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Brewers earn first series win in two weeks

6/20/2002

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Brewers have finally found a team
that's struggling more than they are.

Glendon Rusch stranded eight runners over six shutout innings
and the Brewers beat the Houston Astros for the third straight
time, 8-1 Wednesday night.

The Astros have lost seven straight on the road, and the Brewers
have just their second three-game winning streak of the season.
They've outscored the Astros 20-4 and have a 1.00 ERA in the series
that wraps up Thursday.

Rusch (4-5) labored through his six innings, allowing five hits
and walking four, but repeatedly getting out of jams. He threw 71
of his 116 pitches in the first three innings, when he walked
three, but stranded six.

''It wasn't great but it was good enough,'' Brewers manager
Jerry Royster said. ''And we're taking good enough right now. He
stranded a lot of baserunners and also threw a lot of pitches. So,
it wasn't ideal, but it was exactly what we needed. We needed
another win on top of last night.''

Rusch said he felt fortunate.

''Tonight the walks didn't hurt me.'' he said. ''A lot of times
those guys are going to end up scoring. Tonight I was the lucky
one.

''I'd rather have a lot less guys on base than two guys on every
inning and 3-2 on every batter like I was tonight,'' Rusch said.
''But yeah, it's a boost when you get out of those innings, you
work your way out of some tough jams and the team picks you up.''

The Astros were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position off
Rusch.

''We couldn't get that big hit,'' Astros manager Jimy Williams
said. ''Rusch got tough when he had to. He had a high pitch count
and he battled through that. We had some runners on base and we
just couldn't get that hit or two to put some crooked numbers on
the board.''

The Brewers sure did.

Eric Young hit Tim Redding's first pitch 420 feet for his first
home run of the season, Jose Hernandez led off the sixth with his
13th homer and Richie Sexson led off the seventh with his 18th, a
425-foot shot.

Redding (3-4) allowed only two other hits in six innings. He
walked two and struck out six.

''I had a game plan of taking a couple pitches and seeing what
type of location or command he had,'' said Young, who added an RBI
triple in the seventh. ''But looking at the tape, I noticed he was
pretty accurate getting that first strike over. So, I said if I see
it, I'm going to take a good hack on it.''

After a 1-2-3 fourth, Brian Hunter led off the fifth with a
double, but was trapped off the bag when Craig Biggio flied out
weakly to first on a failed hit-and-run.

The Astros put runners at first and third with one out in the
sixth, but Gregg Zaun fouled out and Julio Lugo looked at strike
three.

''We're going to have to get our act together real quick because
it's not early anymore,'' Houston's Jeff Bagwell said. ''That's not
good baseball.''

The Brewers lost the shutout when shortstop Jose Hernandez
booted Jose Vizcaino's groundball with two outs in the eighth,
allowing Geoff Blum to score from third.

The Brewers scored four times off Scott Linebrink in the eighth,
including Robert Machado's two-run double.

For the third straight game, the Brewers got timely hitting and
good pitching, a previously elusive mix.

''If things come together like that,'' Young said, ''we should
get on a nice little roll.''

Game notes
The Brewers inducted commissioner Bud Selig, who brought
the team to Milwaukee in 1970, and former slugger Cecil Cooper into
the Miller Park walk of fame in pregame ceremonies. ... Astros
slugger Lance Berkman got the night off, missing a start for just
the third time this season. ... Lou Collier was the last Brewers
hitter to lead off a game with a homer, on Sept. 9, 2001. ... Young
has hit 16 leadoff homers, most recently on June 16, 2001.