Brewers sense start of momentum vs. Astros

This weekend’s series is a perfect opportunity for the Milwaukee Brewers to take some much-needed momentum into the All-Star break. No team in Major League Baseball is playing as poorly as the Astros, losers of nine consecutive games, and the Brewers capitalized with a 7-1 win Friday night in Houston.

Yovani Gallardo gave up only one run in six innings, and Milwaukee’s bullpen of Kameron Loe and Livan Hernandez held the Astros scoreless the rest of the way.

“I think early on (in the season), Yo (Gallardo) was kind of off and on, good game, then so-so, then good game,” manager Ron Roenicke said on FOX Sports Wisconsin. “He’s strung together a lot of good games in a row now.”

The Brewers’ offense got going early against Houston left-handed starter J.A. Happ. In the first inning, Nori Aoki and Ryan Braun hit back-to-back solo home runs. Rickie Weeks added a two-run homer in the sixth and Milwaukee scored three more in the seventh to take a commanding lead.

“It’s nice to see everybody felt like they were locked in,” Roenicke said of the team’s 10 hits in the game.

The mood got a bit contentious in the ninth inning after Braun was hit in the back by a pitch. Hernandez responded in the bottom of the inning by hitting Houston catcher Jason Castro, and both benches were warned.

“He’s sore,” Roenicke said of Braun. “He got (hit) pretty good.”

The win moves the Brewers to 39-44. If Milwaukee is able to sweep the struggling Astros and inch closer to the top of the Central division (currently 7.0 games back), it may help general manger Doug Melvin in deciding whether to be buyers, sellers or stay as is over the four-day All-Star break with the trade deadline approaching later this month.

Zack Greinke will go for his 10th win of the season as he starts Game 2 of the series on Saturday against lefty Wandy Rodriguez.

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