Now in his fifth season, Yovani Gallardo has never lost to the Houston Astros in Milwaukee. He will, however, likely need to recapture the command he's lacked in his last two starts if he hopes to continue that success.
Gallardo takes the mound looking to regroup from an ugly stretch as the Brewers return to Miller Park to open a three-game set with Houston on Friday night.
After allowing two runs over 15 innings during his first two starts, Gallardo (1-1, 4.62 ERA) has posted an ERA of 9.58 over his most recent two. He gave up season-worsts of seven runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings of Sunday's 8-4 loss at Washington.
"I don't have any answers for it," first-year manager Ron Roenicke said. "He started off good, and then lost the plan. I don't know what it is when Yo loses the plan. He had it all spring, and he had it the first two games. I thought when he came out, I thought he had it to begin with and lost it."
Since the right-hander struggled in the opener of the doubleheader, Milwaukee's starters have recorded a 1.50 ERA over 24 innings, a trend Gallardo will look to continue.
The Mexican native has won all five of his starts versus the Astros (7-12) at home with a 3.00 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 30 innings. He is 3-0 with a 2.34 ERA in his last five home starts overall dating to last season.
Despite outscoring opponents 36-25, the Brewers (9-9) completed a 4-4 road trip after falling 4-3 to Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Slugging first baseman Prince Fielder went 3 for 3 with two RBIs to increase his average to .368 while Ryan Braun, who signed a $105 million, five-year contract extension Thursday, went 1 for 5 to extend his hitting streak to a season-high six games.
"I truly believe I can get much better as a player," said Braun, whose 18 home runs against Houston are his most versus any opponent. "These first 18 games are probably the best baseball I've played in my career and I really believe that's a sign of things to come."
The Brewers are 5-2 at home, where they have taken three straight and 24 of 32 from Houston.
The Astros, who had surrendered a total of four runs en route to back-to-back road wins over the New York Mets, fell 9-1 in Thursday's series finale and dropped to 0-12 when allowing at least four runs.
"We'll look back and look at some things and move on but we're very happy with the series victory," said manager Brad Mills, whose team is batting .233 on the road - among the worst in the NL.
Nelson Figueroa (0-2, 7.31), Houston's scheduled starter, gave up three runs - two earned - and six hits in 6 2-3 innings, but didn't get a decision in a 5-3 win over San Diego on Saturday.
Figueroa has gone 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA over four lifetime starts against the Brewers. Braun and Fielder are a combined 2 for 14 against the right-hander.
The Associated Press News Service
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