over Miami. He had won only once in his previous 12 starts.

"I think he was great," Murphy said after the right-hander gave up three runs over six innings in Saturday's 5-3 road win.

Despite Murphy's glowing assessment, those performances might have been misleading given Miami's major league-worst 3.5 runs per game - though Milwaukee isn't much better at 3.9 per game. Despaigne was also excellent in his only start against the Brewers, giving up one earned run while striking out nine over seven innings of a 3-2 victory for the Padres on Aug. 27, though he wasn't credited with the win.

Matt Garza (5-12, 5.17), conversely, is trying to avoid dropping a third consecutive start for the third time this year. He had three such skids in his previous nine seasons.

Garza - trying to avoid joining teammate Kyle Lohse as the only 13-game losers in the majors - is 1-5 with a 5.83 ERA in his last seven outings, walking 13 in the last five.

Though he issued four free passes Saturday against the Chicago Cubs, he was solid otherwise, allowing three runs - all on Anthony Rizzo's homer - over six innings in the 4-2 loss.

"That's the way my year has gone," Garza said of all of the damage coming on one pitch. "You have to keep going out there and going right at it."

The Milwaukee offense was lackluster as it often has been with Garza on the mound, and he fell to 1-11 when getting two or fewer runs of support.

He hasn't faced San Diego since 2011 but has fared well in three matchups, going 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 21 innings.

Upton is 2 for 15 with six strikeouts versus Garza.

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