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Brewers get 5-3 win over Astros in 10 innings

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staff, Gazette
July 8, 2012

— Just before his second straight start on Sunday, Zack Greinke was excited to learn that when he takes the mound after the All-Star break he'll become the first pitcher to start three games in a row in one season since 1917.

After giving up three early runs, he grew worried he could end up losing them all.

"I was like: 'It's cool to get three straight starts, but if you lose all three of them, that would be the worst thing ever,'" said Greinke, who took Saturday's loss.

His team ensured he'll avoid that fate by rallying late for a 5-3 win over the Houston Astros in 10 innings.

Corey Hart drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the 10th inning, and Rickie Weeks' third hit added an insurance run in the victory that wrapped up the first half of the season for both teams.

Nyjer Morgan walked to start the 10th and Fernando Rodriguez (1-8) intentionally walked Braun before a wild pitch moved the pair over.

Rodriguez walked Aramis Ramirez to load the bases before Hart's full-count grounder put Milwaukee on top. Weeks, who homered in the second, singled in the 10th.

Ryan Braun's RBI single tied it at 3 in the eighth and got Greinke off the hook after he allowed three runs in the first.

Manny Parra (1-3) pitched a perfect ninth for the win and John Axford allowed two hits in a scoreless 10th for his 15th save.

Greinke threw just four pitches Saturday before he was ejected after spiking the ball following a close play at first base during a 6-3 loss at Houston. So the Brewers gave him another shot on Sunday.

"Overall it wasn't great, but we played until the end and everyone else did their part and we pulled a win out of it," he said.

Greinke is the first pitcher in the majors to start consecutive games since C.J. Wilson of the Angels on May 11-12.

The last Brewers pitcher to start consecutive games was CC Sabathia, who started the game before and after the All-Star break in 2008.

Greinke also is scheduled to start Milwaukee's first game after the break on Friday. That would make him the first pitcher to start three straight games in one season since Red Faber for the Chicago White Sox in 1917, according to stats provided by the Brewers from the Elias Sports Bureau.

"I'm considering it a record. Even though it's been done before, I feel like it's the first time ever being done," Greinke said. "I'm excited about it. Hopefully the results will be better. I think it's really neat, but I don't know if anyone else does."

Much like the day before, things went wrong quickly on Sunday for the 2009 AL Cy Young winner.

But after the Astros jumped on Greinke in the first inning, they were unable to muster much offense the rest of the way.

Greinke settled down after that to pitch two scoreless innings before being replaced by Marco Estrada, who was originally scheduled to start Sunday. Greinke allowed five hits and three runs with five strikeouts.

"Zack struggled a little bit in the first inning and that kept him from going deeper into the game," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "The next two innings (he was) OK. He was fatigued after that."

The solo homer by Weeks in the second inning gave him two in the last three games. He finished the series 4 for 12 with two homers and five RBIs, an encouraging performance after scuffling at the plate this season.

Houston starter Jordan Lyles retired 10 straight before Braun doubled to start the sixth. Ramirez sent him home with a single to center field to cut Houston's lead to 3-2.

Scott Moore extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games with a two-out single in the second inning. But the Astros offense went cold after that, and Houston didn't get another baserunner until Jed Lowrie walked to start the bottom of the sixth.

The Brewers still faced the minimum in that inning thanks to a double play, and relievers Jose Veras, Francisco Rodriguez and Parra shut down Houston for the next three innings. "We just could not get anything started," Houston manager Brad Mills said. "That was the biggest thing."

Jordan Schafer led off with a single and scored on a double by Jose Altuve. A wild pitch followed before Greinke got the first out. J.D. Martinez pushed the lead to 2-0 with a run-scoring single before a two-out single by Chris Johnson.

Brian Bogusevic walked before a bases-loaded walk by Chris Snyder sent another runner home.

He finally got out of the inning by striking out Lyles on his 39th pitch.

NOTES: Milwaukee optioned INF Taylor Green to Triple-A Nashville ... Houston optioned INF Matt Dominguez to Triple-A Oklahoma City. ... Houston OF Justin Maxwell, on the DL with an injured left ankle, went 1 for 4 in his second rehabilitation start for Oklahoma City on Saturday night and Mills expects him to come off the DL on Friday. ... Houston reliever Wilton Lopez, on the DL with a sprained right elbow, pitched one inning in his second rehabilitation start for Oklahoma City on Saturday night.



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