for this game

Brewers knock off punchless Astros

Apr 29, 2007 - 11:01 PM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- The Milwaukee Brewers did not have to do too much on offense Sunday. Not with the way the Houston Astros were beating themselves.

Geoff Jenkins belted a solo home run and Claudio Vargas and three relievers combined to shut down the Astros' inept offense in the Brewers' 3-1 victory in the rubber game of a three-game series.

J.J. Hardy extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI double and Tony Graffanino added a run-scoring single to send the Astros to their eighth loss in nine games.

Milwaukee managed to accomplish what Houston could not - deliver a pair of clutch hits. Graffanino and Hardy each had two-out RBI hits in the third inning to build the lead to 3-0, and the Astros spend the rest of the game flailing away trying to put up some runs.

"Those (two-out hits) are backbreakers," Graffanino said. "They are obviously great to get, and they were the difference in the ballgame."

Pinch hitter Mike Lamb finally got the Astros on the board with an eight-inning solo homer off reliever Carlos Villanueva. It broke a team streak of 236 at-bats without a blast.

Francisco Cordero finished up for his 10th save in as many chances as the Brewers won their first series here since 1997.

Houston stranded 13 men on base through seven innings, including leaving the bases loaded in the third, fourth and fifth to continue a disturbing offensive trend.

"It was a weird day," Lamb said. "We got guys on base, the pitcher went 3-0 and then made three perfect pitches to make us out. It's been a rough week. We just need to do a better job. We need Lance (Berkman) and Carlos (Lee) to get hot, and the rest of us need to do our jobs."

Prior to breaking out in a 10-1 rout of the Brewers on Saturday, the Astros had managed a total of 18 runs during a seven-game losing streak.

"I don't think you can call this a concern," Astros cleanup hitter Carlos Lee said. "We need to start playing a little better."

The offensive woes manifested themselves again against a wildly effective Vargas (2-0), who allowed more walks (five) than hits (four) in his 98-pitch five-inning stint.

Houston continually had Vargas on the ropes but never could push across a run.

"(Vargas) had jams it seemed like every inning," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "Big jams. He kept making pitches when he needed to and got out of it."

Lee struck out on a high fastball to end the third and the frustration just grew in the next two frames for the Astros.

"Myself, personally, I hate (missed opportunities)," said Lee, who left five runners on base alone. "Every time I go out there with the opportunity to do something ... at least if you have a good at bat it's OK. But if you don't have a quality at-bat, that's tough."

In the fourth, Vargas struck out counterpart Woody Williams (0-4) and got leadoff hitter Craig Biggio to ground into a fielder's choice.

Vargas then got himself in another jam in the fifth, issuing a lead walk to Morgan Ensberg and a one-out single to Lee.

Lance Scott followed with a grounder back to Vargas, who threw well wide of the base at second to load the bases with one out. The Dominican righthander escaped again, striking out rookie Hunter Pence and retiring Adam Everett on a harmless fly to center to end his day.

"I think sometimes we focus more a little bit when you're in that situation," Vargas said. "We're winning 3-0, and I had to make those pitches to get out of it."

Vargas, who has retired his last eight batters with the bases loaded, struck out five.

The 40-year-old Williams allowed three runs - all earned - and five hits in five innings, striking out one and walking two to fall to 12-6 lifetime against Milwaukee.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    MILWAUKEE 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 1
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 7 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: MIL - CLAUDIO VARGAS, CARLOS VILLANUEVA (6TH), DERRICK TURNBOW
    (8TH), FRANCISCO CORDERO (9TH) AND DAMIAN MILLER
    HOU - WOODY WILLIAMS, CHAD QUALLS (7TH), DAN WHEELER

    Apr 29 5:10 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY MIKE LAMB (1) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    8TH OFF CARLOS VILLANUEVA.
    CURRENT SCORE: MILWAUKEE 3, HOUSTON 1
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C BIGGIO (.253, 0-FOR-3, BB)

    Brewers vs. AstrosApr 29 4:40 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY J.J. HARDY SCORED TONY GRAFFANINO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J HARDY ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MILWAUKEE 3
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: P FIELDER (.266, 0-FOR-1)

    Brewers vs. AstrosApr 29 2:39 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TONY GRAFFANINO SCORED CRAIG COUNSELL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T GRAFFANINO ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MILWAUKEE 2
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: J HARDY (.278, 0-FOR-1)

    Brewers vs. AstrosApr 29 2:37 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY GEOFF JENKINS (4) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF WOODY WILLIAMS.
    CURRENT SCORE: MILWAUKEE 1, HOUSTON 0
    DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: K MENCH (.356, 2 HR, 8 RBI)

    Brewers vs. AstrosApr 29 2:20 PM