Milwaukee (82-57) at Houston (47-91)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Houston, TX
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Sat Sep 3, 2011
  • TV: WMLW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After getting swept at home by their closest pursuers in the NL Central, the Milwaukee Brewers have widened their division lead at the expense of the worst team in the major leagues.

Led by red-hot Prince Fielder(notes), Milwaukee will try to win its eighth straight over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.

Following a three-game sweep at Miller Park by St. Louis earlier in the week, the Brewers (82-57) appeared headed to another loss Friday before scoring all their runs in the final three innings of the 8-2 win. Combined with the Cardinals’ loss to Cincinnati, Milwaukee increased its lead to 8 1/2 games while cutting its magic number to 16.

The Brewers and Cardinals will play their final three games of the season series starting Monday at Busch Stadium.

Milwaukee is hitting .316 during its seven-game winning streak over the Astros with Fielder dominating Houston’s woeful staff - last in the NL with a 4.53 ERA. Fielder went 4 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs Friday, and is hitting .643 (18 for 28) with four homers and 10 RBIs during his team’s run.

“Prince looked really good today at the plate,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “His rhythm was great, his swings were great, even the balls he was fouling back, and he’s also seeing the ball really well.”

The All-Star MVP is 3 for 6 with a homer and two RBIs this season against the Astros’ Bud Norris(notes) (6-8, 3.68 ERA), who’s scheduled to face Milwaukee for the third time.

Norris is 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA against the Brewers with both games played in Houston. He limited them to three hits and fanned a season-high 11 in 7 2-3 innings of a 5-0 win on May 1.

The right-hander gave up two runs, three hits and struck out 10 over seven innings in the Astros’ 4-3, 11-inning win over San Francisco on Sunday.

Ryan Braun(notes) is 0 for 5 this season and 5 for 17 with two homers and three RBIs in his career off Norris, while Casey McGehee(notes) has struck out seven times in 11 lifetime at-bats. Braun had two hits and two RBIs and McGehee hit a two-run homer Friday.

Jimmy Paredes(notes) and Clint Barmes(notes) each had two hits and an RBI for Houston (47-91), which failed to win a season-high fifth in a row.

The Brewers hope Chris Narveson(notes) has overcome a pair of injuries to his pitching hand as he’s slated to make his first start since Aug. 22.

In his first game after coming off the 15-day disabled list due to a lacerated left thumb, Narveson (9-6, 4.28) tossed 5 1-3 shutout innings and drove in two runs before exiting with a torn nail on his left middle finger in an 8-1 win over Pittsburgh.

He walked one in one inning of relief during Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to St. Louis, and is 3-0 with a 2.67 ERA in his last six appearances.

“I kept my mind sharp throughout the layoff. If that’s sharp, the physical stuff is secondary,” Narveson told the Brewers’ official website.

In three games this year against Houston, Narveson is 1-1 with a 5.50 ERA. Eight of thee 11 runs he’s surrendered have come in Minute Maid Park.

Carlos Lee(notes) has two of his team-high 13 homers this season off Narveson. Lee is hitting .440 (22 for 50) with two homers and seven RBIs in a season-high 13-game hitting streak.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Narveson Mia vs. B. Norris Bal
11-8 Record 6-11
4.45 ERA 3.77
126 K 176
65 BB 70
1.39 WHIP 1.33


Saturday, Sep 3