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Brewers start fast, fade late

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Associated Press
June 29, 2010
— Pedro Feliz could pout about no longer playing third base every day.

Instead, he’s getting credit from Houston Astros manager Brad Mills for continuing to work hard.


Feliz’s RBI double gave Houston the lead in the seventh inning, capping a comeback from an early deficit and helping the Astros to a 9-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.


“He’s been a professional on how he’s handled this little excursion of losing some playing time,” Mills said. “He comes out early for work and came out today early for work. That’s just how he is, the type of guy he is. Any time a guy like that contributes, No. 1, you’re thrilled for him and you really want to tip your hat to him.”


Houston trailed by four runs after two innings but got three to tie the game in the sixth, then added two in the seventh on Feliz’s double and an RBI single by Jason Bourgeois.


Corey Hart had three hits and two RBIs for Milwaukee, while Ryan Braun hit his 11th home run. But the Astros’ bullpen held the Brewers scoreless from the fourth inning on.


The Brewers had won six of their last seven coming into Monday, and had been getting much better efforts from their pitching staff than they did during their disappointing start to the season.


At least for a night, everybody seemed to take a step backward. Milwaukee pitchers issued six walks.


“Every once in a while, you’re going to have a stinker,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said.


It was a big night for Houston’s Michael Bourn, who had four hits, including a solo home run in the third and an RBI single in the sixth. Only one thing really went wrong all night for him—but it stood out.


Bourn raised his arm to call for time during an at-bat in the fourth inning. Then he stepped out of the box as Manny Parra was in the middle of his delivery.


But plate umpire Tony Randazzo apparently didn’t see or hear Bourn and didn’t grant the request, so he called Bourn out on strikes while he watched the pitch go by from a few feet away.


“He said he didn’t hear me,” Bourn said. “I was debating whether I should step out or not, for the three or four seconds while he was just sitting there—‘I want to step out, I want to step out.’ And when I tried to, he said he didn’t hear me. Of course I was upset, but you know, I just went on and went back to the dugout and tried to finish the rest of the game. It worked out for me.”


Trailing 5-2, the Astros rallied to tie in the sixth. Bourn’s RBI single scored Feliz, and Houston went on to load the bases. Todd Coffey (2-2) replaced Carlos Villanueva and immediately allowed a two-run single to Hunter Pence.


Houston took the lead in the seventh, when Chris Johnson reached on a fielding error by third baseman Casey McGehee and Feliz followed with an RBI double to give the Astros a 6-5 lead. Bourgeois later bounced a two-out single over McGehee’s head to score Feliz.


Gustavo Chacin (1-0) pitched a scoreless sixth to earn the win.


Braun came up in the seventh with runners on second and third and two outs, but reliever Brandon Lyon struck him out. Carlos Lee added a two-run double in the eighth.


It was a rocky return to the mound for Astros starter Bud Norris, who had been on the disabled list since May 24 with biceps tendinitis.


Norris said he felt “great” physically, and credited the bullpen.


“They all did a great job,” Norris said. “The team knows they’ve been working hard and they’re getting better every time out.”


It was a so-so outing for Parra—and with Doug Davis nearing a return from the disabled list, Parra said he wasn’t thinking about whether his days as a starter might be numbered.


“If I’m executing my pitches, I’m doing my job and that’s it,” Parra said.


Parra threw two wild pitches Monday night after throwing four in his previous outing to tie a club record. Parra also bobbled a ball during a rundown in the first inning.


Parra said he didn’t consider the recent rash of wild pitches an issue.


“Throw your pitches down in the zone, you’re going to bounce some,” Parra said.



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