The right-hander looks to continue his dominance over the Astros on Friday night while trying to help the Brewers to a third straight victory in the opener of a three-game set at Minute Maid Park.
The 23-year-old native of Mexico, who attended high school some four hours north of Houston in Fort Worth, makes his first start against the Astros since September 2007. A serious knee injury limited him to four starts last year.
In two starts against Houston, Gallardo (1-1, 4.58 ERA) has allowed 13 hits in 15 scoreless innings. He gave up seven hits in eight innings of a 6-0 victory at Houston on Sept. 17, 2007 in his only appearance at Minute Maid Park.
Looking to continue his success against the Astros (6-10), Gallardo is coming off a strong outing against Johan Santana and the New York Mets. Gallardo allowed five hits and struck out seven in six scoreless innings of a 1-0 loss on Saturday.
The Brewers (6-9) have won three of their last four since that defeat, including two in a row to take a series at Philadelphia.
Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer, Prince Fielder drove in three and Dave Bush took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of Milwaukee’s 6-1 win on Thursday. The Brewers are 3-3 on their nine-game road trip.
“Hopefully this is the start of something,” third baseman Bill Hall told the Brewers’ official Web site.
Braun went 8-for-10 with three homers, six RBIs, five runs and four walks in three games against the Phillies.
“Probably the best series I’ve had as a professional,” said Braun, who is batting .327. “I’m really not a big believer in momentum, but confidence-wise, this series really helped.”
Braun is also hitting .327 with 11 home runs and 30 RBIs in 25 games against Houston. He is 1-for-3 against the Astros’ scheduled starter, Felipe Paulino.
A recent call up from Triple-A Round Rock, Paulino (0-0, 0.00) allowed three hits and struck out six in six scoreless innings of a 4-2 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday.
“He was really overpowering, and he opened a lot of eyes,” Astros manager Cecil Cooper said of the right-hander, who allowed five runs in four innings of a 9-1 loss to Milwaukee on Sept. 18 in his only start against the Brewers.
Miguel Tejada had two hits, while Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee combined to strike out four times in Houston’s 2-0 home loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. The Astros had four hits after posting 22 and 14 runs in winning their previous two over the Dodgers.
Hitting .365, Tejada went 5-for-13 with two doubles and three RBIs against Los Angeles. He is a lifetime .313 hitter with four homers and 12 RBIs against Milwaukee.
Houston hopes to have closer Jose Valverde available for this series after he injured his leg recording his first save Tuesday.
“I think I’ll be able to go (Friday),” Valverde told the Astros’ official Web site.
Though the Astros were 7-8 against Milwaukee in 2008, they went 4-2 against the Brewers at Minute Maid.