Astros-Brewers Preview

Yovani Gallardo has been the most reliable starter for a

Milwaukee rotation that has struggled this season. The Brewers have

come to rely on their ace to get the best of the Houston

Astros.

The right-hander tries for a fourth straight victory over the

Astros as the Brewers look to complete a three-game sweep at Miller

Park on Sunday afternoon.

Milwaukee’s starters have a 4.83 ERA, among the worst in the

majors. That’s not been because of Gallardo (10-5, 2.71), who has

won two of three outings since coming off the disabled list with an

oblique strain.

Gallardo allowed a run, two hits and matched a career-high with

12 strikeouts in six innings of an 18-1 win over the Cubs on

Monday. He bounced back after giving up six runs in 2 2-3 innings

of a 12-4 home loss to Cincinnati on July 27.

“You expect it because he’s our ace, our best pitcher. We don’t

expect anything less from him,” teammate Ryan Braun said.

Gallardo, 6-2 with a 2.72 ERA versus Houston, has won his last

three starts against the Astros. He gave up four runs in six

innings of a 7-5 home victory June 29.

A week after totaling two runs while being swept at Houston,

Milwaukee (52-59) can return the favor after scoring 11 in the

first two meetings this weekend. The Brewers have won four of five

after a 5-2 victory Saturday.

Corey Hart had three hits, Prince Fielder drove in two runs and

Rickie Weeks led off the game with an inside-the-park home run.

Though no longer the closer, Trevor Hoffman recorded his sixth

save of the season, leaving him three shy of 600 for his career

“I’m just glad we were able to get him a little closer to where

he wants to go,” manager Ken Macha said.

Fielder has five RBIs in the series and 11 over his last five

games. He is 6 for 17 in his last four against the Astros

(47-62).

Weeks has a career-high 23 home runs and set a Brewers’ record

with his seventh leadoff homer this season. The second baseman is

batting .364 against Houston this year.

Wesley Wright (1-1, 4.44) will try to beat Milwaukee for the

second time in as many starts Sunday. The left-hander allowed two

runs and struck out six in seven innings of a 5-2 win in his first

start against the Brewers last Sunday.

“I was able to get ahead early,” Wright told the Astros’

official website. “It gives them more to think about. It was there

(in the last start), and hopefully, it will be there next time

out.”

The former reliever is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three starts since

being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock.

Houston rookie Chris Johnson had two hits Saturday to raise his

average to .355 in 44 games. The third baseman is batting .453 with

19 RBIs in his last 17 contests for the Astros, who have lost three

straight since winning seven in a row.