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.