Houston hasn't had many opportunities to win back-to-back games over the last six weeks, but considering the bad luck Milwaukee's Marco Estrada is enduring on the mound and the Brewers' road woes, the Astros seem to have a decent chance of accomplishing that feat Saturday night.
Of course, they have their own pitching issues to worry about.
Following a comeback victory, Houston looks to make it two in a row for the first time since late June and send Milwaukee to its longest road losing streak in 42 years.
The Astros (37-77) seemed headed to another loss in Friday's series opener, trailing 3-1 after seven innings and still down a run entering the ninth. Steve Pearce's RBI single tied it before Brian Bogusevic drove in Pearce to lift Houston to a 4-3 victory, its first walkoff win of the season.
"It's been a long time since we've had some good things happen for us," Bogusevic said. "We've played a lot of close games but haven't come out with wins."
The Astros snapped a five-game losing streak and won for the fifth time in 39 contests. The last time they won back-to-back games came immediately before the poor stretch, June 26-27 against San Diego.
The Brewers (51-60) won their last game on the road a week and a half later. They've dropped 10 straight away from Miller Park and haven't lost 11 consecutive road games since a franchise-worst 17-game skid April 27-June 11, 1970.
For Estrada (0-5, 4.13 ERA), it probably feels like it's been about four decades since his last win.
The right-hander has made 13 starts and six relief appearances this year and came out of the bullpen eight times last season following his last win, Aug. 23 in Pittsburgh. His 13 consecutive starts without a victory is the longest stretch by a Brewer since Chris Capuano went a franchise-record 18 in a row May 13-Sept. 28, 2007.
"It would be nice to have a win," said Estrada, who has a 2.08 ERA over his last two starts but has received little support. "But if I keep pitching well, things will go my way one of these days."
Estrada made his only career start against Houston on July 30, allowing three runs and six hits in seven innings of an 8-7 win.
While Estrada is creeping up on a year since his last win, the Astros have lost Dallas Keuchel's last six starts, and the rookie left-hander has a 9.00 ERA in the last five.
Perhaps the worst outing of the stretch came in Milwaukee on July 31, when he was tagged for seven runs, seven hits and a career-worst six walks in four innings of a 10-1 loss. Aramis Ramirez had a three-run homer among his three hits off Keuchel (1-4, 5.60), while Ryan Braun singled and walked twice.
Keuchel then gave up four runs and a career-high 12 hits in six innings in a 5-4, 11-inning loss to Washington on Monday. Allowing the Nationals to make contact was part of his strategy, though, after he walked 12 in 13 1-3 innings over his previous three starts.
- Marco Estrada