Milwaukee (33-47) at Houston (42-39)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Tue Jul 1, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Having blown a chance to have its first winning month in almost three years, the Milwaukee Brewers head to Houston to begin a three-game set with the Astros.

Milwaukee, which finished June with a 12-13 record, hasn’t had an above-.500 record in any month since September 2000. The Brewers had their chances on Sunday against Minnesota, but blew a two-run lead in the ninth and lost 5-4 in 10 innings.

“You can’t carry every one with you,” Brewers first baseman Richie Sexson said. “It just means it’ll be kind of a bad day off for us.”

With both teams having Monday off, July might not get off to a better start for Milwaukee as it will face Wade Miller, who is 10-1 with a 2.42 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

Houston could use a victory after dropping two of three to Texas, including Sunday’s 8-5 defeat. Center fielder Craig Biggio fell down trying to catch Alex Rodriguez’s tiebreaking two-run triple.

“I don’t know what happened,” Biggio said. “I slipped and fell. It was a terrible play. I would have caught it if I hadn’t fallen down. I feel horrible. The situation was it was a tie game so if you want to blame this one on me, I’ll take the heat.”

The Astros have dropped five of six, but are still tied for second place, one game behind St. Louis.

“We’re in a three-dog race and you have to do whatever you have to do to get yourself invited to the dance,” Biggio said.

STANDINGS: Brewers - 6th place, 9 1/2 GB, NL Central. Astros - 2nd place (tied), 1 GB, NL Central.

BREWERS PROBABLE STARTER: Ben Sheets (6-6, 4.29 ERA). Sheets is winless in his last four starts, including Wednesday’s 12-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs. He allowed five runs in six innings and didn’t factor in the decision. The right-hander is 4-2 with a 3.56 ERA in seven career starts against the Astros. Sheets did not get a decision against Houston on April 20, allowing four runs over six innings in Milwaukee’s 5-4 victory.

ASTROS PROBABLE STARTER: Miller (5-8, 4.53 ERA). Miller has pitched well recently, allowing three runs or fewer in five of his last six starts. The right-hander lost at Arizona on Wednesday, however, giving up three runs over seven innings in a 3-2 defeat. He pitched seven scoreless innings on April 19 in a 3-2, 14-inning loss at Milwaukee.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Brewers - Scott Podsednik, .329 avg.; Sexson, 22 HRs and 52 runs; Geoff Jenkins, 61 RBIs; Eric Young, 17 SBs. Astros - Richard Hidalgo, .317 avg.; Morgan Ensberg, Lance Berkman and Jeff Bagwell, 14 HRs; Jeff Kent, 50 RBIs; Berkman, 54 runs; Adam Everett, 6 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Brewers, 3-1.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Brewers - RHP Mike DeJean blew his fifth save in 21 chances Sunday. … LHP Glendon Rusch has given up just eight hits in 14 innings in his two starts for Triple-A Indianapolis. Rusch was 1-11 with an 8.61 ERA with Milwaukee when he was sent down earlier this month. … OF Podsednik leads all rookies with 16 stolen bases and a .329 average. Astros - OF Biggio needs two doubles to become the first Houston player to reach 500. … OF Berkman is 7-for-18 (.389) with three homers in his career against RHP Sheets. … RHP Miller has contained the Brewers top two hitters, holding 1B Sexson and OF Jenkins to a combined 12-for-63 (.190) with 18 strikeouts.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Brewers - 18-20 on the road; Astros - 24-16 at home.

INJURIES: Brewers - RHP Jayson Durocher (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Nick Neugebauer (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Todd Ritchie (shoulder), 15-day DL. Astros - 2B Jeff Kent (wrist), 15-day DL; LHP Carlos Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Brian Moehler (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Roy Oswalt (groin), 15-day DL; 2B Jose Vizcaino (wrist), 15-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Sheets Atl vs. W. Miller Tor
11-13 Record 14-13
4.45 ERA 4.13
157 K 161
43 BB 77
1.25 WHIP 1.31