HOUSTON (AP) -- The suddenly heavy-hitting Houston Astros look
nothing like they did at the beginning of last season when their
offense was lackluster at the least and often downright dismal.
It was the eighth time this season Houston has scored more than
five runs in a game. Through 13 games last season the Astros had
achieved the feat just once.
"It's really strange," Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg
said. "We're scoring runs and I don't know what to make of it. We
definitely didn't do this this time last year. It's just a lot of
fun and it's nice to see."
Ensberg also had a solo home run in the sixth inning, his third
in as many days.
"What's happening is we're getting timely hits and we're doing
it from all parts of the lineup," Astros manager Phil Garner said.
"Ensberg and Lane and Craig [Biggio] are all getting big hits and
Berkman is hitting better than at any stretch last year. Every time
he goes to the plate you think he's going to do something."
Berkman is batting .380 with six home runs and 18 RBI and
Ensberg is .409 with four homers, five doubles and 10 RBI.
Biggio said he thinks a year of experience helped Houston's
offense take off.
"We understand our club so much better this year," the
40-year-old Biggio said. "Last year we had so many young guys that
we didn't know what they were able to do. It took us a long time to
Carlos Lee, Geoff Jenkins and Gabe Gross homered for Milwaukee.
Gross' pinch-hit, three-run shot of Chad Qualls in the seventh gave
Milwaukee a 6-3 lead. It was Gross' second pinch-hit homer of the
Ezequiel Astacio (1-0), who was recalled from the minors on
Friday, faced one batter to get the win.
Wise (1-1) allowed four hits and five runs in one inning.
"I feel like I let everyone down tonight," Wise said. "We put
up a bunch of runs and I just didn't do my job. This one hurts
Brewers manager Ned Yost wanted Wise to pitch two innings.
"It was just one of those days," Yost said. "He just wasn't
sharp tonight. I was hoping he could go two innings but his fast
ball was up and he wasn't locating his pitches."
Milwaukee starter David Bush pitched six innings and allowed
nine hits and three runs while striking out five for the Brewers.
Jenkins hit a two-run home run to right field to put the Brewers
ahead 3-2 in the sixth. It was the third day in a row he had
homered, giving him sole possession of fourth place on the Brewers
career home run list with 177.
Lee hit his sixth home run of the season to left field off
rookie starter Taylor Buchholz in the second inning to give the
Brewers an early 1-0 lead.
Buchholz, making his first major league start, allowed two hits,
two earned runs, walked three batters and struck out four in six
Buchholz made his first major league start a day after
Fernando Nieve made his for Houston. It marks the first time since
September 1963 that the franchise has had pitchers make their first
major league starts on consecutive days, according to the Elias
Sports Bureau. ... Houston CF Willy Taveras extended his hitting
streak to 10 games with a single to left field in the fifth. ...
Lee has hit safely in 11 of his 13 games this season. ...CF Preston
Wilson struck out five times to set the franchise single-game
record and tie the major league record for strikeouts in a