Rookie southpaw Dallas Keuchel gets another chance to pull Houston out of a prolonged slump tonight, when the Astros visit Miller Park for game two of a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Astros dropped an 8-7 decision in Monday's opener - their 13th loss in 14 games. Houston lost a major-league worst 106 games in 2011.
Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy scored the go-ahead run on Cesar Izturis' eighth- inning infield single and the Brewers survived another shaky bullpen performance to edge the Astros.
The Brewers, who fired bullpen coach Stan Kyles earlier Monday, initially took the lead with a four-run seventh inning, but Livan Hernandez allowed Steve Pearce's game-tying double in the eighth.
In the bottom half, Lucroy legged out a leadoff double and moved to third on Nyjer Morgan's bunt single before crossing the plate on Izturis' dribbler in front of the mound.
Cody Ransom followed with a three-run homer, adding some much-needed insurance for a Milwaukee bullpen which leads the majors in blown saves and needed a trio of relievers to record the final three outs.
"When Cody hit the homer I thought we were gonna win it nice and clean," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "It didn't happen, again."
Hernandez (3-1) was credited with the win despite giving up Brian Bogusevic's run-scoring single in the ninth. Kameron Loe didn't fare much better, allowing Justin Maxwell's RBI double before departing with runners on second and third with one out.
The 24-year-old Keuchel, a seventh-round draft pick in 2009, was an 8-1 winner over Cleveland for his first big-league win in appearance No. 2 on June 23, but he's since lost three decisions in four starts.
He was roughed up for five runs in six innings of a 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh in his most recent start on July 26, which raised his earned run average from 4.03 to 4.63.
Keuchel's ERA through three starts was a stingy 1.35, but he's since allowed 19 hits and 16 runs in 15 innings.
Keuchel is 0-2 in three road starts this season.
For Milwaukee, right-hander Yovani Gallardo aims to continue a career's worth of success against the Astros.
The 26-year-old Mexican won a 7-1 decision at Houston on July 6 after allowing a run on four hits in six innings, improving him to 11-2 in 13 career starts against the Astros.
Houston batters have managed a .229 average against him in 86 innings.
In three starts since the Astros win, Gallardo is 1-2 and has allowed 12 runs on 20 hits in 17 2/3 innings.
Entering this series, the teams had split eight meetings thus far in 2012, with Milwaukee winning two of three in April, the Astros sweeping a two-game series in May and the Brewers winning two of three in July.
The Brewers won the season series in 2011, 12 games to three.