Series: Game 1 of 4

Milwaukee leads 1-0 (as of 4/17)

Game 1: Thursday, April 17
Game 2: Friday, April 18
Game 3: Saturday, April 19
in 14
Game 4: Sunday, April 20

Astros 2

(8-7, 3-3 away)

Brewers 4

(6-10, 2-5 home)

    8:05 PM ET, April 17, 2003

    Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

    123456789 R H E
    HOU 000000002 2 6 0
    MIL 21000001 - 4 12 0

    W: M. Kinney (2-1)

    L: T. Redding (0-2)

    S: V. De Los Santos (1)

    Kinney holds Houston to four singles in victory

    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Matt Kinney barely made the Milwaukee Brewers' rotation out of spring training. So far, he's been their best starter.

    Kinney pitched seven scoreless innings and Richie Sexson and Geoff Jenkins hit consecutive home runs as Milwaukee beat the Houston Astros 4-2 Thursday night.

    Kinney (2-1) beat out Ruben Quevedo late in spring training for the final spot in the rotation. Coming off a 3-2 victory over Curt Schilling and Arizona last week, Kinney held Houston to four singles while walking one and striking out six.

    "Matt Kinney was on the attack from the first pitch on," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "He went out there with confidence in his fastball and confidence in his breaking ball."

    A day after the Brewers lost 15-2 to St. Louis, Kinney and Valerio De Los Santos shut down a Houston lineup missing Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio and Jeff Kent.

    "He threw a lot of strikes," Jeff Bagwell said of Kinney. "He got ahead of a lot of guys throwing in and out. Myself, he didn't give me a good pitch to hit all night."

    Kinney credited catcher Eddie Perez with calling a good game, and used his fastball mainly to throw first-pitch strikes to 14 of the 25 batters he faced.

    "You kind of get on the attack a little bit," Kinney said. "It makes it a lot easier than being down 3-1 and the hitters are on the attack."

    Despite the success, Kinney is slated to make only one more start before joining the bullpen for a couple of weeks. Due to days off, the Brewers will need only four starters for a stretch in late April and early May.

    Milwaukee's win combined with Cincinnati's loss puts the Brewers in fifth place in the NL Central, the first time they've been out of the cellar since being tied for fifth on May 18, 2002. The Brewers have won six of 10 after losing their first six games.

    "Those first six games, nothing was going our way," Perez said. "The thing about baseball is you have to be positive. We never lost that positive thing."

    De Los Santos got six outs for his first career save, allowing solo homers to Bagwell and Richard Hidalgo in the ninth.

    Tim Redding (0-2) lasted only 3 1-3 innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and one walk. He has not won in 12 consecutive starts dating to May 13, 2002, against Philadelphia.

    "I hung several curveballs," Redding said. "The one Sexson hit out was a terrible curveball."

    With two outs in the first, Sexson hit his fifth homer and Jenkins followed with his third for a 2-0 lead. Milwaukee made it 3-0 in the second when Royce Clayton singled, moved to second on a fielder's choice and scored on Eric Young's RBI single.

    Scott Podsednik hit his first homer in the eighth. Houston's only threat against Kinney came in the seventh when Orlando Merced singled and moved to second on Hidalgo's single. But Kinney got Jose Vizcaino to bounce into a 3-6-3 double play started by Sexson and struck out Brad Ausmus to end the inning.

    "I wanted to give Richie a hug after that," Kinney said. "It was big."

    Game notes
    2B Young sustained a bruised left elbow when he was hit by a pitch from reliever Ricky Stone in the fourth. Young left after the inning, and X-rays were negative. ... Berkman sat out with a strained ligament in his left elbow. Berkman, who said he was unsure how he was injured, said he might be out a "week or two" in Friday's edtions of the Houston Chronicle ... The Brewers said a movie titled ``Mr. 3000'' starring Bernie Mac would be shot at Miller Park July 23-24 when the Astros again are in Milwaukee. ... The Astros purchased the contract of RHP Scott Linebrink from Triple-A New Orleans, and sent C Raul Chavez outright to New Orleans. ... Biggio and Kent did not start, but both came in to pinch-hit.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press