MLB

Phillies-Braves Preview

While Shelby Miller seems to have found a place atop the Atlanta Braves' rotation, Cole Hamels could be nearing the end of his illustrious tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Miller looks to bounce back from a rare rough outing for the surging Braves on Sunday at Turner Field, where Hamels will try to help the MLB-worst Phillies avoid their seventh straight defeat.

After limiting opponents to one run in each of the first three games of its winning streak, Atlanta's offense carried the load with its highest-scoring effort since May 21 in Saturday's 9-5 win.

Cameron Maybin finished with three hits, including his seventh home run, and Kelly Johnson added two hits and three RBIs as the Braves (40-41) moved within a half-game of the second-place New York Mets in the NL East with their seventh win in eight home games.

They'll try to win five straight for the first time since a 5-0 start by giving the ball to Miller (5-4, 2.20 ERA). In his first season with Atlanta after coming over in an offseason trade with St. Louis, the right-hander ranks in the top five in the NL in ERA and opponent batting average (.209).

Miller entered his last start with a 1.94 ERA before allowing a season-worst five runs - four earned - and a season high-tying eight hits over five innings in Tuesday's 6-1 home loss to Washington.

"It just wasn't a normal Shelby Miller outing," manager Fredi Gonzalez told MLB's official website. "He's allowed to have that every once in a while given how good he has been."

Miller, however, hasn't picked up a victory in his last eight starts despite posting a 3.17 ERA. He's received just seven total runs of support over that span and hasn't gotten any in his past three outings.

The 24-year-old has pitched well against the Phillies, going 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA in five starts. He tossed a three-hitter while striking out eight in a 9-0 home win in the most recent meeting May 5.

Ryan Howard, though, should be happy to see Miller again since he's 5 for 11 with three home runs and a double off him. Ben Revere, Freddy Galvis and Cody Asche are a combined 0 for 22 in the matchup.

Galvis is 11 for 22 over a six-game hitting streak, while Cesar Hernandez is 17 for 38 in a nine-game run.

Hamels continues to be the subject of trade rumors with the Phillies (27-56) looking to rebuild and the non-waiver trade deadline coming at the end of this month. Philadelphia has dropped nine of 10 and six in a row.

The veteran left-hander has a six-start win drought of his own while receiving just six runs of support. He allowed two runs and five hits while striking out seven over seven innings Tuesday but did not factor into the decision in a 4-3 home loss to Milwaukee.

"It's something I've learned to control and learned to get over," said Hamels, who was the 2008 World Series MVP. "Just try to focus and be positive for the guys."

Hamels (5-6, 3.22) has gone 4-1 with a 1.20 mark in his last six meetings with the Braves. The only loss in that stretch came when he gave up two runs over eight innings in a 2-1 home defeat last September.

Maybin is 12 for 32 (.375) when facing Hamels, though Johnson has gone just 4 for 26.

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