May 25, 2014

After wrapping up an otherwise subpar road swing on a positive note, the Milwaukee Brewers will try to get an eight-game homestand off to a strong start with Kyle Lohse taking the mound.

The Baltimore Orioles are hoping Nelson Cruz can stay hot with Chris Davis away for one more game.

As Lohse looks to win his seventh straight decision, the NL Central-leading Brewers go for a fifth win in six home games Monday in the opener of a three-game interleague set.

Though Milwaukee (30-21) struggled to find consistency at the plate during a 4-6 trip, the team returned home after taking two of three from Miami with Sunday's 7-1 win. The Marlins entered the series with a major league-best 19-6 home record.

Though the Brewers totaled 26 runs with a .305 average in the wins on the trip, they scored 10 runs and hit .209 in the losses.

Ryan Braun led the way with a season-high four hits Sunday, including a double and a triple. The star outfielder, who has been nursing a sore right side, was 5 for 27 in his previous seven games.

Jonathan Lucroy added two doubles and a triple, leaving him 14 for 28 over a seven-game hitting streak.

The Brewers, however, haven't needed much scoring when Lohse (6-1, 2.67 ERA) takes the ball. Since losing to Atlanta in his first start, he's gone 6-0 with a 2.54 ERA with Milwaukee winning eight of those nine outings.

The right-hander allowed one run and four hits with eight strikeouts over eight innings in Wednesday's 6-1 win at Atlanta. He's also 9-3 with a 2.31 ERA in his last 15 starts at Miller Park dating to last season.

"You expect a fastball and he throws you a little cutter," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told the Brewers' official website. "You expect a cutter and he throws a fastball. He's not overpowering, but he mixes in a changeup and a big curveball."

Lohse is 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA in five career starts against Baltimore (25-23), though four of those outings came before 2006.

Baltimore's Nick Hundley is 3 for 7 with two home runs lifetime when facing Lohse, and he could make his first start since being acquired from San Diego on Saturday.

The Orioles, though, will be without Davis for the second straight game after he was placed on paternity leave. The All-Star first baseman is batting .345 with five homers and 11 RBIs in his last eight games.

Cruz helped pick up the offense Sunday, hitting his major league-leading 16th homer in a 4-2 home win over Cleveland. He's batting .372 with six homers and 14 RBIs in his last 11 games.

''The more games that I play the more comfortable I feel,'' Cruz said.

Manny Machado also homered Sunday in his return to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a right groin strain.

''It still bothers me a little bit, but nothing too crazy,'' Machado said of the groin.

Chris Tillman (4-2, 4.21) hopes to regroup after he did not factor in the decision in Wednesday's 9-8 loss at Pittsburgh. Tillman allowed eight runs, six hits and three walks in one-plus inning.

The right-hander, who has yielded 11 first-inning runs in his five starts this month, has never faced the Brewers, but Lyle Overbay has gone 7 for 17 with three home runs off him.

Tillman faces a Milwaukee team that has hit .307 with seven home runs en route to a 5-1 record in interleague play.

The former AL East rivals haven't met since the Brewers took two of three at Miller Park in June 2008.

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