Brewers on brink of elimination as they host Astros
(Sports Network) - Right-hander Marco Estrada takes the mound for the Milwaukee Brewers tonight with their playoff hopes hanging by a thread as they host the Houston Astros in the middle game of a three-game series.
Milwaukee dropped a 7-6 decision to Houston in Friday's opener while St. Louis was winning against Washington, which pushed the Brewers to five games back of the Cardinals in the chase for the final National League postseason berth.
Each team has five games remaining.
Houston's Jason Castro tallied his first career multi-homer game in the win. Brett Wallace and Castro hit back-to-back blasts in the fifth inning for the Astros, who have won four of their last seven contests.
Edgar Gonzalez (3-1) surrendered three runs on four hits over 5 2/3 frames to pick up the win, while Yovani Gallardo (16-9) allowed five runs - four earned - on eight hits and three walks for Milwaukee.
Estrada has started in 22 of his 28 appearances this season and had won four of his last five decisions before falling, 12-2, at Washington in his most recent appearance on Sept. 24.
In that game, he allowed six earned runs on eight hits in just four innings as his earned run average crept up from 3.56 to 3.87.
In two starts prior, he'd beaten Atlanta and Pittsburgh on Sept. 11 and 19 while tossing 13 2/3 scoreless innings and striking out 10 while allowing seven hits and walking two.
He last faced Houston on Aug. 11 and got a no-decision in a 6-5 Milwaukee loss after allowing four runs in four innings.
In eight career meetings with the Astros he's posted a 4.34 ERA in 18 2/3 innings.
Houston goes with rookie lefty Dallas Keuchel, who's aiming for a third consecutive victory.
The 24-year-old was 1-7 through his initial 13 starts before beating Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in his last two outings while giving up a run on nine hits in 12 1/3 innings.
He met Estrada and the Brewers in the aforementioned Aug. 11 game and also got a no-decision after allowing two earned runs in six innings.
Two starts earlier against Milwaukee, he was tagged for seven runs in four innings of a 10-1 loss at Miller Park.
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.
09/29 09:42:04 ET