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CHC@MIL: Burgos notches his first career strikeout

The Brewers, who lost to the Padres on Wednesday night to snap a nine-game winning streak, will be looking to start a new one when they travel up to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers for a weekend series that begins Friday night.

They'll send to the mound a young right-hander who is making his second Major League start after a successful debut. Hiram Burgos will be up against a guy who once fit the same profile. Josh Beckett came up to the big leagues quickly and made a name for himself with dynamic stuff from the right side, and now that he's a veteran, he's working on re-discovering that magic.

Burgos was as exciting as the Brewers hoped he would be in his debut against the Cubs. He went five innings and allowed one run on five hits, and when the game had ended, he had become the first Brewers starter to win his big league debut since Yovani Gallardo on June 18, 2007.

The Brewers were particularly impressed with Burgos' aggressiveness in the strike zone and the way he didn't back down from hitters.

"He gets ahead of guys," Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "He threw well and he definitely earned a second start right there. He can throw strikes with all of his pitches, and that's a key point to being successful. He's going to do a good job for us. You throw strikes, you'll win."

Meanwhile, Beckett will win a lot of games for the Dodgers -- who finish up their series against the Mets in New York on Thursday night -- if he repeats what he did April 14 against the D-backs, although he didn't get the victory in that game.

Beckett was brilliant until he gave up a walk-off run with one out in the bottom of the ninth in a tough 1-0 loss.

But it was the best Beckett has been as a Dodger. His fastball velocity was up to 94 mph and was still at 93 in the ninth inning. He got ahead of hitters and put them away. He was effective mixing his fastball, curveball and changeup.

"I feel like I'm getting on top of the ball better and using my lower half, which is allowing me to get on top," Beckett said. "I always want to get my fingers on top, but last year things prevented me [from doing that] and I got in bad habits. I feel I did a better job today.

"I've always been a guy, in April, I'm still building arm strength, and it's May when I hit my stride, velocity-wise. Maybe the extra week [of Spring Training] pushed me ahead."

If so, it will be a very tough assignment for Burgos and the Brewers.

Brewers: Rocking in relief
Brewers relievers have gone 3-0 with a 1.03 ERA and are 5-for-5 in save chances over the last 12 games (35 innings pitched, four earned runs). The Milwaukee bullpen has pitched 15 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings entering Friday's game.

• Brewers starters had just one quality start over the first six games of the season, posting a 6.12 ERA (32 1/3 innings pitched, 22 earned runs). Since then, the starters have produced 10 quality starts in the past 14 games.

Dodgers: Kemp proves his skipper right
Center fielder Matt Kemp has been slumping all month, but he hit his first home run of the year on Wednesday night and had a two-hit game on Thursday, which made Dodgers manager Don Mattingly seem somewhat clairvoyant.

"We just need him to be 25 to 30 homers, you hope around 100 RBIs and .300 by the end of the year," Mattingly said before Wednesday's game against the Mets. "He hit .330 one time and you hope that is the norm, but it hasn't been the norm and that's all we need, a normal year. His power will come back. It's not going anywhere. He's going to get his share of home runs."

• The Tommy John surgery performed on Chad Billingsley's right elbow Wednesday night went as expected, with the right-hander likely sidelined for a year. Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the operation on Billingsley.

 

Worth noting
• Milwaukee second baseman Rickie Weeks went 1-for-4 on Wednesday to snap a four-game hitless streak, but he's still batting .086 (5-for-58) in his last 15 games.

• Dodgers reliever Matt Guerrier has a scoreless-innings streak of six, a team-high among relievers.

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