First baseman Brett Wallace has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 starts, raising his average more than 150 points during that span. The biggest key to Wallace's recent improvement has been a minor adjustment in his stance, in which he backed off the plate in an effort to get a better look at inside pitches. "It's given him more of a comfort factor," Astros hitting coach Mike Barnett said. "Clubs still wanted to pound him in early, but what's happened since we backed him off is now they're trying to go more in off the plate and then go back out to his strengths, out away from him. I think it's allowed him to be able to use his hands on the ball that is down and on the inside part of the plate. He's getting there a lot easier." Astros skipper Brad Mills has been ejected twice this season, and on Saturday he spoke to Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive vice president for baseball operations who oversees on-field discipline. Mills said Torre wanted to hear his side of the story after Mills was ejected by umpire Joe West on Friday, and the Astros manager was happy with how the talk went. "It was a good conversation," Mills said. "I have nothing bad to say about Joe West or Joe Torre. I emailed Joe last night with some comments that I had to say, and he called me back. It was all good." Brewers: Hawkins feels good after season debut
LaTroy Hawkins' 2011 debut was longer than expected, as the right-hander threw 24 pitches in Friday's eighth inning. It was Hawkins' first outing since Aug. 10 of last season, and on Saturday the veteran right-hander said he felt "great." "I haven't been sore since I started throwing," Hawkins said. "I'm still just a little off, but I'm close. I couldn't get it all the way where I wanted it to go. It was in the right direction, just not exactly where I wanted it. It was fun just to be back out there. It was a long time coming, a lot of work." Since his two-hit shutout on April 5, Yovani Gallardo is averaging a little less than 20 pitches per inning. Gallardo, who needed 113 pitches to get through six innings Friday, said he's trying to be too fine. "I tried to be too perfect," Gallardo said. "I tried to make that put-away pitch on 0-and-0, and next thing you know, you're behind hitters and you have to battle through it." Worth noting
Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has reached safely in 20 straight games to being the season. The club record to begin the season is 23 games by Robin Yount. ... Wolf is 6-5 with a 3.44 ERA in 16 career starts against the Astros. ... Rodriguez is 3-6 with a 5.97 ERA in his career at Miller Park. ... Braun is 9-for-25 (.360) with three homers and three doubles in his career against Rodriguez.