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Brewers blank Astros

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Associated Press
July 30, 2011
— Hunter Pence was traded midway through the game, and Randy Wolf and two relievers took advantage of Houston's punchless lineup.

Wolf pitched seven scoreless innings, giving the Milwaukee Brewers a 4-0 victory Friday night for their fourth consecutive victory.


"It's nice to have a win next to your name after you pitch," said Wolf, who won for the first time in six starts. "One thing I can't lose sight of is just going out there and doing the best I can.


"Sometimes it is not good enough to win, but I think if I give the team a chance, that is pretty much all I can do," he said. "Luckily, today it worked out where the Astros didn't score."


The Astros managed only two singles with Pence in the game and two after he was removed in the fifth inning of a scoreless game. The All-Star right-fielder was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for three minor-leaguers and a player to be named.


Houston starter Jordan Lyles (0-6) had breezed through the first four innings, giving up only one hit and facing the minimum 12 batters. Immediately after Pence was replaced by Jason Michaels in right-field, Prince Fielder led off the bottom of the fifth with a double to the wall in right-center field.


Wolf (7-8) had not won since June 24, going 0-4 with a no-decision in five starts since then. The left-hander, though, had no troubles with Houston, scattering four hits and three walks while striking out five.


The Brewers scored only nine runs in Wolf's last five starts.


"We scored a little more runs for him today," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "I actually didn't think he threw the ball today as well as he did his last outing.


"Today, I knew they didn't score off him but (there were) a lot of high counts," he said. "Made some great pitches to get out of some spots. But hey, a lot of zeroes. That was really good. Today, he was creative."


Takashi Saito pitched the eighth and Kameron Loe the ninth for Milwaukee, which limited Houston to four hits, all singles.


In their last 20 games, Brewers starters have a 2.66 ERA.


"It is nice for us because we don't have to concentrate on scoring five runs every night because our staff has been so good going deep in the game and our bullpen has been as good as anyone in baseball," said Corey Hart, who had a two-run single in the eighth. "It takes pressure off us. Hopefully we can start adding a few runs on there. We don't have to go out there and put it to everybody. We can get a few runs and feel pretty good going forward."


The Astros have lost six of their last eight games.


Lyles, who entered the season as Houston's top pitching prospect, is winless in 11 starts. He pitched six innings, giving up two runs on six hits while striking out three.


Pence was batting .309 with 11 homers and 62 RBIs entering Friday. The Phillies gave up first baseman Jonathan Singleton, right-hander Jarrod Cosart and right-hander Josh Zeid. Cosart is one of Philadelphia's best pitching prospects and Singleton is considered their top hitting prospect.


Pence recorded his final putout on a routine fly from Ryan Braun to end the bottom of the fourth, tossing the ball into the stands behind the Astros dugout. He didn't bat in the top of the fifth, and went out to right-field in the middle of the inning, but was replaced by Michaels before Lyles threw his first pitch.


"The Astros are going to get some great players," Pence said. "It's a new chapter for them and a new chapter for me 'cause I'm on board with a team that has the best record in baseball. Unbelievable talent. It's a wonderful thing for everybody, I hope."


Felipe Lopez, making his first start in place of injured second baseman Rickie Weeks, singled, moving Fielder to third. Casey McGehee followed with a single to left, scoring Fielder for a 1-0 Milwaukee lead.


One out later, George Kottaras singled to score Lopez and Milwaukee led 2-0.


In the seventh, the Brewers made it 4-0 on a two-out single to left-field by Hart off reliever Enerio Del Rosario, scoring Yuniesky Betancourt and Kottaras.


Notes: Right fielder J.D. Martinez, who has been playing at Double-A Corpus Christi, will join the Astros to fill Pence's spot on the roster. ... Lopez was 2 for 4 with a pair of singles in his debut. He also played for Milwaukee in 2009 and was obtained this week in a trade with Tampa Bay. ... Brewers relievers have not allowed a run in 12 1-3 innings.



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