Brewers vs Astros Series Wrap-up
Tuesday night featured a classic pitcher’s duel between Randy Wolf and Bud Norris. Each pitcher coasted through the first four innings. Wolf’s only blemish came on a second inning, solo home run by Houston second baseman Jose Altuve. The Brewers managed only two hits until the fifth inning. After an Alex Gonzales single, Travis Ishikawa’s two-run home run to right field gave the Brewers a 2-1 lead. In the top of the sixth, an RBI double by former Brewer Carlos Lee tied the score at two. The Brewer’s offense, which has struggled at times early in the season, came alive in the bottom of the sixth.
Aramis Ramirez led off the inning with a single to left field. The next batter Corey Hart crushed a 3-2 pitch to deep center to give the Brewers a 4-2 lead. Gonzales followed a George Kottaras walk with a single to center. With runners on first and second, Ishikawa struck out and pinch hitter Norichika Aoki flied out to right field. Rickie Weeks then cleared the bases with a booming three-run home run to deep center.
Each team added a run in the seventh. With the Brewers leading 8-3, reliever Kameron Loe got into trouble in the top of the eighth. Loe walked Altuve to start the inning. After Altuve stole second, Travis Buck was safe at first on an error by Ishikawa. Chris Johnson followed with a RBI single to center. With the Brewers still holding a four run lead, manager Ron Roenicke brought in Manny Parra in relief of Loe. Parra’s first offering to pinch hitter Justin Maxwell was a wild pitch. With runners now at second and third, Maxwell’s sacrifice fly to center scored pinch runner Kyle Weiland. The next batter, Jed Lowrie, singled to score Johnson and further cut into the Brewer’s lead. Now leading 8-6, Roenicke brought in Francisco Rodriguez to stop the Astros’ rally. Rodriquez did his job and retired JD Martinez on a fly ball to right. The Brewers added an insurance run on a Carlos Gomez home run to center field. For reasons known only to him, Gomez raced around the bases. Gomez’s home run trot brought a smile to the faces of fans who had just watched the Brewer lead diminish in the top half of the inning. It also set the stage for John Axford to close out the game.
Dating back to last season, Axford had recorded 46 consecutive saves. That streak would be extended on Tuesday night. After allowing a single to Carlos Lee, the Brewer closer set down the next three hitters lock down his 47 th consecutive save and preserve the Brewer victory. The game saw the Brewers run their streak of consecutive wins over the Astros to eleven. Nyger Morgan also broke out of his early season slump. The Brewer’s outfielder was 3 or 5 with a stolen base. His stolen base was one of two for the Brewers. The team is now second in the National League in that category.
Shaun Marcum has certainly had better days in his major league career. The Brewer’s right hander found trouble early and often in Wednesday’s game against the Houston Astros. Once again, Jose Altuve ignited the offense for the Astros. In the first inning, Altuve singled and scored on a double by JD Martinez. Ryan Braun answered for the Brewers in the bottom of the first. Facing JA Happ, Braun hit a two-run home run to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead.
The Brewer’s lead didn’t last long. Marcum hit Chris Snyder to lead off the second inning. JA Happ’s sacrifice moved Snyder to second. Altuve then drove in Snyder with a single to center. The next batter, Martinez walked to move Altuve to second. A single to left by Carlos Lee scored Altuve and an error by Braun allowed Martinez to advance to third on the play. Marcum’s wild pitch allowed Martinez to score and gave the Astros a 4-2 lead.
The Brewers got one run back in the bottom of the second on a solo home run by Travis Ishikawa. A fourth inning wild pitch by JA Happ allowed Braun to score and tie the game at 4. Braun had singled and moved to third on a double by Aramis Ramirez. The game remained tied until the top of the seventh. Jose Veras, pitching in relief of Tim Dillard, struck out Jed Lowrie to start the inning. The next batter, Brian Bogusevic doubled to left. With Chris Johnson batting, Bogusevic stole third. Johnson then flied out to Carlos Gomez in center. The throw from Gomez kept Bogusevic at third and prevented a run from scoring. However, Snyder followed up with a single to right that gave the Astros a 5-4 lead.
After a scoreless bottom of the seventh, manager Ron Roenicke brought in Mike McClendon to relieve Veras. McClendon, who was recently recalled from the Brewer’s AAA team, allowed single to Jordan Schaefer to start the eighth inning. Schaefer moved to third on a double by the hot red Altuve. For the series, Altuve was 8 for 13 with five runs scored and one home run. Martinez then drove in both runners with a single to center.
The Brewers would add a run in the bottom of the eighth on Corey Hart’s home run off of David Carpenter. It was Hart’s team leading sixth home run of the season. With the score now 7-5, Carlos Gomez would make things interesting in the bottom of ninth. A two out triple by Gomez would bring Braun to the plate with a chance to tie the game. Braun, who had homered earlier in the game, grounded out to third to end the game.
The Brewers begin a weekend series against the Central Division leading St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals have a record of 12-7 and won two of three games against the Brewers earlier this month at Miller Park. The Brewers received bad news this week. Starter Chris Narveson will undergo shoulder surgery and is lost for the season. Marco Estrada will take over Narveson’s spot in the rotation. As a result, the Brewers have adjusted their rotation for the Cardinal’s series. Yovani Gallardo will take the mound on Friday against Jake Westbrook. Estrada will now pitch in Saturday’s game against Kyle Lohse and Zack Greinke will square off against Jamie Garcia in Sunday’s series finale.
By: Scott Kasten
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