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MIL@ATL: Marcum fans six over seven solid innings

If Shaun Marcum can dominate against the Astros like he did during the 2011 season, the Brewers right-hander should have no problems on Wednesday in the series finale between the clubs at Miller Park.

In three starts against Houston last season, Marcum went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA, including a pair of scoreless seven-inning outings.

The righty limited the Rockies to three runs on eight hits in six innings during his last start on Friday, but came away with the no-decision.

Such quality outings are especially important to manager Ron Roenicke, who is becoming increasingly concerned about the workload of some of his key relievers early in the season.

"It's not good when I feel like I have to throw these guys every game," Roenicke said. "We're going to have to figure out what we're going to do. We need to bust out, get a lead so we can bring in some other guys."

Roenicke was forced to use both of his late-inning arms -- setup man Francisco Rodriguez and closer John Axford -- on Tuesday when the front end of the Milwaukee bullpen was unable to protect a five-run lead in an eventual 9-6 win.

On Wednesday, Houston will send out left-hander J.A. Happ, who has started off the season tossing three straight quality outings, the only Astros starter to do so.

In five career starts against the Brew Crew, Happ is 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA.

Happ took the loss against the Dodgers on Thursday, despite giving up just three runs in six innings.

"It's a good feeling for us catchers to see the pitchers doing well," Astros catcher Jason Castro said. "We put a lot of effort into preparation that goes into the scouting reports and the game plans and all that stuff."

Astros: Johnson focused on better pitch selection
While Chris Johnson wasn't in the Astros' lineup at third base on Tuesday against the Brewers, he had a long talk with hitting coach Mike Barnett about pitch selection and making adjustments before the game.

Johnson is hitting .273, but he has struck out 20 times in 66 at-bats.

"When they've thrown the ball over the plate, he's put pretty good swings on it," Barnett said. "There really isn't anything mechanically wrong in his swing. He had a great Spring Training and swung the bat very well, and that's a credit to his swing. In Spring Training, pitchers are trying to get ready and they're going to throw more strikes."

Brewers: Narveson to undergo season-ending surgery
After getting a second opinion from noted orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum, left-hander Chris Narveson will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a partial tear of his rotator cuff.

The arthroscopic procedure requires a 6-9 month rehabilitation, thus keeping Narveson off the field after only two starts this season.

"It's a shorter rehab than your Tommy John [elbow surgery]," Narveson said. "But it's pretty big."

Worth Noting
• The Brewers are 0-6 when trailing after seven innings, but 8-0 when leading after seven innings this season. Comments