July 17, 2014

WASHINGTON -- Veteran Matt Garza will continue his latest comeback Wednesday when he pitches for the Brewers against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.

The Brewers will look for a sweep after winning the first two games against a lineup that includes 2016 All-Stars Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Wilson Ramos.

"You're chosen individually, but it's a team component when you're standing on the sideline representing your team and organization," said Dusty Baker, the Washington manager.

The Nationals looked sloppy Tuesday in a 5-2 loss but still have a potent lineup.

"It is a challenge. Their three, four and five hitters are going to the All-Star Game," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It is a good team. We have pitched well the last two games. One more game."

It will be the finale of a 10-game homestand for the Nationals, who went 3-7 on a recent road trip and will now try to end the homestand 7-3 before beginning a series on Thursday in New York against the Mets.

Washington began the homestand by winning three in a row over the Mets, then won three of four against the Cincinnati Reds. They hit a season-high six homers on Sunday against the Reds, and the next day Cincinnati fired pitching coach Mark Riggins.

Standing in the way of the Nationals on Wednesday will be Garza, 32, who will be making just his fifth start of the year for the Brewers. He was activated from the 60-day disabled list June 14.

"Getting Garza back ... has been really nice," said reliever Tyler Thornburg, who threw a scoreless inning Tuesday.

The California native was on the 15-day disabled list through July 20 of last year with right shoulder tendinitis. He was removed from the starting rotation Sept. 5 and did not pitch the rest of the season.

He was tagged with the loss Friday in St. Louis as he gave up nine hits and four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings of work.

Garza was 6-14 with a 5.63 ERA last year in 26 games, with 25 starts.

The numbers are much better this year for Garza, who began his career in the rookie Appalachian League with Elizabethton in the Minnesota Twins system in 2005.

He is 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA in four starts for the Brewers though he has given up 29 hits in 21 2/3 innings with 14 strikeouts and seven walks.

Garza made his big league debut with Minnesota in 2006 and has also pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers.

He signed with the Brewers prior to the 2014 season. His best season was in 2010 when he went 15-10 for Tampa Bay.

Garza is 82-90 in his major league career and has made 247 starts.

Garza will be opposed on Wednesday by right-hander Tanner Roark, who is 7-5 with a 2.93 ERA in 17 starts for the Nationals this year.

Will Middlebrooks, called up Sunday by the Brewers from Triple-A, made the start Tuesday at third base against Washington. "I do like when a guy comes to the right opportunity," said Counsell. "When we decided to call Will up, this is the situation that we were looking toward. In a National League game there's going to be two guys that have the chance to have some impact on the game."

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