April 08, 2014

Aaron Nola is more than living up to the Philadelphia Phillies' expectations, though he's still yet to master pitching in his home stadium.

The Milwaukee Brewers sure have figured out Citizens Bank Park.

Milwaukee attempts to secure a fourth consecutive series win in Philadelphia and continue the Phillies' current struggles when the teams conclude a four-game set Sunday.

Philadelphia managed to contain Milwaukee's bats and halt a seven-game losing streak with Friday's 6-3 win, but the Brewers reversed the result in Saturday's 6-3 victory. Jonathan Villar went 3 for 5 with his third home run of the series and Domingo Santana broke a 3-all tie with a solo shot to begin the eighth inning.

The Brewers have hit .321 and averaged 6.4 runs in winning 11 of 13 at Citizens Bank Park since 2013. Jonathan Lucroy owns a career .485 average there and is 15 for 29 with three homers and 11 RBIs over an eight-game hitting streak following Saturday's 3-for-5 effort.

Milwaukee (26-30) figures to face a tougher test from Nola (4-4, 2.88 ERA), who's posted a 1.87 ERA over a stretch of eight straight quality starts that began when he limited the Brewers to a run and four hits through seven innings of a 5-2 win April 22.

The 2014 first-round pick hasn't been as dominant at home, where he's 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA in five starts and has allowed six of his seven home runs. He's produced a 1.58 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .199 average on the road.

Nola did pitch well in Tuesday's 5-1 home loss to Washington, surrendering a pair of solo homers and five hits through six innings.

Philadelphia (27-29) did receive homers from Cesar Hernandez and Tommy Joseph on Saturday, though its offense continues to sputter during a 1-8 slide. The Phillies are hitting .197 and averaging 2.3 runs over than span.

"Our guys give away too many at-bats," manager Pete Mackanin said. "You have to be consistent. Too many at-bats go away too quickly. They get two strikes and flail away at a pitch. Good hitters don't do that."

The Phillies could find more success against Wily Peralta (3-6), whose 6.51 ERA ranks last among qualifying NL pitchers while his .365 opponent batting average is the highest in the majors. The slumping right-hander allowed nine hits and three runs in five innings in Tuesday's 10-3 loss to St. Louis, the ninth time in 11 starts this season he's failed to reach six innings.

"We're still waiting for that start where he goes deep in a game and shuts the other team down," manager Craig Counsell said. "But he kept us in the ballgame (Tuesday). Three runs after five innings, that's not what you want but we were still in that game."

Peralta did defeat Philadelphia with six innings of three-run ball April 24 at Miller Park and tossed six scoreless in a 3-1 home win over the Phillies last August.

Hernandez, who went 3 for 4 Saturday and homered for the first time since May 30, 2015, is 4 for 10 off Peralta.

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