Weeks leads Brewers over Astros, 9-6
Randy Wolf could tell the Milwaukee Brewers offense was ready for a big night. He was right.
Rickie Weeks capped a five-run sixth inning with a three-run homer — one of four Brewers’ homers in the game — and Wolf picked up his first win of the season, as Milwaukee beat the Houston Astros 9-6 on Tuesday night.
“It was only a matter of time for our offense to kind of click in,” Wolf said. “It kind of goes down to us playing consistent baseball and playing the kind of baseball that we can play. Sometimes we have a tendency to try and do too much.”
Corey Hart, Travis Ishikawa and Carlos Gomez also homered for Milwaukee, which moved back to .500 (9-9) and beat Houston for the 11th straight time.
The Astros have lost eight of 10.
Wolf (1-2) struggled over six innings, giving up four hits and four walks, and striking out four. Bud Norris (1-1) surrendered seven runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings — with Weeks sending his 102nd and last pitch deep above the Brewers bullpen.
Alex Gonzalez added three hits, including an RBI single in the seventh, for Milwaukee.
John Axford allowed a single in the ninth but picked up his fourth save and 47th straight dating to last season, tying him with Brad Lidge for the fourth-longest streak all-time. The streak started a year ago Tuesday against the Astros.
“It’s cool,” Axford said. “It’s not really my doing. It’s the eight innings before that. I just hope that I can lock it down. Forty-seven saves means 47 wins, that’s the big part.”
Chided Wolf: “And what a different looking guy, wasn’t he? What a difference a year makes. He goes from like a Dave Matthews concert to a Grateful Dead concert.”
He added: “It is remarkable. There are only a handful of guys in all of baseball that can really put a game away like that, where the opposing team, when you see this guy come in, you kind of see the balloon pop. I saw it when (Eric) Gagne had his streak, Rob Nen back in the day with the Giants. There are those guys out there that when they come into the game, you just hope he has a bad night, because you’re probably not going to beat him.”
Milwaukee blew it open with a five-run sixth behind two home runs. Ramirez singled to start the inning, and Hart followed with a 435-foot homer into the camera box just below the center-field scoreboard. George Kottaras walked, and Gonzalez singled. Then, with two outs, the slumping Weeks homered.
Weeks came in hitting .182 with two homers and just three RBIs.
Houston’s Jose Altuve homered in the second to make it 1-0.
The Brewers made it 2-1 on Ishikawa’s first homer of the season in the fifth. An RBI single by Carlos Lee in the sixth made it 2-2 before Milwaukee’s five-run explosion.
“I felt I made a couple good pitches, a couple bad ones to a ballclub that can hit the ball out of the yard,” Norris said. “That’s something I need to get better at.”
The Astros closed the gap with three runs in the eighth on an RBI single by Chris Johnson, a sacrifice fly by Justin Maxwell and an RBI single by Jed Lowrie, but Francisco Rodriguez, after a wild pitch, got the final out of the inning, giving way to Axford.
Gomez led off the eighth with his homer, sprinting around the bases after it cleared the fence.
“Offensively, we were really good,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “A lot of guys contributed. It was nice to see we could put together a few good innings offensively.”
Ishikawa was starting for Mat Gamel, held out of Tuesday’s game with a sore shoulder following a violent home plate collision with Houston catcher Jason Castro on Monday. On the play, Gamel, attempting to tag up on a short foul out down the right-field line, barreled into Castro, who fell back and slammed his head on the ground but hung onto the ball for the out.
The collision may have led up to some early game fireworks Tuesday.
Norris plunked Weeks on the first pitch of the game, hitting him on the back of the arm above the left elbow. Weeks said a few words to Norris as he walked slowly to first. At one point, home plate umpire Rob Drake, who walked with Weeks, looked at Weeks and shrugged his shoulders.
It wasn’t clear if the pitch was on purpose, and Roenicke declined to comment on the potential intent after the game.
Said Norris: “It kind of got away from me. I’m going to go out there and stand up for my team. The umpires handled it professionally. I think Rickie handled it professionally.”
Wolf “battled” and pitched “really good,” Roenicke said.
Said Wolf: “I am not there yet. It’s just constant adjustments right now, getting to where I need to be. I felt the life on my fastball was back today. My location was better on my fastball. But I felt a few of my offspeed pitches were kind of inconsistent today.”