Brewers' Rickie Weeks slowly but surely showing life
Rickie Weeks has endured a rough season, but Wednesday served as a sign of progress.
By ANDREW GRUMANFS Wisconsin
Milwaukee Brewers were on their way to another disheartening loss when they finally got a big hit.
Completely shut down by Astros starter Erik Bedard through seven innings, Rickie Weeks greeted reliever Hector Ambriz with a two-run home run to left, giving the Brewers the lead at 2-1.
Aramis Ramirez homered off Ambriz for an insurance run in the ninth, while Francisco Rodriguez shut the door for his 299th career save, as Milwaukee held on for a 3-1 win.
"Great at-bat," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Weeks' home run. "Had a line drive to right earlier, which was nice. He got a slider up to him. That's a big hit. We've been needing big hits, and that's a big hit."
For awhile, the Brewers looked set to waste a stellar outing from Kyle Lohse. After working out of some trouble in the early innings, Lohse settled down and held Houston to just one run over six innings.
But Bedard was efficient and cruising through Milwaukee's lineup, allowing just four hits through seven innings. Making his first big league start, Josh Prince worked a walk to lead off the eighth inning, and Bedard exited after Logan Schafer sacrificed Prince to second.
"Bedard was pretty good," Roenicke said. "He commanded the fastball really good, both sides of the plate. Every time I see him, he has a great curveball. He was tough. It was certainly nice to at least get some late."
Ambriz jumped ahead of Weeks and had him 0-2, but Milwaukee's second baseman battled and eventually got a hanging slider he sent into the Crawford Boxes in left field.
"Just stay aggressive," Weeks said of his approach. "The pitcher has to come in and throw strikes and we had a guy in scoring position. I just looked for something up and tried to hammer it. That's what I did."
After going 2-for-4 on Wednesday night, Weeks raised his batting average to .217 and is hitting .351 in his last 19 games. Ever since the Brewers brought up Scooter Gennett, Weeks has been hitting the ball well.
"He started swinging the bat a lot better right before I brought Scooter up," Roenicke said. "Once Scooter got here and we kind of matched up, he has been swinging the bat better. It's hard to say whether it was just the timing of it or just the matchups. I left him in there against the right-hander and he gets a big hit against the righty."
Though Weeks is swinging the bat well, Roenicke still plans to stick with the platoon.
"I'm hoping Scooter continues to play good defense and hit," Roenicke said. "I need to play him. As long as he's here, he needs to be in games. That will be a decision, if he stops swinging the bat well. For now, I like what they are both doing. Whether it pushes each other, I don't know."