Saturday, September 29, 2012
Brewers 9, Astros 5
MILWAUKEE -- Dallas Keuchel was having an impressive September until facing Corey Hart and a potent Milwaukee Brewers lineup on Saturday night.
Marco Estrada struck out 11 in eight shutout innings, Hart homered twice and the Brewers beat the Astros 9-5 as Houston recorded its 106th loss, tying a franchise record set last year.
Keuchel (3-8) was coming off three consecutive solid outings, but was battered for seven runs in just 2 1-3 innings in his final start of the season.
Hart and Aramis Ramirez hit consecutive home runs in the second inning for a 2-0 lead. Hart added a three-run homer, his 30th, in the third to make it 7-0.
"Today, I backtracked a little bit," Keuchel said. "I didn't make the pitches inside and it was just kind of disappointing to end on this note, but I know I can always get better and look forward to next year."
Keuchel had given up only two runs in 16 1-3 innings over his first three September starts. The left-hander retired the side in order in the first, but allowed the consecutive home runs in the second.
Jonathan Lucroy followed with a single, Jean Segura walked and Estrada's sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third with two outs. Aoki then hit a bloop single to center, scoring both runners for a 4-0 lead.
Braun and Ramirez each singled to open the third and Hart connected again.
Interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said Keuchel was learning at the major league level.
"To stay here he's going to have to make some major adjustments," he said. "The inconsistency is what you see and that's what we have to try to address and hopefully he can make the adjustments. But when he's on, he's a tough left-handed starter for this league."
Hart drove in four runs to back Estrada (5-7), who won for the third time in four starts. The right-hander allowed only four singles and a walk after giving up six earned runs in just four innings against Washington in his last outing.
Houston hit three home runs in the ninth to score five times off reliever Livan Hernandez. Fernando Martinez and Brian Bogusevic hit two-run homers and Tyler Greene added a solo shot.
Hart was in a 4-for-28 slump after missing eight games with plantar fascitis in his left foot, but had little trouble against Keuchel. He grimaced while jogging the bases after his first home run, but remained in the game.
Ramirez and Norichika Aoki each had three hits while Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez had two hits apiece.
"That's a pretty potent offense over there and they showed why they're where they're at," DeFrancesco said.
Houston's best threat against Estrada came in the fourth when the first two batters singled. Scott Moore was then picked off second by Estrada, Fernando Martinez struck out and Jason Castro grounded out to end the inning.
NOTES: The Astros never got a runner past second base off Estrada. ... Brewers RHP Wily Peralta still had soreness in his right biceps during a bullpen session Saturday and manager Ron Roenicke said the rookie would not make his scheduled start Tuesday against San Diego. . Hart has hit 87 home runs the past three seasons.