The Milwaukee Brewers hope a visit to Houston ends their road woes this evening, as they start a three-game set with the woeful Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Milwaukee enters this series on a high note after sweeping a three-game set from the National League Central-leading Cincinnati Reds, culminating with a 3-2 win on Wednesday.
Ryan Braun, who was hitless in his previous 18 at-bats, poked a double to left- center to score Carlos Gomez with the go-ahead run in that one. Gomez tied the game with an RBI single before Braun's double.
"We didn't hit a lot in St. Louis, especially in scoring position," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "We finally got some breaks this series with Gomez's blooper and Braun's hit and out starting pitching was outstanding."
Tonight, though, the Brewers hit the road, where they have lost nine in a row. Another loss tonight would give them their first 10-game slide away from home since July 31-Aug. 27, 1992.
"I think when we are hitting well as a team, I think we're aggressive on the pitches we need to be aggressive on," Roenicke added. "But I think when we go bad, I think we start swinging at pitches that aren't good pitches to hit, and we get ourselves in trouble."
Getting the call for the Brewers tonight will be righty Mark Rogers, who is 0-1 in his two starts this season with a 5.91 ERA. Rogers lost to St. Louis on Saturday, surrendering five runs and seven hits in five innings.
Houston, meanwhile, will counter with righty Bud Norris, who has lost his last eight decisions. Norris' latest setback came on Sunday in Atlanta, as the Braves ripped him for four runs and seven hits in six innings to drop him to 5-9 to go along with a 5.07 ERA.
"I've been throwing the ball as best I can and working hard and trying to get better, but I haven't caught that many breaks this year," said Norris, who has gotten an average of 2.33 runs in support during his 11-start winless drought.
Norris has faced the Brewers 10 times and is 4-3 with a 4.50 ERA against them.
While Milwaukee may enter this set on a bit of roll, Houston is at the exact opposite of the spectrum, having dropped five in a row and 34 of its last 38 games.
After going 3-24 in July, the Astros are just 1-7 in August and were swept in their most recent series by the MLB-leading Washington Nationals. But, before Thursday's 5-0 loss, the three previous setbacks to the Nats were by one run.
"Once we get enough of those small victories on top of one another, we're going to start seeing some wins," Astros manager Brad Mills said.
The Brewers have won seven of 11 against the Astros this season, but are only 2-3 at Minute Maid Park.