Up until the seventh inning, I thought the Brewers were about to go cold- really cold. But, after the seventh inning, those thoughts had pretty much disappeared.
The Brewers defeated the Astros today, 8-2. If you weren’t watching the game, you’d think that it was an easy win for the Crew just by looking at the score. But, all of those runs actually came in the seventh inning or later, believe it or not. Before I get into that, though, let me say that the Cardinals fell to the Reds tonight, 11-8, meaning the Brewers extended their division lead to 8.5, and their magic number fell to 16.
Zack Greinke definitely didn’t have his best stuff today, but found a way to make it work. He had to labor through every inning and work his way out of jams, but, in the end, turned in a solid start. Greinke went six innings while giving up two runs on nine hits. He walked two and struck out six to earn his 14th win of the year, which is second on the staff to Yovani Gallardo (15 wins).
The Astros got to Greinke in the fourth inning when Jimmy Paredes hit an RBI single, following a triple by Brian Bogusevic. Clint Barmes then hit a RBI double to give the Astros a 2-0 lead. Both Bogusevic and Barmes killed Greinke today, going a combined 4-f0r-7 against him. Fortunately, those would be the only two runs the Astros scored.
The Brewers offense got going in the seventh inning, but, before that, they were shut down by Astros spot starter Lucas Harrell. He, like Greinke, had to labor through a lot of innings as well, but put together a scoreless outing. He went 5 1/3 innings while giving up just three hits- all singles- to go along with two walks and four strikeouts.
The first Brewers run, which was in the seventh, came in an odd way. With two outs, Taylor Green was pinch-hitting, and managed to get a single. He was pinch-run for by the speedy September call-up Logan Schafer. Schafer eventually scored on a wild pitch by David Carpenter to cut the deficit to 2-1. Ryan Braun would follow with a two-RBI single and give the Brewers their first lead in four games.
But, the Brewers offense wasn’t done there. It needed to catch up with itself after three disappointing games against the Cardinals, and it did. Casey McGehee hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning, and Ryan Braun had a RBI single in the ninth. Prince Fielder also hit his 31st home run of the year in the ninth.
Ron Roenicke finally decided to use some of his September call-ups in clutch situations today, as I mentioned earlier. Green started the Brewers offensive surge with a two-out single, then was pinch-ran for by Schafer. Schafer would score the Brewers’ first run. Anyway, this means that the only September call-up that hasn’t been used by the Brewers is catcher Martin Maldanado, who has been referred to as the best defensive catcher in the Minors.
Yuniesky Betancourt was hit on the forearm by Carpenter in the eighth inning, following McGehee’s two-run shot (Carpenter must have some sort of affiliation with TLR). Anyway, Betancourt is now day-to-day with an injured forearm, and Roenicke said they’ll see how he feels tomorrow.
The Brewers will try and take this series in Houston tomorrow at 6:05 PM CT (on WMLW, not FSWI). Chris Narveson (9-6, 4.28 ERA) will take the mound for the Crew in his first start in 12 days. His spot in the rotation was skipped due to a couple of Brewers off-days, but, in his last start in which he was returning from the DL, he shut out the Pirates for 5 1/3 innings. He left that start with an injured fingernail or something strange, but he should be completely healthy now. Narvey is 1-2 with a 4.38 ERA in his career againast the Astros.
The Astros will counter with Bud Norris (6-8, 3.68 ERA). He’s pitched better than his record shows, but he, like so many other Astros pitchers, does not get run support. Norris had been extremely dominant against the Brewers up until his last start against them, when he gave up six earned runs. Overall, he’s 3-1 with a 3.50 ERA against the Brewers.