MILWAUKEE -- With five wins since Aug. 1, including a five-hit shutout on Sunday, Dave Bush is probably pitching as well as he ever has.
"It just seems like each start he is getting better and better," Brewers center fielder Brady Clark said, citing Bush's recent "swagger" on the mound. "The confidence has built up. He is confident in his stuff, and he is confident in his ability to locate his pitches."
It was the second shutout this season for Bush (11-10), who has three complete games this year and six in his career.
The right-hander walked none and allowed only one runner past second base. He struck out two batters each in the first, third and fifth, and fell one strikeout shy of his career high as he threw 85 of his 116 pitches for strikes.
"He was lights out from the first pitch on," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "He was very, very sharp."
And the Astros' hitters noticed.
"He put the ball where he wanted and he carved us up," right fielder Aubrey Huff said.
Tony Graffanino and Mike Rivera homered for Milwaukee, which had lost 13 of 15 games overall and 10 of 14 against the Astros this season.
Wandy Rodriguez (9-9) lost his fourth straight decision dating to July 7, giving up three runs and five hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked two.
Houston (70-72) was trying to get back to .500 for the first time since July 6. Instead, the punchless Astros were blanked for the 12th time this year, one night after a 10-4 win.
"This club is a mystery," manager Phil Garner said. "It's been this way all year. If you're going to be in a pennant race you've got to somehow figure out how to win these games. That's what we haven't done."
Bush struck out 11 on Oct. 1, 2004, when he tossed a two-hitter for Toronto in a win over the New York Yankees. He came to Milwaukee after last season in the deal that sent Lyle Overbay to the Blue Jays.
Bush pitched a four-hit shutout in a victory over Cincinnati on April 22.
He has not given up a run in his last two starts against the Astros. He tossed seven scoreless innings but got a no-decision Aug. 30 at Houston.
Bush said the team's starting pitching as a whole has improved.
"In spring training that is what everybody would have hoped for," Bush said. "You are going to have ups and downs during the year, and as a staff we had some stretches where we didn't throw so well. But with everyone healthy again we're back to where we want to be. It's a few months later than we would like."
Graffanino homered in the first inning -- his first since joining the Brewers on July 25.
Corey Hart extended the lead in the third with a two-run double. Hart has 10 hits in his last 22 at-bats and 12 RBI in his last six games. Rivera homered in the seventh.
"I am seeing the ball pretty good right now," said Hart, who became a full-time player about a month ago. "I am starting to recognize pitches a little quicker, especially from the righties.
"It has taken a while to get comfortable up there. It takes time."
It looked as though Bush would have to leave the game in the seventh, when Huff hit a line drive off his right thigh. Bush gathered the ball, threw Huff out at first and remained in the game after trainers examined him on the mound.
"That was a great play to throw his body in front of that line drive. That was a big out," Yost said.
Said Bush: "I don't think I really did a whole lot except stand there. Fortunately, it hit me flush."
Houston's Orlando Palmeiro doubled in the sixth for his 100th career pinch hit.
Palmeiro is the 18th player in major league history with at least 100 career pinch hits. He has 15 pinch hits this season. ... The Astros entered play in second place for the first time since July 6, when they were 43-43. ... Houston has yet to announce a starter for Tuesday's game against St. Louis.