Lefty Parra Quickly Making Name for Himself

Milwaukee visits Arizona, which still leads the NL West but has slipped to .500 after getting off to a great start.

Inside pitch

Manny Parra is starting to figure things out, which only will make it tougher for opponents of the Brewers.

Parra, a 25-year-old left-hander, is in his first full season in the major leagues. He has won each of his last six starts and is 7-0 with a 3.03 ERA over his last 10.

That already sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Well, veteran catcher Jason Kendall said it could get even better after Parra shut out Minnesota for seven innings Saturday night in a 5-1 victory.

"I think it's just him getting confidence," Kendall said. "I think with all the starters, they kind of feed off each other. I think he's getting more confidence every time he goes out and knows he's good.

"He's going to be here, knock on wood, for a long time," Kendall added. "He's got dominating stuff. He's one of those guys that when he comes to the ballpark, he's got a chance to go nine innings."

To do that, Parra is going to have to cut down on his walks. He has issued 14 free passes in his last 19 innings, a trend he knows can't continue.

"It has been something I've battled all year, getting ahead of guys," he said. "One thing I do know is when I don't (walk hitters), I'll have success and I'll go deeper into games than I am right now."

Which is bad news for the enemy.

Note and quotes

--Right fielder Corey Hart entered play Sunday with 24 RBIs in June, trailing only Philadelphia's Ryan Howard (25) among National League players.

--First baseman Prince Fielder snapped an 0-for-18 slump with a fifth-inning single Saturday night in Minnesota—while the designated hitter. It was his only hit through the first six games of the trip, however, leaving him 1-for-24 in Atlanta and Minnesota.

--Right-hander Eric Gagne threw a bullpen session Saturday and then was activated from the disabled list after Sunday's game against the Twins. Gagne, on the DL with rotator cuff tendonitis since May 21, made two minor league rehab appearances with Class AAA Nashville before rejoining the club and throwing the bullpen session. Righty Mark DiFelice was sent to Nashville to make room. DiFelice was 0-0 with a 3.95 ERA in 10 relief outings with the Brewers.

--Ace Ben Sheets surrendered five runs in seven innings to Minnesota on Sunday, the second-most runs he' s allowed in 16 starts this season. On May 15, the Dodgers scored six runs in 61/3 innings against Sheets.

--Left-hander Randy Choate (broken left ring finger) went on the 15-day disabled list March 20. He pitched 71/3 scoreless innings over his first four minor league rehab appearances with Nashville. The Brewers want Choate to pitch more before deciding whether to activate him.

By the numbers

7-8 – Brewers' record in interleague play.

Quote of the day

"We just want to make sure when he gets back, he's healthy, for his sake and ours."--Manager Ned Yost about Gagne.

Meanwhile, here's a rundown of Milwaukee's next opponent, the Arizona Diamondbacks. The teams begin a four-game series tonight.

Inside Pitch

Outfielder Chris Young is more comfortable hitting lower in the order, and it shows. Young has eight RBIs in the last 10-plus games since being moved from leadoff to a more production-oriented spot in the order, usually sixth, where his aggressive approach works best.

"He prefers hitting lower. He's a 30-homer guy hitting leadoff. When we moved him down in the order in Pittsburgh, things started to click. He's driving the ball. He looks more comfortable," D-backs hitting coach Rick Schu said.

Young hit leadoff most of the second half of 2007, when he became the first rookie in major league history with 30 homers and 25 stolen bases, finishing with 32 and 27, and stayed there for the most part earlier this season.

He admits there were times in the lead-off spot when he took a lot of pitches in an attempt to work an at-bat and let teammates see what a pitcher has.

"When I'm in the middle of the order, I change my mind-set," Young said.

"Right now, it's important to get (Young) going ... take a little pressure off from having to do some things that maybe get in his way a little bit," Manager Bob Melvin said. "He obviously does have the power, so we will try to keep him somewhere in the middle of the order."

Notes and quotes

--Righty Dan Haren gave up one unearned run in seven innings Sunday, although he did not get a decision. He finished 3-0 with a.1.59 ERA in six June starts and is a top candidate for the NL pitcher of the month. Haren struck out 37 and gave up 25 hits in 41 innings.

--Ace Brandon Webb became the first 12-game winner in the major leagues Saturday, showing uncharacteristic emotion along the way. He threw a water bottle into a dugout trash can after being removed in the seventh inning when he hit the first man he faced and walked the second. "My catcher tried to talk me out of it," Webb joked about flinging the bottle. Webb broke a personal two-game losing streak.

--Melvin gave his team a stern talk after Friday's 3-1 loss in Florida and then did not speak to the media. "We understand we have to change some things," Young said of Melvin's words.

--Right-hander Edgar Gonzalez went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow after getting hurt in his June 27 appearance. The Diamondbacks recalled RHP Yusmeiro Petit from Class AAA Tucson, where he was 3-3 with a 4.80 ERA in 11 starts.

--Righty closer Brandon Lyon had his streak of 15 consecutive save conversions broken when he gave up two runs to Florida in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss Sunday. It was Lyon's first failed conversion since April 6. He has converted 15 of 18 opportunities.

--Left fielder Eric Byrnes is 2-for-22 since returning from the disabled list Monday and was given Sunday off.

--LHP Randy Johnson has lost his last five starts, tying the second-worst stretch in his 21-year major league career. He lost eight in a row in 1992 in Seattle. The first time he lost five in a row, in 1999, he recovered to win the first of his four NL Cy Young awards in his first season with the D-backs.

--RHP Micah Owings (gluteus muscle strain) left the June 27 game, but Melvin said the team was optimistic he'd make his next start against the Brewers.


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