The Milwaukee Brewers made a major investment Thursday by signing Ryan Braun to a five-year, $105 million extension. That will be money well spent if the three-time All-Star continues to produce at this pace.
Braun and the Brewers look to win their fifth straight at home over the Houston Astros on Saturday night when this NL Central series continues.
Already playing on a seven-year extension signed in 2008 after winning the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2007, Braun is now guaranteed $145.5 million through 2020.
In his first game since signing his new deal, he went 3 for 4 with a go-ahead three-run homer as Milwaukee (10-9) won 14-7 on Friday to open a six-game homestand.
"I really don't think I could've scripted it much better, it was pretty cool," said Braun, who added that it was "absolutely amazing" to receive a standing ovation prior to his first plate appearance. "Definitely a special night for me individually and a great night for us as a team. A lot of guys contributed."
Sparked by Braun, who is batting .382 following his sixth straight multihit game against Houston, the Brewers had a season-high 17 hits and scored their most runs since an 18-1 victory at the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 2.
Milwaukee has won six of seven at Miller Park.
Shaun Marcum (2-1, 1.90 ERA), who makes his second home start Saturday, doesn't have the same following there as Braun, but the first-year Brewer is well on his way to becoming a fan favorite.
Since giving up two second-inning runs in a 4-2 home win over Atlanta on April 7, Marcum has not surrendered an earned run in 17 innings. The right-hander struck out five and walked none in six innings of Monday's 6-3, 12-inning victory at Philadelphia.
"He pitched a pretty good game, kept us off balance most of the night," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Marcum gets his first look at the Astros (7-13) after a stint on the bereavement list this week that allowed him to return to Missouri to be with his father, who had heart surgery.
Houston continues its six-game trip with Brett Myers (1-0, 2.39) on the mound.
The veteran right-hander, who has pitched at least six innings in 36 of 37 starts since the beginning of 2010, was in line for a win Sunday after striking out five and allowing three runs in six innings. Houston's bullpen, however, couldn't hold a 6-3 lead in an 8-6 loss to San Diego.
It was the second time in Myers' four starts that the Astros' relievers faltered.
"They go out there and play just as hard as I play," Myers told the Astros' official website. "Things will turn around for us."
Myers is 3-3 with a 3.21 ERA in eight starts against Milwaukee.
Braun, the first Brewer to reach base safely in the first 19 games of a season since Paul Molitor did it in 1991, is 4 for 15 off Myers.
Prince Fielder has three home runs in 13 at-bats against Myers.
Astros second baseman Bill Hall, who tripled and scored Friday in his first game at Miller Park since Milwaukee traded him to Seattle in 2009 following seven-plus seasons with the club, hit three homers off Marcum last season while with Boston.