Brewers Avoid a Sweep to the Astros
Coming off of a sweep of the Central Division-leading Cincinnati Reds, one would think that the Brewers would have enough momentum (and skill) to at least take two of three games against the lowly Houston Astros. Unfortunately, the Brewer bullpen had other ideas. It’s a story sounds all too familiar to the Brewer faithful. Entering the series, the Brewers have suffered 7 road walk-off loses. It’s a trend that could be the caption for the 2012 season.
Mark Rogers did his part to change the Brewer’s road fortunes. The rookie right hander threw seven solid innings while allowing just one run and striking out 8. But, manager Ron Roenicke turned back to Francisco Rodriguez to pitch the eighth inning. The Brewer skipper’s decision was a curious one as Rodriguez was been simply dreadful for the last two weeks. Rodriguez promptly allowed a home run to light-hitting Carlos Corporan. The Astro catcher’s third home run of the season and brought the Astros to within one run at 3-2. Rodriquez retired to next three Astros in order to prevent any further damage.
After the Brewers failed to add insurance runs in the top of the ninth, John Axford returned to the closer’s role for the bottom of the inning. Axford walked the first batter Brett Wallace. Pinch runner Tyler Greene then stole second and moved to third on Axford’s wild pitch. The next batter, Steve Pearce, drove in Greene with a single to center. An error by Carlos Gomez allowed Pearce to move up to second base and set up the inevitable. Brian Bogusevic’s RBI single drove in Pearce and gave the Astros a 4-3 victory. It was more of the same from the former All-Star closer.
After a particularly deflating defeat, the last thing that Roenicke wanted to see was a short outing by Marco Estrada on Saturday night. But that’s exactly what the Brewer manager got. Estrada labored through four innings and forced Roenicke to turn to his much maligned bullpen early in the game. However, this time the bullpen did its job. With the score tied at 4, Livan Hernandez allowed the only run by the Brewer’s bullpen in five innings of work. The Brewers wasted a golden opportunity to tie the score in the seventh when they had the bases loaded with two outs. However, Gomez would strike out looking to end the inning. Fortunately, the Brewers tied the score in the top of the ninth on an RBI groundout by Jean Segura.
In extra innings, the Brewers failed to score in the top of tenth. Rookie Jim Henderson came in to pitch the bottom of the tenth and had trouble locating his pitches. After giving up an infield single to Jose Altuve, Henderson walked Marwin Gonzalez and Steve Pearce to load the bases. The next batter, Scott Moore’s single to center scored Gonzalez and gave the Astros their first extra inning victory of the season. It was also the first time the Astros had won back-to-back games since June25 and 26.
As much as the Brewers would probably much rather have flown straight Colorado after two embarrassing loses, they had to play one more game in Houston first. Yovani Gallardo allowed three runs in 7 2/3 innings and the bullpen combination of Jose Veras and Kameron Loe each put forth a solid effort. In the end, the Brewers avoided a sweep and left Houston with a 5-3 win. The win snapped an 11 game road losing streak that dated back to July 8. It was the lone bright spot to an otherwise forgettable weekend.
By: Scott Kasten
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