Brewers’ Colin Rea, back from the minors, looks to slow down the Astros

THE Milwaukee Brewers will once again turn to right-hander Colin Rea to fill the gap in their injury-riddled rotation as they sweep the series. Houston Astros Tuesday evening

Houston extended its winning streak to eight games with a 12-2 win in the series opener on Monday, moving it a season-high nine games over .500.

THE Astros he hit a season-high five homers, including a grand slam and a Yordan Alvarez solo. Brewers Ace Corbin Burnes had four solo homers, serving four long balls in one game for the first time in his career.

“It’s a good lineup. They’re a really good team right now, they’re playing well,” Burnes said. “They came out and swung the bats, they pitched well, they played good defense and they knocked us out.”

Houston, which has won 11 of its last 12, is 24-5 when it scores four or more runs.

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In Alvarez’s last four games, he is 7-for-15 (.467) with two doubles, three homers, seven RBIs, two walks and six runs scored.

On Monday, Alvarez took a solo shot off Burnes’ right-hander and a big hit from lefty Hoby Milner.

“The opposing manager really has no choice there.” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “If you keep the right-hander in and give it up, they say, ‘How come you didn’t bring in the left-hander?

“But you know, the more left-handers they see, the more they get used to seeing them.” And the big guy, he just can hit.

Alvarez has four homers in 59 at-bats against left-handers and eight homers in 92 at-bats against right-handers.

“He’s one of the best hitters in the league” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I don’t care what kind of pitcher we put in, it’s a challenge for everyone.

Opposing Rea (0-3, 5.52 ERA) will be rookie right-hander JP France (1-0, 4.11), who will make his fourth start since being called up on May 6.

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Already without starters Brandon Woodruff and Wade Miley, the Brewers Struggling left-hander Eric Lauer was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday after impinging on his non-pitching shoulder.

As Burnes lasted just five innings on Monday, the Brewers had four relievers before Mike Brosseau pitched a scoreless ninth

After serving the five homes on Monday, the Brewers has given up an NL-most 66 home runs this season

Milwaukee has lost five of its past seven games, but is tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the top spot in the NL Central — the only two teams in the division with winning records. After the 18-9 start a Brewers the 7-13

Rea was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Sunday after being sent down early last week. He is making his eighth start for Milwaukee this season, his seventh start.

Rea most recently a Brewers on May 14, when he allowed four runs on six hits over 3 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Kansas City Royals. Opponents are hitting .239 against Rea, who has walked 13 and hit six homers in 31 innings.

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France, who had allowed one run in 11 2/3 innings in his first two starts, struggled to avoid the last out. He allowed six runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings, including three homers, but did not get the decision in Houston’s 7-6 win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.

Both starting pitchers are making their first career appearances against the opposition.

— Field Level Media