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Nelson makes pitch to stay in rotation vs. Padres

Aug 26, 2014 - 2:48 PM ( - If Jimmy Nelson wants to campaign for a full-time spot in the Milwaukee pitching rotation, this would be a good time for a statement performance.

The right-hander makes what could be his final start for the time being on Tuesday night, when the Brewers visit Petco Park for the second of three games with the San Diego Padres.

Milwaukee won Monday's opener to maintain its 1 1/2-game lead over St. Louis in the National League's Central Division, scoring 10 runs while stretching a road win streak to five games.

The Brewers' pitching staff has maintained a 1.60 earned run average during those five games, and the starters have yielded just four runs in 32 collective innings.

"(Milwaukee's batters) were on tonight and they are an aggressive group," Padres manager Bud Black said. "They have power, they don't walk much or strike out much. It's a good offensive group."

Nelson's starting role is in jeopardy thanks to the imminent return of Matt Garza, who's been shelved since Aug. 5 with a left oblique muscle injury. He's on the schedule for a bullpen workout on Tuesday, and, if things go well, could take back his spot in five days and necessitate Nelson's transfer to the bullpen.

Nelson had gone at least six innings in five straight starts before being pulled with two outs in the sixth on Wednesday during a 9-5 loss to Toronto.

He'll be opposed by San Diego righty Tyson Ross, who's fifth in the majors in home-stadium ERA -- 1.94. It's been even better, dipping to 0.96, in his last four starts at Petco Park.

He's never faced Milwaukee at home. In two trips to Miller Park, he's won once and lost once while sporting a 4.50 ERA.

Ross dropped a 2-1 decision to Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday after allowing four hits and striking out eight.

"Ty was great," catcher Rene Rivera said. "That was one of the best outings. He was pounding the strike zone, he got quick outs. Two runs in eight innings is not bad. He did a great job."

On Monday, Aramis Ramirez went 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI as the Brewers crushed San Diego, 10-1. Gerardo Parra also drove in three runs, while Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez had three hits apiece, with the former adding a solo homer in the Brewers' 16-hit attack.

Kyle Lohse (12-7) had a successful return, allowing just one run on four hits and four walks over six innings in his first outing since suffering an ankle sprain on Aug. 13.

San Diego got its 10-game homestand off on the wrong foot as Eric Stults (6-14) was tagged for four runs on nine hits and three walks in five frames.

The Brewers won two of three at home over the Padres from April 21-23.