MILWAUKEE (AP) — Trevor Hoffman was back in his familiar role — closer.
Hoffman got the final three outs for his sixth save of the season and first in three months as Milwaukee beat the Houston Astros 5-2 on Saturday night.
It was the 597th of his long career and he is now three short of his goal of 600 career saves.
“It was nice to preserve a win for the ball club,” said Hoffman, whose appearance was preceded by his traditional “Hell’s Bells” song, which brought the Miller Park crowd to its feet. “There were a lot of emotions out there, just hearing the song. I am very thankful for everyone’s support during a personal struggle of trying to get back out there.”
Brewers players were on the top steps of the dugout during Hoffman’s scoreless ninth inning and mobbed him afterwards.
“I had goose bumps when they played the song,” said pitcher Todd Coffey. “It was such a great experience and everyone wanted it to happen for Hoffman.”
Hoffman was removed from the closer’s role in May after blowing five saves. He has spent the last three months working his way back and has pitched strong in recent outings.
“I don’t think this would have happened had I folded up the tent and gone home,” he said.
Brewers manager Ken Macha said he has been very impressed with how Hoffman has handled himself the past thee months.
“I really give him a lot of credit,” Macha said. “I’m just glad we were able to get him a little closer to where he wants to go.”
Macha would not say if he would use Hoffman in the next save opportunity as John Axford has converted 16 of 17 save chances in his place.
Rickie Weeks’ home run was his first professional inside-the-park home run. He said he knew he had a chance when he saw the ball bound away from Astros center fielder Jason Bourgeois. By the time Bourgeois got to the ball, Weeks was rounding third and he beat the throw home.
It was Weeks’ 23rd home run of the season and the seventh time this year that he had led off the game with a home run, which set a Brewers’ team record.
“It was a great way to start the game,” he said.
Randy Wolf (8-9), who was forced to leave his last start on Sunday against the Astros in the seventh inning when he was hit on the wrist by a ball hit by Hunter Pence, got the victory. He gave up two runs on nine hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Kameron Loe got the final out of the seventh inning. Loe, Zach Braddock and Todd Coffey combined to pitch a scoreless eighth inning. Trevor Hoffman pitched a scoreless ninth inning to get his sixth save of the season in 11 chances. It was his first save since May 7 against Arizona and the 597 of his career.
Brett Myers (8-7) took the loss for the Astros as he gave up four runs on seven hits in six innings. It was the Astros third straight loss after putting together a seven-game winning streak.
By going at least six innings, Myers extended his franchise record for consecutive 6-plus innings starts to begin a season to 23, which is tops in the Major Leagues in 2010. The last pitcher to start the season with at least 23 starts of six innings or more was Curt Schilling, who had 35 straight in 2002 with Arizona.
Myers said he is not paying attention to the streak, but was frustrated with the way he pitched in the first and sixth innings as he gave up four total runs.
“The thing that I’m frustrated is when you make good pitches you’re supposed to get outs,” he said.”
Astros manager Brad Mills said Myers gave the Astros a chance to stay in the game.
“I say it every time, he’s been unbelievable all year long,” he said.
NOTES: Pence’s fifth inning single extended his hitting streak to 13 straight games. It is his longest streak since he also had a 13-game hitting streak in August 2008. … Brewers manager Ken Macha recorded his 500th career win. Overall, he has 500-421 record. … Hoffman’s appearance tied him with Jose Mesa and Less Smith for the ninth most games pitched in Major League Baseball history with 1,022.