The Philadelphia Phillies are on the verge of climbing over .500 for the first time this season after sweeping one last-place team. To crack the break-even mark, they could use a better performance against another cellar dweller.
The Phillies, who dropped two of three to Milwaukee this past weekend, will try for an improved showing in a four-game series with the Brewers beginning Thursday night at Miller Park.
Philadelphia (30-30) outscored Miami 20-6 in its three games this week and earned a season-high fourth straight win in Wednesday's series finale. Ryan Howard hit a two-run triple in the seventh inning of that 6-1 victory, and the red-hot Domonic Brown followed with a two-run homer.
"We'll be over .500 tomorrow night if we play good," manager Charlie Manuel told the team's website. "When you get to .500, if we can win some games, like four or five straight, or eight out of 10, we'll be in a good position."
Brown is batting .381 with 11 homers and 24 RBIs in his last 16 games and leads the NL with 18 longballs. He homered three times in the three games against the Brewers (22-36) but couldn't prevent Milwaukee from recording its only series victory since the beginning of May.
The Brewers' scheduled starter for Thursday, Wily Peralta (4-6, 5.94 ERA), played a role in one of those wins by outdueling Tyler Cloyd (1-2, 4.76).
Peralta gave up two runs over seven innings in a 4-3 victory Saturday to earn his first win since May 7 in his first start against Philadelphia. Cloyd allowed three runs over seven frames in his first start against Milwaukee and his second straight defeat.
The two will square off again as Philadelphia tries to move above .500 for the first time since it was 81-80 on Oct. 2.
The Brewers enter after dropping two of three to visiting Oakland. They gave up five runs in the seventh in Wednesday's series finale, a 6-1 loss. Milwaukee, losers in 25 of 33 and six of seven at home, is also perhaps dealing with another distraction surrounding Ryan Braun.
The outfielder is under investigation for his link to Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic that allegedly sold performing-enhancing drugs to a number of players. Braun was suspended for 50 games in 2011 after testing positive for elevated testosterone, the same year he won the NL MVP, but that penalty was overturned by an arbitrator.
"I've already addressed everything related to the Miami situation. I addressed it in spring training. I will not make any further statements about it. Truth has not changed," Braun said. "I've dealt with this for two years now. I'm pretty good at avoiding distractions."
Braun was not in the starting lineup Wednesday but manager Ron Roenicke said that was because of a nagging right thumb injury.
Braun is a .377 career hitter against Philadelphia, his best average against any NL team, but went 0 for 3 against Cloyd on Saturday. Logan Schafer was 3 for 3 with a pair of doubles versus the right-hander.
Brown is 9 for 15 with 12 RBIs in his last four games against Milwaukee but went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts Saturday against Peralta.