Mark Canha and Carlos Santana continue to make the front office look good for the Milwaukee Brewers.
The trade-deadline acquisitions have played key roles in helping the Brewers win 11 of their past 13 games and extend their lead in the NL Central to 4 1/2 games over the Chicago Cubs.
They’ve also played leading parts in helping Milwaukee (76-59) move into position to sweep the visiting Philadelphia Phillies (74-61) in the finale of their three-game series on Sunday afternoon.
Santana hit a two-run homer and Canha had a pair of doubles and scored two runs in a 7-5 victory against the Phillies on Saturday night.
Santana also had two hits and scored two runs in the 7-5 win in the series opener on Friday.
The veterans have demonstrated their ability to produce good at-bats in other ways as well.
Santana had a 10-pitch walk after falling behind 0-2 on Saturday, and Canha came through with an eight-pitch walk after falling behind 1-2 later in the game.
“It’s just solid veteran presence, solid at-bats,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Santana and Canha. “They just lengthen our lineup.”
Santana, 37, was traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 27 in exchange for minor-league shortstop Jhonny Severino.
Four days later, the Brewers acquired 34-year-old Canha from the New York Mets for minor-league pitcher Justin Jarvis.
The Phillies will attempt to salvage the series behind left-hander Ranger Suarez.
Suarez (2-6, 3.88 ERA) was reinstated from the injured list on Friday after missing nearly three weeks with a strained right hamstring.
Phillies manager Rob Thomson told reporters that Suarez will be “shortened up” in his first outing since Aug. 13, but that was before Aaron Nola couldn’t get through five innings on Saturday, putting additional strain on the bullpen.
Suarez is 0-0 in two career starts against the Brewers with a 2.31 ERA.
The Phillies will count on more offensive production from Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto.
Turner homered for the fifth consecutive game on Saturday night, and Schwarber went deep to lead off the game for the second straight night.
Harper was held hitless for the second straight night on Saturday, but he’s coming off a month in which he hit .361 with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs.
Turner said Harper’s hot streak reminds him of when they were teammates on the Washington Nationals in 2015, when Harper won the first of his two NL MVP awards.
“A lot of extra base-hits and a lot of just good at-bats,” Turner said.
The Brewers plan to send left-hander Wade Miley to the mound for the series finale.
Miley (7-3, 3.17) beat the Cubs in his most recent outing last Monday to extend Milwaukee’s winning streak to nine games. He allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, striking one without a walk in the 6-2 win.
Miley has recently been kept under 90 pitches, meaning the bullpen will likely come in handy on Sunday. The Brewers will likely be without closer Devin Williams, who pitched the past two games, earning the win on Friday and his 32nd save on Saturday.
Miley is 3-1 in six career starts against the Phillies with a 3.55 ERA.
—Field Level Media