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Fading Brewers turn to Gallardo vs. Astros

(Sports Network) - Red-hot right-hander Yovani Gallardo will try to keep the Milwaukee Brewers' fleeting postseason hopes alive tonight when they host the Houston Astros in the opener of a three-game weekend series at Miller Park.

The Brewers lost a ninth-inning lead in a Thursday game at Cincinnati and dropped a 2-1 decision that pushed them four games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the chase for the National League's final available wild card playoff berth.

Milwaukee is also a game back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the chase for the slot.

Gallardo, a 26-year-old, is 13-2 in 15 career starts against Houston with a 2.68 earned run average in 100 2/3 innings.

His last meeting with them ended in a 5-3 victory on Aug. 12 in Houston after he scattered nine hits and allowed three runs across 7 2/3 innings.

Milwaukee has won each of his last 11 starts and he's not lost since dropping an 8-2 decision to Washington on July 26.

In 17 home starts in 2012, Gallardo is 9-3 with a 3.59 ERA.

He's opposed by righty Edgar Gonzalez, who makes his fifth start as an Astro and first of his career against the Brewers.

A veteran of 41 starts in 107 big-league outings prior to this season, Gonzalez defeated Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in his first two starts with Houston while combining to allow seven hits and two runs in 10 1/3 innings.

He dropped a 12-6 decision to Philadelphia for his initial Houston loss on Sept. 14, and allowed a hit in 1 2/3 innings against Pittsburgh on Sept. 21 before leaving with a strained right hamstring.

In six relief outings against Milwaukee, he's allowed nine runs on 16 hits in 12 innings.

On Thursday in Cincinnati, Dioner Navarro followed Todd Frazier's game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning with an RBI triple to lift the Reds over the Brewers, 2-1, in the rubber match of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

John Axford (5-8) struck out the first two batters he faced in the ninth before allowing three straight hits to take the loss for Milwaukee.

"We've been coming together as a team really well and today is just a crushing loss," Axford said. "We put ourselves in a tough spot now."

On Wednesday in Houston, Bud Norris snapped a lengthy losing streak as he pitched into the eighth inning, and the Astros took a 2-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Norris (6-13) gave up just two hits and struck out seven in 7 1/3 innings to win for the first time since May 21. He was 0-12 in his previous 18 starts.

"That's the Bud that we're hoping (can) be a No. 1 starter," Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said.

Jose Altuve hit a solo home run while Brett Wallace also drove in a run for the Astros, who snapped a three-game slide.

The Brewers won eight of the initial 14 games between the teams in 2012, though Houston won two of three in a home series from Aug. 10-12.

09/28 10:52:28 ET