Houston (16-9) at Milwaukee (15-11)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Milwaukee, WI
Temp: 86° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Tue May 2, 2006
  • TV: FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Bill Hall’s three games with three hits have helped the Milwaukee Brewers to a three-game winning streak.

Hall looks to continue his hot hitting and the Brewers play for their fourth straight win and seventh win in eight games when they face the Houston Astros in the two-game series finale Tuesday at Miller Park.

The Brewers (15-11) won Monday’s series opener 4-2, following 16-2 and 9-0 wins over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday and Sunday.

Hall has nine hits in 14 at-bats during the winning streak with one homer in each game. The hot stretch has accounted for three of his six home runs and four of his 11 RBIs this season. He also fell a double shy of hitting for the cycle Sunday.

The utilityman is batting .348 in 20 games this season after starting at third base for the ninth time Monday. He’s also had stints at shortstop, second base and center field.

“I’m embracing being in the lineup no matter how I get in there,” Hall said. “I feel pretty good up there. It’s fun right now … We always knew we could get on a roll like this, and, hopefully, here we go.”

The Brewers have amassed 54 runs and 18 homers in their last nine games. Left fielder Carlos Lee set a team record with 10 home runs in April, and hit his 11th of the season in the third inning Monday.

Right fielder Geoff Jenkins has an eight-game hitting streak after he went 2-for-4 Monday, and has increased his average from .247 to .298 over that span.

“We’re just doing what everybody expected us to do, and what we feel like we can do,” Hall said. “And when it comes together, we’re a dangerous team. We’re definitely a team to be reckoned with in the National League Central.”

The Astros (16-9) have lost three of their last four games to fall out of the NL Central’s top spot.

Houston is now allowed to begin pursuing seven-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Roger Clemens, the free agent who was not allowed to sign with his former club before May 1. The Astros have asked the pitcher’s agent to meet this week, although Clemens is also considering retirement.

“We’d like to have him back,” Astros manager Phil Garner said before Sunday’s game. “But he’s not a factor in our ballclub … We’re not waiting for him. We’re not holding back.”

Astros right-hander Fernando Nieve (0-0, 4.50 ERA) tries to last five innings for the first time in his third start of the season Tuesday.

Nieve went 4 2-3 innings in his last outing, a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers last Tuesday, giving up five hits and two runs to go with two walks and two strikeouts.

The Brewers counter with right-hander Ben Sheets (1-2, 4.00), who earned his first win in three starts last Wednesday, limiting the Atlanta Braves to two runs in six innings while striking out nine.

Sheets has struck out 25 batters in 18 innings this season, walking only one. He is 9-6 with a 3.16 lifetime ERA versus the Astros.

Houston first baseman Lance Berkman is 14-for-41 (.341) against Sheets, including three home runs and five doubles.

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Starting Pitchers

F. Nieve LAA vs. B. Sheets Atl
3-3 Record 6-7
4.20 ERA 3.82
70 K 116
41 BB 11
1.33 WHIP 1.09