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Brewers continue to roll with win over Houston

Aug 6, 2011 - 5:53 AM Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo beat J.A. Happ and the Houston Astros for the second time in seven days, pitching eight strong innings Friday night to lead Milwaukee to an 8-1 win in the opener of a three-game series.

Gallardo (13-7) allowed one run on just four hits and a walk, striking out six. The 25-year-old right-hander yielded one unearned run in a 6-2 victory over Houston on Saturday that came in the middle of Milwaukee's three-game sweep.

Indeed, the Brewers have been feasting on NL Central teams lately. They are 9-1 during a current 18-game streak of playing only division opponents, giving them a three-game lead over the Cardinals for first place.

Corey Hart hit a solo homer and Ryan Braun was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored for the Brewers, who remained hot after entering the game fresh off an 8-1 homestand.

"This is a nice little run where we've swung the bat really well all through the lineup," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.

Happ (4-14) continued his monumental struggles, giving up six runs and seven hits in just four innings to fall to 1-10 in his last 14 starts.

The 28-year-old left-hander became the first Astros pitcher ever to give up five runs or more in eight straight starts.

The Astros finished with just four hits and fell to 4-10 in their last 14 games.

One positive note came in the fifth inning when J.B. Shuck, recently called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City, singled to become the third Astros player in seven days to get a hit in his first major league at-bat. J.D. Martinez and Jimmy Paredes were the others.

Later, Craig Counsell stroked a pinch-hit single for Milwaukee in the ninth inning to snap an 0-for-45 slump that dated to June 11.

Happ nearly reached his dubious milestone while giving up three runs in the first inning.

The first three Brewers batters of the game reached base to spark the rally. Hart walked, Jerry Hairston singled and Braun doubled to the left field wall to drive in Hart. Casey McGehee added a one-out bloop single into center field that scored the other two runs to make it 3-0.

Humberto Quintero hit a bases-loaded single to score a run in the second inning for Houston, but the Brewers came back to score three in the third and push Happ past the mark yet again.

This time, the first four Milwaukee batters reached base on Braun's single, Prince Fielder's double, McGehee's walk and Yuniesky Betancourt's RBI single. Felipe Lopez scored Fielder with a sacrifice fly and Jonathan Lucroy knocked in McGehee with a single to make it 6-1.

Happ's five-run streak includes Saturday's loss in Milwaukee, when he allowed five runs (two earned).

"It's too bad." Astros manager Brad Mills said of Happ's struggles, "because we thought he threw the ball so well last week in Milwaukee."

Hart knocked Aneury Rodriguez's 0-1 slider over the wall in left-center field leading off the sixth inning for his 16th homer of the season and a 7-1 lead.

Counsell's hit in the ninth helped Milwaukee load the bases and Enerio Del Rosario walked Lucroy to force in the game's final run.

Game Notes

Shuck stole second base after his single...The Brewers moved to 29-18 against NL Central opponents so far this season...Happ's only win since May 14 was July 19 over the Washington Nationals. His ERA climbed to 6.26 for the season.

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    HOUSTON: 1

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  • Mark Kotsay is pinch-hitting for Yovanni Gallardo.

    Brewers 8, Astros 1  Top 9, 2 OutsAug 5 10:50 PM
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    Brewers 8, Astros 1  Top 9, 2 OutsAug 5 10:50 PM

  • Corey Hart lead-off Home Run (16) to left center. Jerry Hairston Jr. due up.

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    Brewers 6, Astros 1  Top 3, 1 OutAug 5 9:04 PM
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    Brewers 6, Astros 1  Top 3, 1 OutAug 5 9:04 PM

  • Yuniesky Betancourt single to right scored Ryan Braun with none out. On the play, Casey McGehee advances to second and Prince Fielder advances to third. Bases loaded and Felipe Lopez due up.

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    Brewers 3, Astros 1  Bot 2, 1 OutAug 5 8:47 PM
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    Brewers 3, Astros 1  Bot 2, 1 OutAug 5 8:47 PM

  • Yuniesky Betancourt grounded into a fielder's choice, third to second. On the play, Casey McGehee out at second. Runner on first with two outs and Felipe Lopez due up.

    Brewers 3, Astros 0  Top 1, 2 OutsAug 5 8:20 PM

  • Ryan Braun double to left scored Corey Hart with none out. On the play, Jerry Hairston Jr. advances to third. Runners on second and third and Prince Fielder due up.

    Brewers 1, Astros 0  Top 1, 0 OutsAug 5 8:16 PM

    HOUSTON: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

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