Brewers 4, Astros 1

Randy Wolf remembers all the stray cats lurking in the old
Astrodome in Houston and Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Those
were harmless encounters with animals compared with watching a
wayward hawk hunt inside Miller Park.

Wolf allowed four hits over eight sharp innings and the
Milwaukee Brewers, with a bird of prey perched nearby, beat the
Houston Astros 4-1 on Sunday.

”The hawk buzzed my tower,” said Wolf, who was in complete
control for a third straight start.

Rickie Weeks homered in his return after missing one game with a
sprained left pinkie finger and Brandon Boggs also connected.
Prince Fielder tripled for his NL-leading 21st RBI in the third
inning while the bird settled in the outfield.

The roof at Miller Park was closed, but that didn’t stop the
small hawk from grabbing everyone’s attention.

It attacked another bird in center field in the top of the
third, then landed in shallow right field to watch the bottom of
the half with Astros right fielder Hunter Pence giving it plenty of
distance.

”Whatever that was, a pigeon, it looked scared. It looked at me
like, why is the roof closed? I can’t get out of here,” Wolf
said.

Someone even created a Twitter account for the bird during the
game. The only person it was following – or hawking – on the social
media site during the game was Pence.

”I thought it was going to attack us,” Brewers catcher
Jonathan Lucroy said.

Astros second baseman Bill Hall was closer during the
half-inning the bird was in the field of play.

”He was on the outfield grass, hanging out. Wasn’t a lot of
action (his direction) during the time he was out there,” Hall
said. ”I don’t know when he got up and flew away. Obviously, he
was having a good time out there.”

Wolf (3-2) allowed four hits, two of them to Astros pitcher
Wandy Rodriguez (1-3). J.R. Towles homered with two outs in the
Houston eighth – it was the first run Wolf had allowed since April
8 against Chicago.

John Axford converted his fourth save as Milwaukee won its third
straight home series. He worked around a one-out single on his
bobblehead day as Milwaukee improved to 7-3 at home this
season.

”Outside the windows, there was bigger hawk outside circling
around,” said Axford, who joked that he didn’t mind that the bird
stole his day in the spotlight. ”We were wondering if it was a mom
or a dad trying to get in on the action.”

Wolf followed up on strong starts at Pittsburgh and
Philadelphia, where he outpitched reigning NL Cy Young winner Roy
Halladay, by using a mix of fastballs in the high 80s mph and a
breaking ball that dipped into the low 60s against the Astros.

”That’s when he does good, that’s what he does,” catcher Wil
Nieves said. ”He played with the speed and kept the hitters
off-balanced. That’s what he did today. He was hitting both corners
of the plate and just keeping the ball down.”

His only hint of trouble came with two outs in the third when
Rodriguez and Jason Bourgeois hit consecutive singles. Wolf got
Angel Sanchez to pop out to center field to end the threat.

The bird then landed and certainly had the best perch for the
Brewers’ three-run third.

Weeks led off with a homer to make it 2-0 and Carlos Gomez
singled and stole second.

After Ryan Braun struck out, Fielder tripled for the ninth time
in his career when left fielder Jason Michaels made an ill-advised
diving attempt at a catch. Casey McGehee followed with a
run-scoring single that gave Milwaukee a 4-0 lead.

The whole time the hawk remained stationary in right field,
finally flying away when first base umpire Angel Hernandez began to
approach it after the third. After the game, the Brewers opened the
outfield panels of the park, which generally allows birds to get
out – and in – the retractable roof stadium.

Rodriguez went seven innings, allowing 10 hits and striking out
nine. He got out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the fifth,
but was gone before the Astros finally broke through against
Wolf.

”After the third inning, he put up a bunch of zeros,” Houston
manager Brad Mills said. ”The one thing about Wandy so far this
season, he struggled the first couple of innings. Then he’s been
able to settle down and throw the ball pretty well. That was
exactly what he was able to do today.”

NOTES: Brewers RHP Zack Greinke (rib) pitched 2 2-3 innings,
giving up two runs and a walk with two strikeouts in a rehab start
Sunday at Triple-A Nashville. … Braun has reached base safely in
all 21 games this season. … Astros INF Clint Barmes (broken left
hand) will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Oklahoma City on
Monday, playing two games there before joining Double-A Corpus
Christi on Wednesday. … Brewers RF Corey Hart (oblique) plans to
play the entire game at Triple-A Nashville on Monday. If all of his
at-bats go well, the team could call him up Tuesday. Otherwise,
he’s expected to return to Milwaukee on Wednesday.