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MIL@PIT: Gallardo fans six over 6 2/3 scoreless

Given the deficit they dug themselves through the first five months of the season, all the Brewers can do now in their pursuit of the second National League Wild Card is win and hope for the best.

Milwaukee trails St. Louis by four games with six to play, and anything less than a sweep of the Astros in the series that begins Friday at Miller Park likely won't be enough.

Astros starter Edgar Gonzalez lasted just 1 2/3 innings before he was pulled from his last outing with a strained right hamstring.

With his next scheduled start uncertain, Gonzalez threw a side session on Tuesday to see if he would be capable of taking the mound in Milwaukee on Friday.

After everything checked out, interim manager Tony DeFrancesco confirmed his 29-year-old right-hander is slated to make his fifth start of the season in Milwaukee after the Astros' day off on Thursday.

Gonzalez has been inconsistent in his limited action this season, but when he's had success he's found it on the road, where he's 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA. That number balloons to 7.94 in the two starts he's made at home, lasting a total of 5 2/3 innings combined.

Gonzalez joins a long list of players who are getting a chance in the Major Leagues under DeFrancesco. Houston's interim manager believes it's important for his young players to get experience at this point in the season. Despite being the owners of the worst record in baseball, DeFrancesco likes the way his players have responded since he took over as manager.

"I thought they did a great job," DeFrancesco said. "There is a black cloud that's been over this city for a couple years, getting beat up every night for two years. Some of these guys have been on two losing [teams] with 100 or more losses. We're going to try to eliminate that."

The Brewers will send right-hander Yovani Gallardo to the hill for Friday's opener, after enduring a crushing 2-1 loss to the Reds on Thursday. Gallardo has gone 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 17 strikeouts in his last three starts. Milwaukee is 22-10 in his starts.

Gallardo has shut down the Astros so far this year, posting a 3-0 record and a 2.18 ERA in three starts.

Brewers: Aoki piecing together solid September
Norichika Aoki has been one of baseball's hottest hitters this month, with 17 extra-base hits. That's the most in the Majors this month, and one away from the club's September record set by George Scott in 1975 and matched by Corey Hart in 2007.

"I guess I'm happy about that," Aoki said, with Kosuke Inaji translating. "I'm satisfied in that I'm able to put a better swing on pitches compared with early in the season."

Aoki is hitting .287 this year with 10 homers and 48 RBIs.

Astros: Porter tabbed as skipper
The Astros named Bo Porter the 17th manager in franchise history on Thursday. Porter, currently the Nationals' third-base coach, will assume duties as the head of the Astros once Washington's season ends.

"He has a tremendous amount of experience and worked under some great managers," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "He's currently working under Davey Johnson for a successful Washington Nationals franchise and is going through an important time for them."

DeFrancesco, who was also in the running for the job, will remain as the club's skipper for the final six games of the season.

Worth noting
• Wednesday was the final game broadcast by Astros Hall of Fame announcer Milo Hamilton, who turned 85 on Sept. 2.

• In total, current Astros hitters have a batting average of just .191 and an on-base percentage of .219 against Gallardo. Comments