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CHC@MIL: Burgos notches his first career strikeout

The month of April didn't do much to separate the top four teams in the National League Central.

When the Brewers take the field looking to complete a sweep of the Pirates on Wednesday, the two clubs will do so with just one game between the first-place Cardinals and the fourth-place Reds.

Milwaukee and Pittsburgh sit between those two clubs, with the Brewers ahead of the Pirates only on percentage points. When the two clubs have met at Miller Park, however, it hasn't been that close. Since 2007, the Crew has won 46 of 53 games against the division-rival Bucs.

"Oh, yeah," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "It's definitely a mental thing. I think most of the years that I played and a lot of the years I coached, there's teams you struggle with and always struggle with, no matter what they're doing against everybody else. And then there's teams you play really well.

"It's a feeling when you come in to play somebody, that you know you play well against them. It gives you, not extra motivation, but your mojo is better. Then there's places you go and it's, 'Here we go again,' and sure enough, you struggle. Everybody has that team they're good against or bad against. For us right now, you just try to continue playing well against them."

Right-hander Hiram Burgos takes the ball for the Crew, looking to begin his career with three straight quality starts. In his last time out, Burgos held the Dodgers to three runs in six innings of work. He was hit relatively hard, but worked to minimize the damage.

"I was too much over the plate," Burgos said after the start. "But I [made] adjustments and I kept a couple of hitters off balance, and the defense made really good plays for me. I just tried to keep it close."

For the Pirates, it's right-hander Jeanmar Gomez leaving the bullpen to make his first big league start since last Sept. 29 with Cleveland.

Gomez did, however, toss 4 1/3 innings in relief on Friday. Strangely, that's longer than each of his past three starts, which went three, four and three innings, respectively.

"Starting means I can, and have to, use all three of my pitches -- fastball, changeup, slider," Gomez said.

After throwing 67 pitches on Friday, Gomez is hopeful he can make it to 80, but the club plans to keep an eye on his arm once he hits 65.

"We want him to get us to the fifth inning and keep us in place to win," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's been looking forward to this. We'll give him the ball and see what he can do with it."

Pirates: Morris rejoins Bucs
• Pittsburgh recalled Bryan Morris on Tuesday, marking Morris' second stint this season with the Major League club. "My role is to go out and compete when my name is called," Morris said. "That's what I do."

• The Pirates designated Jonathan Sanchez for assignment, meaning Morris will likely step into the long-man role. But with Jose Contreras likely joining the Bucs on Friday, Morris' stay in the bigs could be short-lived.

Brewers: Gonzalez questionable
• For the third-straight game, Milwaukee's Alex Gonzalez was out of the starting lineup because of a tight left hamstring.

"We'll see about [Wednesday], whether to start him or not," Roenicke said when asked about Gonzalez's status.

The 15-year veteran ran the bases before Tuesday's game and said he was feeling better.

Worth noting
• Since 2007, the Brewers have dominated the Pirates, going 71-24 against Pittsburgh. They've been even better at home, winning 46 of 53 games at Miller Park. Each of those marks is tops in baseball for one team against a divisional opponent.

• Among active Brewers hitters, only Yuniesky Betancourt has faced Gomez in the past. He is 2-for-6 with a homer and a walk.

• The Pirates have scored 47 runs this season (27 games) in the seventh inning or later. Comments