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ATL@MIL: Garza flirts with no-hitter in debut

The Brewers, winners of nine straight, have a chance to prove their hot start signifies they are a legitimate threat in the National League Central when they host the defending NL champion Cardinals on Monday at Miller Park.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said over the weekend that his Monday starter, Matt Garza, has rejuvenated the rotation since joining the club as a free agent in January.

"There have been some guys we added here that are bringing not just a better quality on the field, but off the field," Roenicke said. "Some guys are vocal -- Garza is very vocal -- and we need some guys like that. These guys have a chance to win here, and that gives you extra energy, and it does for me and the coaches, also."

Despite being the only Milwaukee starter without a win, Garza has been one of the many bright spots on a loaded pitching staff. His 2.57 ERA is astonishingly higher than the team ERA, which was a MLB-leading 1.80 after Sunday's win against the Pirates.

Brewers starters have allowed three runs or fewer in a club-record 26 consecutive games. Since 1990, only three teams (Braves, Dodgers, Cubs) have had longer streaks of that nature.

Garza will have his hands full against the two St. Louis batters who have seen him the most -- shortstop Jhonny Peralta and left fielder Matt Holliday. The pair has combined to hit .395 against the righty.

Meanwhile, Cardinals starter Lance Lynn (2-0, 6.55) will need to avoid running into trouble in the first inning, as he has in his first two starts.

In both outings, against Cincinnati, he allowed three runs in the opening frame. And both times, the St. Louis offense managed to bail him out, coming back to win the game after Lynn settled in and pitched into the sixth inning.

In each of Lynn's two full seasons, he began the year at least 5-0.

Cardinals: Significance of Jackie Robinson Day not lost
Tuesday, Major League Baseball will continue to honor the legacy of Jackie Robinson across its parks with Jackie Robinson Day.

"I think Jackie Robinson Day is a real special day for all of baseball," center fielder Jon Jay said. "He broke the color barrier for Latin players, for all sorts of different players. As a Latin player, I think it's something that's big where he really paved the way for us and we owe a lot to him. If it wasn't for him, a lot of us wouldn't be playing in the Major Leagues right now."

Brewers: K-Rod boosting bullpen
One reason behind the Brewers' stellar team ERA is Francisco Rodriguez's dominant start.

Rodriguez has four saves and has allowed only one hit over six innings of work.

"I've seen him when he gets on a roll, and this is what he does," Roenicke said. "He's got all these pitches he can throw, so whatever's working that night, whatever he wants to do with a particular hitter, he's got the opportunity to do it."

Worth noting
• With a 10th straight win Monday, Milwaukee would surpass the longest winning streak from last season. The franchise record is 13 in a row, set in 1987.

• At 308 saves, Rodriguez is two shy of matching Hall of Famer Goose Gossage for 20th place on the all-time list.

• Garza is 3-1 with a 3.96 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals.

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