Gallardo looks to build on the most dominant outing of his career as Milwaukee continues its three-game set with Houston.
The Brewers (34-42) have won four straight home series over the Astros since dropping two of three from July 25-27, 2008. To keep that run going, they will have to play better than they did Monday, when they were outscored 7-0 and committed two errors in the final four innings of a 9-5 loss.
“Every once in a while, you’re going to have a stinker,” said manager Ken Macha, whose team had won five of six and 20 of 26 at Miller Park against Houston. The Brewers had also won five of six at home overall.
Michael Bourn(notes) had a career high-tying four hits and Hunter Pence(notes) and Pedro Feliz(notes) added three apiece for the Astros (30-47), who had 14 hits. Houston also posted its highest run total since a 9-6 victory at St. Louis on May 12, but putting up those kind of numbers could be tough against Gallardo (7-3, 2.36 ERA).
The right-hander, 7-1 with a 1.78 ERA since losing his first two starts, threw a five-hitter in a 5-0 victory over Minnesota on Thursday. He retired the first 16 batters and struck out a career high-tying 12. Gallardo did not walk a batter for the first time since a 5-2 win at Houston on April 24, 2009.
“My command is getting a lot better,” he told the Brewers’ official website following his second career shutout. “I’m able to throw my curveball for strikes, slider, changeup, and just mix everything in. … It makes a huge difference.”
As does Gallardo’s hitting. He went 2 for 4 with a double and two runs Thursday, raising his batting average to .194.
The Astros’ Brett Myers(notes) (5-5, 3.20) also helped himself at the plate in his last outing, recording a career-best two hits and an RBI in a 6-3 victory over San Francisco on Wednesday. Myers yielded one earned run in seven innings and became the first Astros pitcher to go at least six innings in each of his first 15 starts.
“I’m not trying to break any records,” he told the team’s official website. “I’m just trying to give the club wins.”
Myers, 1-5 with a 3.78 ERA in seven road starts on the season, is 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts in Milwaukee. He surrendered two runs over six innings of a 4-3, 10-inning loss at Miller Park on May 27.
Ryan Braun is 0 for 6 lifetime against Myers, but the Brewers left fielder has a history of hitting Astros pitching hard. Braun went 2 for 4 with a homer Monday and has batted .343 with 16 home runs and 46 RBIs in 44 games versus Houston.
Bourn, who went 1 for 12 as the Astros dropped two of three in Milwaukee last month, has five hits in 14 at-bats against Gallardo.