Greinke, Fielder lead Brewers over Astros 7-3
Greinke tied a season high by going seven innings, and Fielder homered to help the Brewers beat the Houston Astros 7-3 Sunday for their fourth straight win. Fielder also scored four runs for the Brewers, who have won 11 of their last 12 games.
“He’s hot again, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “I think the guys in the lineup trying to figure to pitch to him or put him on. I think it is a really difficult situation.”
Since the Brewers started on their run, the Pirates have lost 10 straight to drop out of contention in the division. The Cardinals haven’t gone anywhere, though, and are three games back following a sweep of their own this weekend.
The Brewers open a three-game series in St. Louis on Tuesday.
“We have a lot of road ahead of us,” Mark Kotsay said. “I just think that as a team, we are finding our identity. Everyone is contributing.”
Yuniesky Betancourt drove in three runs, two of which were scored by Fielder. In the last 12 games, Betancourt has 17 hits and 12 RBIs. He’s driven in 18 in 18 games since July 19.
“With Prince being hot he’s going to always be on for him or whoever is hitting fifth,” Roenicke said. “He has been pretty amazing for the last three weeks or whatever it has been.”
Kotsay added three hits and an RBI in place of the injured Corey Hart.
Zack Greinke (10-4) allowed a run and four hits. He’s won his last three starts and kept opponents to two earned runs or fewer in his last six.
“I’ve felt a lot better,” Greinke said. “Today felt good. I think I got a little bit off in the sixth, but I felt good in the seventh again. I got lucky kind of. They didn’t get great hits the one inning they scored. . They got a couple of soft hits and nearly got a couple more.”
Houston starter Bud Norris (5-8) tied a season high by allowing six runs. He gave up eight hits in five innings. Norris didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning, and the Brewers had the leadoff man on in the first four innings.
“They’re in first place for a reason,” Norris said. “Those guys can hit. I didn’t make all the pitches I wanted to make, and they hit all the bad ones. . I tried to go out there and put up a zero real quick, but that didn’t happen today, and we came out on the wrong end. That’s how it’s been all year for us unfortunately.”
The Brewers tied a franchise record set from July 23-Aug. 1, 1983 with their ninth consecutive game of 10 hits or more.
“Offensively, from the first inning with Prince with the home run, and Greinke from the get go really threw the ball well,” Roenicke said. “I think they are happy where we are. I think they are really locked in to as what we need to do. . I thought as far as a well-rounded team, we were at home as well as these three games.”
Greinke didn’t allow a hit until Clint Barmes’ leadoff single in the third. The Astros put runners on first and second with two outs in the inning, but Barmes was caught leading off second too far, and Greinke caught him in a rundown trying to steal third.
The Astros, who are 40 games below .500 for the first time since 1963, didn’t score until Milwaukee led 6-0. Jose Altuve hit an RBI singled in the sixth to end Greinke’s shutout bid.
Houston manager Brad Mills had praise for Greinke.
“He showed that breaking ball late in the count that got us off balance a little bit,” Mills said. “He was able to offset it with the fastball. The location of the fastball set it up for him.”
The Brewers went up 2-0 in the first when Nyjer Morgan was hit by a pitch and Fielder hit his 26th homer of the season.
Felipe Lopez and Mark Kotsay hit RBI singles in the fourth and Betancourt hit a two-run single in the fifth. He added a run-scoring hit in the seventh to make it 7-1.
Lee hit a two-run single to right in the eighth.
NOTES: Hart had a bruised left hand a day after he was hit with a pitch in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. ... Houston INF Matt Downs broke an 0 for 24 slump with a pinch-hit double in the sixth. ... Milwaukee has Monday off before starting a three-game series Tuesday in St. Louis. RHP Shaun Marcum (10-3) is set to start against RHP Edwin Jackson (1-1). Marcum has had 13 quality starts this season and opponents are batting .225 against him. ... Houston begins a four-game series at Arizona on Monday with LHP Wandy Rodriguez (7-8) starting against RHP Daniel Hudson (11-7). Rodriguez has lost his last four against the Diamondbacks since 2007.