Houston extended its winning streak to eight games with a 12-2 victory in the series opener on Monday, moving a season-high nine games above .500.
The Astros pounded out a season-high five homers, including a grand slam and a solo shot by Yordan Alvarez. Brewers ace Corbin Burnes yielded four solo homers, the first time in his career he served up four long balls in a game
"It's a good lineup. They're a hot team right now; they're playing well," Burnes said. "They came out and swung the bats, pitched well, played good defense and beat the crap out of us."
Houston, which has won 11 of its last 12, is 24-5 when scoring four or more runs.
In his past four games, Alvarez is 7-for-15 (.467) with two doubles, three homers, seven RBIs, two walks and six runs.
Alvarez hit a solo shot on Monday off Burnes, a right-hander, and a grand slam off lefty Hoby Milner.
"The opposing manager over there, he really doesn't have any choice," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "If he keeps the right-hander in there and he gives it up, they'll say, 'How come you didn't bring the left-hander in?
"But, you know, the more left-handers they see, the better they get accustomed to seeing them. And, the big fella, he can just hit. He can really hit."
Alvarez has four homers in 59 at-bats vs. lefties, and eight homers in 92 at-bats vs. right-handers.
"He's one of the best hitters in the league," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I don't care what pitcher we're putting in there, it's a challenge for anybody.
Rea (0-3, 5.52 ERA) will be opposed by rookie right-hander J.P. France (1-0, 4.11), who will make his fourth start since being called up May 6.
Already without starters Brandon Woodruff and Wade Miley, the Brewers added struggling left-hander Eric Lauer to the 15-day injured list on Monday due to an impingement in his non-throwing shoulder
With Burnes lasting just five innings Monday, the Brewers had to use four relievers before position player Mike Brosseau pitched a scoreless ninth
After serving up the five homers on Monday, the Brewers have 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 atop the NL Central -- the only two teams in the division with winning records. After starting 18-9, the Brewers are 7-13
Rea was recalled Sunday from Triple-A Nashville after being sent down earlier last week. He will make his eighth appearance with Milwaukee this season, his seventh start.
Rea last pitched for the Brewers on May 14, when he allowed four runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings during a no-decision against the Kansas City Royals. Opponents are batting .239 against Rea, who has walked 13 and given up six homers in 31 innings
France, who allowed one run in 11 2/3 innings over his first two starts, struggled his last time 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 will make their first career appearance against the opponent.
--Field Level Media