SAN FRANCISCO — The Milwaukee Brewers seek to move up in the division standings while the San Francisco Giants endure the first day after being formally eliminated in their division race when the clubs open a three-game series Monday night.
Brewers right-hander Zach Davies (14-6, 4.26 ERA) and Giants right-hander Chris Stratton (1-2, 4.91) are the scheduled starters for the series opener at AT&T Park.
The Brewers landed in San Francisco on Sunday night having won two of three in Colorado to open a nine-game Western swing. They will complete the trip against the National League West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers later this week.
The Brewers (65-60) have won six of seven to stay very much in contention in the NL Central, where they trail the Chicago Cubs by two games. They also find themselves 2 1/2 games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the wild-card race.
One of those six wins came in Davies’ last start, a 3-1 home victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. Davies, who is one win behind NL leader Clayton Kershaw, has allowed one or no runs in four of his past six starts.
Davies missed the Giants when the clubs split a four-game series in Milwaukee in June. He has yet to face the Giants in 59 career starts.
The Brewers are slated to start right-handers Jimmy Nelson (9-6, 3.74) and Matt Garza (6-7, 4.81) in the final two games of the series against San Francisco (50-76). Milwaukee is bidding to build upon the momentum of consecutive wins Saturday and Sunday at Colorado and three straight series triumphs.
Jesus Aguilar, who had a pinch-hit home run Saturday, blasted two more to highlight the 8-4 victory against the Rockies on Sunday.
“Starting the road trip with a series win is a boost of energy for the club, and it gives us a lot of confidence,” Aguilar said. “We’re just happy we were able to get it done.”
Stratton will be seeing the Brewers for the second time in his career, having thrown two innings of scoreless, one-hit relief in a June 2016 game.
The 26-year-old is coming off the best start of his career, having shut out the Nationals for seven innings in a 4-2 win on Aug. 13 at Washington. He struck out a career-high 10 and walked one in the game.
Nick Hundley caught Stratton’s gem, and he will get the call again Monday night, Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced after the team’s 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
Buster Posey needs a day off, Bochy said.
Posey, who was thrown out at the plate from the outfield, tagged out two Phillies at home trying to score and got nailed in the ribs by a Hector Neris fastball in the Sunday game. He left AT&T Park in pain and in a bad mood.
The pitch that plunked Posey came in the eighth inning with two outs. The Giants trailed 4-2, and the potential tying runs were on the bases. It was the first pitch thrown by Neris, who went on to strike out Pablo Sandoval to end the threat.
“I’m certain that he hit me on purpose,” said Posey, who had a brief stare-down with Neris. “It’s just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat, and he’s got good stuff. But I guess he didn’t feel like he could get me out.”
Bochy said he hopes to have Posey available to pinch-hit Monday.