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MIL@HOU: Lyles tosses seven innings of two-run ball

After early-season struggles, the Astros and Brewers sold players in high volume in the weeks heading up to Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. So with the passage of the Deadline and the arrival of August, both teams are looking to see what the future those deals were aimed to shape will look like.

Wednesday's pitching matchup should be a great preview of that future, as a highly touted 21-year-old takes on a 27-year-old rookie with some early success under his belt.

Houston will send 21-year-old Jordan Lyles to the hill. His numbers -- a 2-7 record and 5.54 ERA -- show some growing pains exacerbated of late by the home run ball; the right-hander has yielded nine homers in his last six starts.

Lyles will be charged with helping his team avoid a sweep at the hands of the Brewers. The Astros snapped a 12-game losing streak on Sunday but have lost 14 of their last 15 heading into the series finale.

"The guys that we have, we're trying to get them as much playing experience as we can and just get them better with experience," Astros manager Brad Mills said of his young roster's trek through the rest of the season. "That's our focus."

The Brewers will try to complete the sweep behind rookie Mike Fiers, who is 4-4 with a 1.77 ERA and a 4.46 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. For a rookie he seems to have a pretty good approach to pitching in the big leagues.

"I just try to throw as many strikes as I can," said Fiers. "I try to get the guys to swing the bat. When you start throwing a lot of strikes, you get the guys ready to swing. Then you can expand the zone."

It's that kind of simple attitude from good young talent that has Fiers' manager, Ron Roenicke, unwilling to write off the rest of 2012 just yet, despite the departure of some big-time talent at the Trade Deadline.

"We've got too much to go [to give up]," Roenicke said. "We've got an opportunity to see young guys, which really helps us make decisions. I don't want to say we're just completely out of this thing. We're going to play to try to still win as many games as we can."

Astros: Closer competition
Though he wasn't available on Tuesday night after feeling tightness in his elbow during batting practice, reliever Wilton Lopez may soon get his chance to assume the role of closer.

Francisco Cordero has been shaky, at best, leaving Mills searching for a steady man to close games. Lopez, who missed 26 games in June and early July with a sprained elbow, leads the relief corps with a 2.52 ERA in 40 games.

"I think the way things have gone, he deserves to be given that opportunity," Mills said. "I think we're really not going to name a particular closer as we go forward, but if there comes an opportunity to get some key outs in the seventh, eighth innings, we might use [Lopez] there."

Brewers: Ramirez raking
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez had a huge night on Tuesday, clubbing three hits, including a three-run homer, and racking up four RBIs. He now has the fifth-highest RBI total in the National League, and he is tied with the injured Joey Votto for the league lead in extra-base hits.

At 34, Ramirez is the fourth-oldest player on the rebuilding roster, and one of few established stars who will help lead the young Brewers through the stretch run.

Worth noting
• Astros' second baseman Jose Altuve has hit in 10 of his last 11 games, and is 18-for-41 in that stretch. He went 2-for-4 on Tuesday, and his 117 hits are tied for the seventh most in the NL.

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