Originally written June 19, 2013 on Fox Sports Wisconsin:
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The Houston Astros put together one of their best offensive showings in the series opener with the Milwaukee Brewers. A repeat performance could be much more difficult to come by against scheduled starter Kyle Lohse, who regularly frustrates the Astros. Houston aims for a sixth win in seven games Wednesday night as it hosts the Brewers. Matt Dominguez's grand slam and career-high five RBIs led the Astros (27-45) to a 10-1 victory Tuesday. Carlos Pena also chipped in with a three-run homer. All 10 of Dominguez's home runs this year have come in his past 35 games, as well as 28 of his team-best 40 RBIs. "You look at the batting average and many people talk about average but this guy has been productive," manager Bo Porter said of Dominguez, who is hitting .236. "It's somewhere close to 40 RBIs, 10 home runs and Gold Glove (caliber) third base. That's a pretty good baseball player." Lohse (2-6, 3.84 ERA) is 10-7 with a 2.60 ERA in 18 career starts against the Astros, and 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA in his last five against them. After suffering five losses in a span of seven starts, he's allowed two earned runs over 14 innings in his last two outings. The Brewers (28-41) haven't done a great job of backing him, as his 3.16 run-support average is one of the lowest in the NL. Still, the right-hander would like to toughen up in first innings, as eight of the 16 hits he's given up in his last three starts have come in the first frame. Opponents are hitting .333 against him in the first inning on the season. "I've got to figure something out," Lohse said. "It seems like I keep giving up hits in the first inning. Usually I'm pretty good there." Conversely, Houston starter Erik Bedard (2-3, 4.82) struggled both times he faced Milwaukee last season, going 0-2 with an 11.88 ERA. He is coming off a strong outing, allowing an unearned run and three hits over six innings in a 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday. The left-hander threw a season-high 104 pitches. "I had a couple innings with a lot of pitches early, but I got stronger and was throwing a lot more strikes later to get the quick outs," he said. Bedard will try to take advantage of a Milwaukee offense that is scuffling a bit, totaling five runs in the team's three losses over the last four contests. Leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki is 2 for 16 with a walk in the last four. "We have chances and we don't get people in," manager Ron Roenicke said, not pleased with his team's 3-for-8 performance with runners in scoring position Tuesday. "And that ball game is a lot different if we drive in the people when we have the opportunities to do it." Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez are a combined 7 for 15 against Bedard, each with a home run. Houston's Justin Maxwell was 0 for 2 with two walks Tuesday as he started in right field after missing nearly two months with a fractured left hand. Lohse has recorded 16 strikeouts versus Carlos Pena, who is 9 for 38 off him.
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