Braun's Bat Leads Off Victory

Rookie Ryan Braun homered and Francisco Cordero set a franchise record with his 40th save, as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Houston Astros 5-to-3 at Miller Park tonight.

The Brewers moved within half a game of the leading Chicago Cubs in the Central Division. The Cubs lost to the Dodgers tonight.

Carlos Villanueva pitched six solid innings in his first start as a member of the Brewers' rotation. His outing ruined the comeback of Houston's Brandon Backe, making his first start in more than a year after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery.

Cordero pitched the ninth to earn his 40th save in 46 chances, topping the franchise record of 39 set by Dan Kolb in 2004 and tied by Derrick Turnbow in 2005.

Braun's solo home run in the first inning was his 27th of the year.