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Brewers score late, pound Astros

Sep 3, 2011 - 6:23 AM Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Lucas Harrell and the Astros did a good job holding the Brewers off the scoreboard for six innings Friday.

Then Milwaukee's lineup came to life.

The Brewers exploded for eight runs in the final three innings to beat the Astros, 8-2, in the opener of a three-game series.

Milwaukee was coming off a disastrous series against St. Louis, in which it was swept in three games and outscored by an 18-8 margin. But the NL Central- leading Brewers rebounded with Friday's win, and extended their advantage over the second-place Cardinals to 8 1/2 games.

Ryan Braun hit a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh, Casey McGehee slugged a two-run homer in the eighth and Prince Fielder added a two-run shot in the ninth.

"Prince looked really good today at the plate," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said of Fielder, who finished 4-for-4. "His rhythm was great, his swings were great. Even the balls he was fouling back. And he's also seeing the ball really well."

Harrell was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to make his first start with the Astros, who claimed him off waivers from the White Sox in July. The right- hander pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks, to put Houston in position to win.

"I feel like I got in a groove a little bit later on," Harrell said. "You're always a little bit nervous, a little excited. I feel like after I got through a few innings it went a little bit better."

But the Astros' bullpen failed -- Aneury Rodriguez (1-6) was responsible for three runs in the seventh, David Carpenter allowed McGehee's homer and Jordan Lyles gave up three runs in the ninth as Houston had its four-game win streak broken.

Houston grabbed the lead by scoring twice against Brewers starter Zack Greinke (14-5) in the fourth inning. Outfielder Brian Bogusevic led off with his first career triple and scored when Jimmy Paredes slapped a single back up the middle.

Paredes moved to third on a wild pitch and throwing error by catcher Jonathan Lucroy -- allowing him to easily cross the plate when Clint Barmes ripped a double to the left field corner.

But those were the only runs Greinke gave up in six innings, and the Brewers grabbed the lead in the seventh.

Rodriguez retired the first two batters he faced, but gave up a single to pinch-hitter Taylor Green and a base hit to Corey Hart, who extended his hitting streak to 15 games.

Hart's single put runners on the corners, and Rodriguez walked Nyjer Morgan to load the bases before being pulled.

Carpenter came in and threw his first pitch wild, bringing in pinch-runner Logan Schafer. Braun hit Carpenter's next pitch through the left side to bring in Hart and Morgan.

Braun was caught in a rundown to end the inning, but not before Milwaukee grabbed a 3-2 edge.

In the eighth, Fielder led off with a double before Carpenter hung a slider to McGehee, who slammed it over the left field fence. It got worse for Houston in the ninth, when Lyles hit Morgan with a pitch before Braun singled to left.

Morgan took third on the hit, then scored on a throwing error by J.D. Martinez. Fielder blasted the next pitch high over the left field fence.

The Brewers' bullpen made sure the lead stood. LaTroy Hawkins, Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford all threw a scoreless inning to secure the victory.

Game Notes

The Astros' Carlos Lee went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 13 games...Schafer made his major league debut with his pinch-running appearance...Milwaukee shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt suffered an elbow contusion when he was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning. He is day- to-day...The Astros recalled Harrell, Lyles, infielders Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace, outfielder J.B. Shuck and catcher J.R. Towles from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday. They also activated pitcher Enerio Del Rosario from the 15-day disabled list.