Brewers’ offense falters in loss to Astros

HOUSTON (AP) — Jed Lowrie hit a two-run homer and J.A. Happ threw six sharp innings before three relievers completed the Houston Astros’ 4-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night.

The win wrapped up a two-game sweep for the Astros, who took the opener 8-3.

Happ (3-3) yielded seven hits and walked one, managing to escape jam after jam as the Brewers stranded eight while he was on the mound.

Chris Snyder, batting .179 this season, had two hits — including an RBI single after Lowrie’s homer in Houston’s four-run fourth. Jordan Schafer drove in a run later in that inning with a single and also had a double in the third.

Milwaukee starter Shaun Marcum (2-2) allowed four runs — three earned — and a season-high nine hits in five innings.

Astros relievers Wesley Wright, Wilton Lopez and Fernando Abad combined to give up one hit in three innings, handing Milwaukee its fourth shutout this year.

Happ walked Marcum with one out in the third before a double by Norichika Aoki. Rickie Weeks followed with an infield single — his second hit in his last 29 at-bats — but Happ retired Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez to pitch out of the bases-loaded jam.

Happ got into trouble again in the fifth after a single by Cesar Izturis before a one-out single by Aoki. An error by right fielder Brian Bogusevic allowed Aoki to advance to second and Izturis to move to third. Happ got out of this one by striking out Weeks before a groundout by Braun.

In what became a theme for his night, Happ got into another jam in the sixth. A double by Corey Hart before a single by Jonathan Lucroy left runners at the corners with one out. Happ escaped unscathed yet again when Snyder caught a foul popup by Brooks Conrad and Izturis grounded into a force out to end the inning.

Carlos Lee singled in the fourth before Lowrie’s shot to right field, which sailed over the outstretched arm of a leaping Hart, put Houston up 2-0. Bogusevic singled before scoring on a one-out single by Snyder.

Snyder advanced to second on the play thanks to an error by Aoki in center field. Schafer capped the scoring with a two-out RBI single.

NOTES: Brewers SS Alex Gonzalez had surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Milwaukee. His recovery time is expected to be six months. … Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke expects OF Carlos Gomez (strained left hamstring) to be activated from the disabled list Sunday. He is on a rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Wisconsin. … Houston opens a three-game series with the Rangers on Friday, with Wandy Rodriguez facing Texas right-hander Neftali Feliz. … Brewers RHP Marco Estrada opposes Minnesota left-hander Scott Diamond in the opener of a three-game set Friday.