Brewers fall behind early and can't catch AstrosWisconsin Sports
-- The Houston Astros scored seven runs in the first four innings last night, as they crushed the Milwaukee Brewers 8-3 at Minute Maid Park.
HOUSTON - The Houston Astros scored seven runs in the first four innings last night, as they crushed the Milwaukee Brewers 8-3 at Minute Maid Park.
Brewers’ starter Randy Wolf was pulled after those four innings, giving up six earned runs on seven hits with three walks and a strikeout. The loss dropped Wolf to 2-and-4, while boosting his ERA to six-point-three-eight. It also ended a string of seven quality starts by Milwaukee pitchers. Astros’ starter Bud Norris kept the Brewers’ offense in check. He struck out nine in seven innings, while giving up just a run on four hits with a pair of walks. Norris improved to 4-1. Ex-Brewer Carlos Lee went 3-for-4 with a solo homer, as Houston ended six straight home losses to Milwaukee while snapping a four-game losing streak overall.
Corey Hart belted a solo homer, and pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy hit a two-run triple for the Brewers’ only offense. The Astros out-hit the Crew 8-5. Milwaukee has lost three-of-its-last-four, and is now 7-12 on the road this season. The Brewers and Astros are tied for second-to-last in the National League Central, both at 16-21, a game ahead of the cellar-dwelling Cubs. Milwaukee will wrap up its two-game series at Houston tonight. Right-hander Shaun Marcum faces Astros’ southpaw J.A. Happ.
The Brewers say they have no plans to use right-hander Claudio Vargas at the Major League level. The team signed the 33-year-old veteran to a minor-league deal yesterday. Vargas had two stints with Milwaukee between 2007-and-2010. But assistant general manager Gord Ash says the Brewers are only interested in using him at Triple-“A” Nashville, where they need to beef up the rotation. Seven pitchers have started games for the Sounds this year, and only three of them are considered to be prospects. They are Mark Rogers, Wily Peralta, and Mike Fiers, who have a combined record 2-7. Vargas had planned to retire before signing with a team in Mexico at the start of this season. He’s 48-40 in eight Major League seasons, with a career ERA of 4.83.
Former Brewers’ prospect Brett Lawrie of Toronto was given a four-game suspension by Major League Baseball yesterday, which he appealed. Lawrie was also slapped with an undisclosed fine, for spiking his helmet toward plate umpire Bill Miller on Tuesday night. The 22-year-old Blue Jays’ third baseman got upset when Miller called strikes on two pitches that replays showed were clearly off the plate. It happened during the ninth inning of a Toronto loss to Tampa Bay. After Lawrie struck out, he argued with Miller – and he then bounced his helmet near the plate, and it struck Miller in the hip. Baseball disciplinarian Joe Torre said the actions were clearly aggressive – but he told CBS Sports he didn’t believe Lawrie intentionally tried to hit the umpire with the helmet. The Brewers traded him to the Blue Jays about a year-and-a-half ago for starter Shaun Marcum. His appeal allows Lawrie to keep playing until he can get to New York to challenge Torre’s decision. Lawrie went 1-for-4 last night in an 8-1 Blue Jays’ home win over the Yankees.