Brewers-Astros Preview

The Associated Press

The Houston Astros took advantage of an early exit by the Milwaukee Brewers' ace to end a nine-game skid.

They could end up facing him again before the All-Star break.

The Astros will try to avoid ending the season's first half with the worst record in the majors when they close their series against the Brewers on Sunday.

Houston (33-52) enters play Sunday one-half game in front of Colorado and the Chicago Cubs for the worst record in baseball. The Astros' nine-game losing streak, which included eight straight defeats to NL Central rivals, finally ended Saturday with a 6-3 victory over Milwaukee (39-45).

After Zack Greinke was ejected in the first inning for spiking the ball following a close play at first base, the Astros took advantage. Scott Moore homered for a second straight game while J.D. Martinez and Jose Altuve had three hits each.

"He's a Cy Young winner and to be able get him out of there and face their bullpen, that really helps you,'' said Houston center fielder Jordan Schafer, who had two hits and scored twice.

Houston finished with 13 hits, after totaling one run and nine hits over its previous two contests.

While Houston got a break Saturday, Milwaukee was considering bringing Greinke back to pitch again in the series finale.

"We already talked to Zack. He thinks he would be fine, but we're not positive which way we're going to go," manager Ron Roenicke said. "We've got some more conversations to go through."

Greinke, who had thrown four pitches before being ejected, was in favor of coming back out Sunday.

"It'd be a shame to completely waste a day I should be pitching,'' he said.

Assuming they don't opt to start Greinke again, the Brewers will give the ball to Marco Estrada (0-3, 4.31 ERA).

Estrada has pitched competently in his first two starts since coming off the disabled list, going six innings in each. He allowed two runs and four hits in a 13-12, 10-inning win over Miami on Tuesday.

The right-hander has pitched 4 2-3 career innings of relief against the Astros, allowing four runs and six hits over five appearances. He has not faced Houston this year.

Jordan Lyles (2-5, 5.40) will take the mound for the Astros looking to put a terrible outing behind him.

Lyles matched a career high with seven runs allowed in four innings of an 11-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday, the third time in five starts he failed to make it through the fifth.

"This is going to wear on me for a day or so then in a couple of days I'm going to forget it," Lyles said.

The right-hander made one start and one relief appearance against Milwaukee as a rookie last season, allowing five runs and eight hits over seven total innings and taking a loss.

The Brewers have dropped three of four following a four-game winning streak.