The Milwaukee Brewers look to continue their torrid ascent on Wednesday when they play the second contest of a three-game series against the host Cincinnati Reds.
The National League Central-leading Brewers posted a 5-1 victory over the Reds in the series opener on Tuesday for their fifth straight win and 13th in the past 16 games. That run began after a 9-4 setback in Cincinnati on May 21 that dropped Milwaukee two games under .500.
"Offense has been coming around a little bit," third baseman Travis Shaw told Bally Sports Wisconsin after the Brewers recorded their sixth consecutive road win -- their longest such streak since late in the 2019 season.
"We were slow at the start, but guys are starting to grind out at-bats better. Tacking on runs later in the game. Better situational hitting. And the pitching has been outstanding, like it has been all year."
Shaw's two-run double in the ninth inning Tuesday gave Milwaukee enough of a cushion to give closer Josh Hader the night off.
Milwaukee's Avisail Garcia belted his team-leading 12th homer and fourth in his past nine games. The power surge, however, has gone a long way in masking his 7-for-31 performance (.226) at the plate during that nine-game span.
Brett Anderson (2-3, 4.42 ERA) will look to keep the Brewers humming along when he takes the mound Wednesday.
The left-hander recorded his third straight no-decision on Thursday after allowing three runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Anderson, 33, owns a 4-2 record with a 4.25 ERA in eight career appearances (all starts) against Cincinnati. He yielded two runs on four hits -- including two solo homers -- in five innings of a no-decision vs. the Reds on May 22.
Nick Castellanos (7-for-19, homer) has fared well against Anderson. However, the hurler has kept Joey Votto (4-for-18) and Kyle Farmer (1-for-11) in check.
Speaking of Votto, he returned to the Reds' lineup Tuesday after being sidelined with a broken left thumb since May 5. The 2010 NL MVP went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks in the series opener as Cincinnati saw its four-game winning streak end.
"I don't want to dismiss the performance over the last little bit, but we have big plans and big goals, and we're not quite there yet," Votto said before Tuesday's game.
Cincinnati rookie right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez (1-1, 2.70) will make his third career start on Wednesday.
Gutierrez, 25, earned his first major league win on Thursday. He overcame a 31-pitch first inning to permit two runs on three hits in five frames of a 4-2 victory in St. Louis.
"I got into a routine ... in the second through the fifth and I made my own adjustments as the game went on," said Gutierrez, who will face the Brewers for the first time in his career.
The Reds likely will need Gutierrez to work deep into the game after their bullpen was taxed for six innings in the series opener after Sonny Gray exited due to groin tightness. Gray is slated to undergo an MRI exam Wednesday.
--Field Level Media