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MIL@ARI: Gallardo delivers quality start vs. D-backs

Nathan Eovaldi takes the hill on Saturday night against the Brewers for his sixth start in what the Marlins hope will be the right-hander's ninth straight quality start.

Eovaldi did not allow a stint on the 60-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation to throw him off track after a great finish to last season. He has been in top form since his June 18 debut, with a 2-0 record and 2.93 ERA.

In fact, the 23-year-old believes what he learned from his injury will help him continue to hum along as one of the stellar young arms in Miami's starting rotation.

"I found better ways to take care of my shoulder," Eovaldi said. "I've been keeping up with my routines. My shoulder has been feeling great."

After returning from a long-term injury with little signs of rust, Eovaldi is not concerned that eight days will have passed since his last start -- he seems primed to pick up where he left off before the break.

"I was feeling good anyway," Eovaldi said. "The All-Star break was just a couple of [extra] days off. I don't know if it helped out. But it was just good to have the time off."

Eovaldi has quietly become a force in a Marlins rotation that features two other young phenoms in All-Star rookie Jose Fernandez and Jacob Turner, who leads the team with a 2.44 ERA.

The centerpiece in Miami's haul from last summer's Hanley Ramirez trade, Eovaldi has ridden his sharp stuff to a team-best 1.04 WHIP, and is a reliable arm every five days.

"I'm just locating my fastball better," he said. "I'm using my offspeed pitches better. My curveball has been a lot better this season. And the defense has been there for me."

Behind the trio of Fernandez, Turner and Eovaldi, Marlins starters have allowed three earned runs or fewer in 24 of 27 starts since June 16. The Miami starting rotation's 2.99 ERA during that span ranks third in the Majors.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee's starting rotation has struggled. Brewers starters ranked 28th in the Majors with a 4.86 ERA and led all clubs with 41 losses before Kyle Lohse threw six strong innings in a 2-0 win on Friday.

Yovani Gallardo, who could be making his final appearance with the Brewers, will make his team-leading 21st start. He has dealt with numerous trade rumors as the non-waiver Trade Deadline nears.

"We need to pitch really well -- our starters -- and we're facing three guys that are pitching well, so we've got to create some offense," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I don't care who we're facing, we've got to score some runs and we've got to get some big hits."

Marlins: Morrison's knee in good shape
Logan Morrison likes how he feels after missing the season's first 61 games recovering from the second of two right knee surgeries since December 2011.

Morrison, who has missed a few games with back issues since his return on June 9, is batting .281 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in 89 at-bats.

"Knee feels great," Morrison said before a team workout on Thursday. "That's what I'm happiest about. No pain. I feel confident to do anything I need to do on it."

Brewers: Second half a fresh start
Milwaukee entered the All-Star break as one of the worst teams in the Majors.

The Brewers finished the first half with the second-worst record in the National League at 38-56 (ahead of only the Marlins), with a minus-65 run differential. However, manager Ron Roenicke is optimistic the second half will allow his club to turn the page.

"I think guys got a chance to relax a little bit [over the All-Star break]," Roenicke said. "We know how disappointing the first half was, so I'm sure these guys are anxious to get this thing going and start playing good."

Worth noting
• Francisco Rodriguez recorded his 304th career save on Friday, tying him with Jeff Montgomery for 21st on the all-time list.

• Adeiny Hechavarria ranks second in the National League with a .444 (24-for-54) batting average since July 1. He has raised his batting average from .176 to .248 since June 3.

• Juan Francisco and Carlos Gomez each hit a solo home run against Jacob Turner on Friday. Turner had surrendered only one home run in first 57 innings.

• Jonathan Lucroy leads all MLB catchers with 50 RBIs.

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