Right-hander Zack Greinke will try for his 15th win of the season on Tuesday night as the American League West Division-leading Houston Astros go for a two-game sweep of their interleague series with the host Milwaukee Brewers.
Greinke (14-4, 2.99 ERA) is no stranger to Miller Park, where he pitched with the Brewers in 2011-12. He is 16-4 with a 3.32 ERA in 29 career appearances and 28 starts there. However, he is just 1-4 with a 3.86 ERA in nine career appearances and eight starts against the Brewers.
The 2009 Cy Young Award winner is 4-0 in five starts with the Astros since being acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks but comes in off a no-decision in a 9-8 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday, when he allowed five runs on six hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings while striking out eight.
Greinke has a very high bar to meet following the last two performances by Houston starters.
Justin Verlander pitched his third career no-hitter in a 2-0 victory at Toronto on Sunday afternoon while Gerrit Cole allowed just one run on three hits in six innings of Monday afternoon's 3-2, 10-inning win at Milwaukee. Both Verlander and Cole finished with 14 strikeouts, which, according to Elias Sports Bureau, made them the first pair of teammates to ever record consecutive starts of 14 or more strikeouts.
Cole also extended his team record with his 16th double-digit strikeout game of the season, which also leads the majors.
"Those guys, 1-2 punch, are really tough," Houston manager AJ Hinch said. "We have a ton of confidence when (Cole is) pitching. We know we're going to be in the game, we know we're going to miss bats. His competitive fire is really second to none. He knows what he's doing out there and when he's in control of the game, he's completely dominant."
Right-hander Jordan Lyles (9-8, 4.55), the 38th pick of the 2008 Major League Baseball draft by the Astros, will start for Milwaukee. It will be the first career start against his former team for Lyles, who is 4-1 in six starts with the Brewers since being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Lyles has won each of his last two starts, 6-1 against Arizona and 2-1 over St. Louis. He has allowed a combined one run and six hits over 11 1/3 innings in those contests while striking out 14.
Milwaukee dropped to four games out of the second wild-card spot with Monday's loss, which featured a dramatic game-tying home run by Christian Yelich in the bottom of the ninth inning only to have the Astros rebound to win it on a leadoff homer by George Springer in the 10th.
Milwaukee looked like it might pull the game out in the bottom of the 10th when reliever Josh James walked leadoff man David Freitas on four pitches and then walked Yasmani Grandal one out later. But James got Yelich to strike out on a controversial called third strike and ended the game with a strikeout of Hernan Perez.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell was livid after the game by the third-strike call of home plate umpire Ben May on Yelich, which appeared to land outside the box.
"It's just bad umpiring," Counsell said. "I don't know what else to say. When it's Christian Yelich, and the game is on the line, you miss calls. It hurts, and it dramatically affects the outcomes of games."
"I've got to be careful with what I say," Yelich told reporters. "But yeah, you guys can look and form your own judgements."
--Field Level Media
Greinke aims for 15th win as Astros face Brewers