Guerra can’t find fastball as Marlins avoid sweep

MILWAUKEE — The Miami Marlins avoided a weekend sweep by striking early in a 10-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday afternoon at Miller Park.

Miami outfielder Marcell Ozuna hit a pair of home runs, including a three-run blast in the third inning that gave the Marlins the lead for good. Milwaukee’s Junior Guerra was tagged for eight hits and four runs in four-plus innings in which his fastball topped out at 92.1 MPH. Guerra’s average fastball this season travels just 90 MPH.

“Yeah, there’s something up,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Guerra’s struggles. “There’s always something up when you’re not having success. The velocity is lower than last year and I think he can be successful with better location. That’s what we’ll work on.”

Eric Thames and Orlando Arcia went yard for the Brewers, but the offense did little to make up for the 17 hits Miami was able to record. In addition to Ozuna’s success at the plate, J.T. Realmuto went 3-for-6 with two RBI and Christian Yelich went 4-for-5 with a run driven in.

Milwaukee also sent Paolo Espino to Triple A, while announcing Brent Suter as the replacement for Chase Anderson in Monday’s start against the Baltimore Orioles. Anderson hit the 10-day DL with an oblique strain suffered on Wednesday.

Brewers ride 2nd inning outburst to 8-4 win over Marlins

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers scored seven in the second inning of an 8-4 win over the Miami Marlins Saturday afternoon, highlighted by a two-run shot from Domingo Santana.

Santana finished 2-for-3 on the afternoon, with his home run just making it over the outfield wall, popping out of the outstretched glove of Giancarlo Stanton.

“I know we are a long [way] from the season being over, so we just have to go out there and just play and try to win ballgames every day,” said Santana. “I think we’re going to be where we want to be at the end of the season if we keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

Brewers starter Zach Davies added some insurance to his own cause with an RBI on a fielder’s choice. He tossed six innings with five strikeouts while giving up four runs.

Milwaukee extended its lead in the National League Central to three games over the Chicago Cubs after they fell to the Cincinnati Reds.

Vogt homers, Knebel sets record in win over Marlins

MILWAUKEE — Newcomer Stephen Vogt couldn’t have began his debut as a Brewer at Miller Park any better, hitting two home runs and making a key defensive play to give Milwaukee a 3-2 win over the Miami Marlins Friday night.

Vogt accounted for all three Brewers runs, driving in the first on a solo home run in the fifth inning, before doubling up on a two-run blast in the seventh which proved to be the winning run. But his ninth-inning tag of Miami’s J.T. Realmuto at the plate prevented the Marlins from scoring the tying run, while preserving Corey Knebel’s 13th save of the year.

“First curtain call of my career, so that’s pretty cool,” Vogt said. “You don’t have too many multi-homer [games] in Oakland unless you’re Khris Davis.”

The two-time A’s All-Star was 2-for-3 at the plate in the win, improving his batting average to .226

Not only did Knebel log his 13th save, but he also set a Major League record with 40 consecutive appearances this season with at least one strikeout. That breaks a record held by former Cubs reliever and Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter set in 1977.

“Forty straight appearances with a strikeout is unbelievable. It really is,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “It’s something else, and he should be very proud of it for sure. It’s consistency, is what it is. And it’s bringing ‘A’ stuff to the game every single night. We’ve used Corey obviously quite a bit, too, but he’s answered the bell every single night with plus, plus stuff.”

The win also maintained Milwaukee’s first-place hold on the National League Central. They currently have a two-game lead over the second-place Cubs.

Khris Middleton cleared to return from hamstring injury on Wednesday

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks have lost 10 of their last 11 games but will get a morale boost on Wednesday night with the return of Khris Middleton, who’s been recovering from a ruptured hamstring suffered in the preseason.

During the broadcast of Friday night’s 121-117 loss to the Denver Nuggets, Middleton told Fox Sports Wisconsin he’d been medically cleared to return to game action, having missed the first 50 games of the season. It was reported on Jan. 6 that Middleton could return prior to the All-Star break, initially thought to be an injury that would keep him out the entire season.

“It’s possible,” Middleton said last month in regard to a possible February return. “That’s if everything goes right, with no setbacks and a good, long stretch of practices. Still a long way to go but I’m working towards it.”

The fifth-year forward averaged 18.2 points, 4.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds last year. His return could not only provide another consistent scorer alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, but it could help Milwaukee claw its way back into the playoff picture, currently 2.5 games and three spots back from the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

It’s unclear exactly how much Middleton would play in his season debut. He’ll make his return Feb. 8 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee when they host the Miami Heat at 7 p.m.