Fielder, Brewers power past Astros
Prince Fielder and the Milwaukee Brewers are in an offensive groove.
For the eighth straight game the Milwaukee Brewers had double-digit hits, and for the fifth consecutive game they scored at least five runs — this time beating the Houston Astros 7-5 Saturday night.
Fielder led the 13-hit attack, finishing a triple shy of the cycle and driving in four runs to lead Milwaukee to its 10th win in 11 games.
Fielder hit a three-run homer in the first, singled in the third and notched an RBI double in the sixth, giving him 83 RBI for the season. He reached base all five times. Yuniesky Betancourt had four hits with an RBI, and Ryan Braun had two hits and scored twice for Milwaukee.
”When we usually score first, we have a good chance of winning,” Fielder said. ”I was trying to see the ball and hit it.”
Milwaukee kept its lead atop the NL Central at three games over St. Louis with the victory.
Chris Narveson (8-6) went 5-1/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits. He struck out four in earning his fourth win in five decisions. John Axford gave up a run in the ninth but finished for his 32nd save.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he thought Narveson’s command was off, but the left-hander fought through it. Narveson agreed with his manager.
”For some reason I didn’t feel all the way loose,” Narveson said. ”I was a little stiff. You are going to have those starts as a pitcher where you have to go out there and execute and keep your team in the game. Luckily, we had some early runs which helped out. I was able to keep them at bay and get out of innings.”
Corey Hart opened the game by lacing a single to left field, and Nyjer Morgan followed with a bunt single down the first base line. After Braun flied out to right field, Fielder followed with his 25th homer of the season.
Betancourt extended the Brewers’ lead to 4-1 on an RBI double down the left field line in the third. On the next play, Fielder, who walked, beat Lee’s throw home on Felipe Lopez fielder’s choice to make it 5-1.
”It was a good offensive day again,” Roenicke said. ”I know we had a chance to bust the game open early, but again, another good offensive day. I think they are being consistent with all the guys swinging. We are continuing to put pressure on the other side. We got guys on base all the time. It wears down a pitcher. He runs out of pitches for a pitch count early on in the game or it just mentally wears him down trying to figure out how to get all these guys out.”
Houston manager Brad Mills came out to dispute both the Betancourt double and Fielder plays, and argued with home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom for several minutes over the Fielder call, but he was not ejected.
Carlos Lee, J.D. Martinez and Clint Barmes all hit homer for Houston.
”Offensively, there was a lot of good things come through,” Mills said. ”I thought we started to swing the bat a little bit.”
Myers (3-12) lost his sixth straight decision, giving up six runs — five earned — on 11 hits with five strikeouts. Myers has allowed 27 homers this season.
”It didn’t start out good,” Myers said. ”That third inning was just a debacle, I thought. I thought they missed a couple of calls there. Replays showed they missed a couple of calls, but that’s the way the game goes. It’s human error; it’s their judgment call. It’s the way it goes.”
Lee made it 3-1 with a solo home run to left to lead off the second.
Martinez cut the lead to 5-4 with a three-run shot to left with two outs in the bottom of the third.
Fielder increased the lead to 6-4 with an RBI double down the left field line in the sixth. Lucroy added his eighth home run of the year in the ninth to make it 7-4, but Barmes responded with a drive in the bottom half.
Hart left the game with a left hand contusion in the bottom of the eighth after being hit with a pitch in the top of the seventh below the pinkie and was replaced by Jerry Hairston, who came in and played center as Morgan moved over to right field.
Roenicke said Hart looked pretty good, but he was going to get a precautionary X-ray done on it.
NOTES: With the victory, the Brewers guarantee just their fourth road series win of the season. Axford has converted 29 consecutive save opportunities. Houston recalled RHP Jeff Fulchino and LHP Wesley Wright from Oklahoma City. The Astros optioned LHP J.A. Happ to Triple-A Oklahoma City and placed RHP Enerio Del Rosario on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder prior to the game. Happ is 4-14 with a 6.26 ERA this season. … RHP Zack Greinke (9-4) starts the finale of the three-game set on Sunday against RHP Bud Norris (5-7).