(Photo credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)
The Milwaukee Brewers are finding more ways to win, which is a good sign as the end of the regular season nears.
Milwaukee will attempt to cap a sterling homestand when it faces the Washington Nationals in the finale of a three-game series on Sunday.
The Brewers won 9-5 on Saturday thanks toMark Canha's eighth-inning grand slam, pushing their record to 5-1 on their current seven-game homestand. Two straight wins have come against the Nationals.
"We kept coming," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said of Saturday's game. "We had a bunch of opportunities and didn't finish (some of them) but did it in a big way in the eighth. A lot of good team at-bats."
The National League Central-leading Brewers (84-64) have won three games in a row and are 10-5 in September. Milwaukee owns a 6 1/2-game lead over the second-place Chicago Cubs in the division after being up just 1 1/2 games on Chicago less than two weeks ago.
Based on the first two games of this series, the Brewers might have applied enough pressure at the plate to wear down the Nationals' pitching staff.
"We made (Washington starter Trevor Williams) work really hard," Counsell said. "Hopefully what they had to go through in the bullpen the last two nights has some carryover to what we can do (Sunday), and we've been doing a good job of that -- making pitchers work for their outs."
The Nationals (65-84) will attempt to shed a five-game losing streak. Although it lost on Saturday, Washington still rallied from a four-run deficit.
"It showed that we had a lot of fight," Nationals second baseman Luis Garcia said.
While Washington's bullpen has had to carry a heavy workload, Nationals closer Kyle Finnegan had gone six days without an appearance before allowing the winning runs on Saturday night.
Canha said the dramatics that accompanied his second career grand slam have added to recent thrills.
"I like to revel in those moments and just have fun and let it all out," Canha said. "We're just battling and winning in different ways and doing whatever it takes, so that's what you have to do this time of year."
Right-hander Brandon Woodruff (5-1, 1.93 ERA) will attempt to continue his strong September when he makes his 10th start of the season on Sunday for the Brewers. He hasn't given up a run in his last two starts covering 16 innings against Pittsburgh and Miami. He has also won his last four decisions.
Woodruff has struck out 32 in his last 28 innings, issuing seven walks.
In six career appearances (four starts) against Washington, Woodruff has gone 4-0 with a 0.85 ERA.
Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin (10-13, 5.13) will make his 30th start of the season after allowing two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings to pick up a win against the Pirates last Monday.
Corbin is 4-7 with a 5.00 ERA in 13 career appearances (12 starts) against Milwaukee.
--Field Level Media