Astros-Brewers Preview

Brett Myers has already set a Houston Astros franchise record by

completing at least six innings in 22 consecutive starts to begin

the season.

His worst one, however, came at Miller Park.

Undefeated since a loss at Milwaukee in late June, Myers will

look to win a fourth consecutive decision Saturday when the Astros

continue their series with the Brewers.

A remarkably consistent season recently earned Myers (8-6, 3.10

ERA) a two-year contract extension with Houston.

Not only has the right-hander pitched deep into games, but he’s

also almost always given the Astros a chance to win, holding

opponents to four runs or fewer in 21 of his 22 outings.

The lone exception came in Wisconsin on June 29, when Myers

allowed four home runs – including two by Prince Fielder – and

seven runs in six innings of a 7-5 defeat.

“It was different, wasn’t it?” Houston manager Brad Mills said

after that game. “The way he’s pitched all year, that was something

that we’ve come not to expect. It was a little bit surprising.”

Myers has quickly recovered, allowing a total of two homers in

six subsequent starts. He’s 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA and a .170 opponent

batting average in that stretch.

The Astros (47-61) held Milwaukee (51-59) to three total runs

while winning their next four games against the Brewers after

Myers’ loss. They appeared en route to a fifth consecutive victory

over their NL Central rivals Friday night, but closer Matt

Lindstrom blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning and Milwaukee

won 6-5 on Fielder’s two-run walk-off hit.

“It’s always fun to win, especially like that,” Fielder said.

“You hope you don’t have to go that far to win, but every win is

always fun.”

The Brewers will have Randy Wolf (7-9, 4.91) on the mound as

they look for a fourth win in five games. They’ll have a good

chance if Wolf pitches like he has in his first two starts against

Houston this season.

The left-hander is 1-0 with a 0.69 versus the Astros in 2010,

pitching seven shutout innings in a 6-1 home win May 25. He was

just as sharp Sunday, working six shutout innings before he was

struck on the left wrist by Hunter Pence’s infield single to lead

off the seventh.

“I hate to see that happen and I hope he’s OK,” Pence said. “I

feel bad. He’s a friend of mine. You don’t ever want to see anyone

take one anywhere.”

Wolf left the game and the Brewers’ bullpen crumbled en route to

a 5-2 defeat, but an MRI revealed no damage and Wolf has proclaimed

himself ready to return Saturday.

He’ll face a Houston offense that has scored at least four runs

in nine consecutive games, although the Astros have lost two in a

row following a season-best seven-game winning streak.

Chris Johnson continued to be a major contributor Friday, with

two hits and an RBI. Houston’s rookie third baseman is batting .429

with 21 RBIs in 19 games since the All-Star break.