Milwaukee (34-31) at Houston (33-33)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 2:05 pm EDT Thu Jun 12, 2008
  • TV: FSWI, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Milwaukee Brewers have gone on a home run tear in recent weeks. Facing the Houston Astros will help most teams hit the ball out of the park.

After one of their best games at the plate this season, the Brewers look to take advantage of another matchup against Astros pitching when the teams play the decisive game of their three-game set Thursday.

Corey Hart hit two of Milwaukee’s season-high five home runs to help the Brewers (34-31) snap a five-game losing streak at Minute Maid Park with a 10-6 win over Houston (33-33) on Wednesday night.

The Brewers have won eight of their last 11, hitting 21 home runs in that span. Along with Hart, Russell Branyan, Mike Cameron and Jason Kendall all went deep Wednesday.

“It’s fun winning games like this,” Hart said.

Milwaukee is one of the major league’s top power-hitting teams, with Ryan Braun leading the club with 17 home runs. Braun homered Tuesday night in this series’ opener, a 6-1 Brewers loss.

Facing Astros pitching has helped the Brewers keep their home run surge going. Houston has allowed a major league-high 92 homers.

But the Brewers may have to wait for a shot at the Astros bullpen Thursday if they hope to go deep again. Houston starter Brian Moehler (3-2, 3.76 ERA) has allowed just five home runs in 40 2-3 innings.

Meanwhile, four of the five homers given up by the Astros on Wednesday were surrendered by relievers.

Moehler faced the Brewers on May 31, allowing three runs and six hits - one home run - in five innings in a 4-1 loss. He is 3-7 with a 4.31 ERA in nine starts and nine relief appearances versus Milwaukee.

The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.50 ERA in his last three starts. He is coming off his best outing of the season, giving up two hits while striking out five in seven shutout innings in a 6-1 win over St. Louis on Friday night.

The Brewers will counter with Ben Sheets (6-1, 2.62), who is 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA in his last four starts. He allowed one run and five hits in six innings as Milwaukee lost 6-4 at Colorado on Friday night.

Sheets is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts versus the Astros this season, and 11-8 with a 3.71 ERA in 26 career outings against them.

Houston first baseman Lance Berkman, who has been red-hot at the plate this season, is batting .349 (22-for-63) with five home runs and eight doubles against Sheets. Berkman, though, went 0-for-3 Wednesday, failing to get a hit for just the 13th time in 65 games.

Despite Berkman’s hitting, the Astros have lost 10 of their last 13. They were held to two runs or less in the first seven of those contests.

“We’ve played - if you want to be truthful - some bad baseball the last two weeks,” Houston manager Cecil Cooper told the team’s official Web site.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Sheets Atl vs. B. Moehler Hou
13-9 Record 11-8
3.09 ERA 4.56
158 K 82
47 BB 36
1.15 WHIP 1.35

Scoreboard

Thursday, Jun 12