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Astros Open Three-Game Set With Milwaukee

The Astros picked up a little momentum against the Reds but got swept by the Brewers last weekend.

(Sports Network) - Milwaukee doesn't seem to mind being in the midst of 18 consecutive games against National League Central opponents.

The division-leading Brewers will try to maintain their edge in NL Central play when they open a three-game series against the Houston Astros tonight from Minute Maid Park. The Brewers are 8-1 so far on this stretch against Central foes and 28-18 in division action this season. They won a third straight series by taking two of three meetings versus St. Louis, including a 10-5 drubbing of the Cardinals in Wednesday's series finale.

Randy Wolf survived six rough innings on the hill to prevail for the eighth time this season (8-8) and was reached for five runs and nine hits with two strikeouts and a pair of walks. Kameron LoeLaTroy Hawkins and John Axford each threw a scoreless inning of relief to hold the Cardinals in check and keep them three games off the pace for the division lead.

Wolf was backed by three home runs from Casey McGehee, who finished with five RBI. Corey Hart added a home run for the Brewers.

"They definitely picked me up today," Wolf said. "It was nice to see the way they battled. It was really fun to watch Casey have a game like he did today."

Milwaukee is an MLB-best 41-15 at home this season, but just 21-35 away from Miller Park. It hopes Yovani Gallardo can exorcise the road demons when he takes the mound Friday night in Space City. Gallardo has alternated wins and losses in his last eight trips to the mound and defeated Houston in Saturday's 6-2 triumph in Brew City. He allowed one unearned run over seven innings, lifting his record to 12-7 in 23 starts with a 3.69 ERA.

Gallardo, who is just 4-6 in 12 road outings in 2011, has owned the Astros in his career as evidenced by a 9-2 mark with a 3.00 ERA in 11 lifetime starts.

Houston recently won two of three meetings with Cincinnati and entered the series with Reds having lost three straight and eight of 10 games. In Wednesday's 5-4 victory over the Reds in the series finale at Minute Maid Park, Jordan Lyles recorded his first major league win by tossing seven innings of three-run ball.

"I haven't been nervous this year, but I was nervous in that dugout tonight after I came out," Lyles said. "I'm not nervous when I'm on the mound at all, but emotions were up and down."

J.D. Martinez homered and collected four RBI, while Humberto Quintero also went deep for the Astros, who still possess baseball's worst record at 37-74.

J.A. Happ has one of the worst records in the league as well at 4-13 in 21 starts. He was able to slightly lower his earned run to 6.01 in his previous outing and will take the mound Friday versus the Brewers. Happ has lost back- to-back starts and was beaten by Milwaukee in Saturday's 6-2 road loss in which he allowed five runs -- two earned -- and 10 hits in five innings.

Happ, a lefty, is 3-5 in 11 starts at Minute Maid Park this season and 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA in five games (4 starts) lifetime against the Brewers.

Milwaukee has beaten Houston six out of nine tries this season, with a 5-1 mark in games played at Miller Park.

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