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Rocky start for Wright as Astros skid

August 8, 2010

MILWAUKEE — What a difference a week made for the Astros and Wesley Wright.

Coming to Milwaukee, the Astros had hopes of building another winning streak and, with a sweep, moving into third place in the National League Central.

Three days later, Houston was the team that was swept, and with four straight losses, the Astros head home on a low note after an 11-6 defeat at the hands of the Brewers on Sunday.

Just a week removed from earning his first Major League win as a starter over the very same Brewers team, Wright had no such luck at Miller Park. Wright lasted just 2 1/3 innings, surrendering seven runs on five hits and four walks.

“Execution,” Wright said of the difference from his last start. “I really struggled from the first inning on to get on top of the ball and drive it down in the zone. I was behind from the start, and they were able to get some big hits with guys in scoring position.”

A week earlier, Wright went seven strong at Minute Maid Park, giving up just two runs on four hits with a walk and six strikeouts. Wright did not allow a run until the sixth and reached career highs in innings and strikeouts.

In that game, the Brewers seemed unable to make the necessary adjustments against the 25-year-old lefty. On Sunday, it was Wright who couldn’t adjust.

“He threw so well last week against them, and you’d always like to see a guy be able to build on a good performance,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “They didn’t have to worry about adjustments. The ball seemed to be high arm side, and he was having trouble getting balls back down in. Those adjustments were tough.”

After the Astros opened with two runs on four hits in the first, Wright gave up four runs before recording a second out, as the Brewers’ first five batters reached base.

“Every game is different,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. “You can’t just write one guy out there and figure he is going to do what he did in the game before.”

The Brewers had another four-run inning in the third, sparked by a trio of Brewers rookies, as Wright walked the first two batters of the inning before recording an out.

After a two-run double to left-center off the bat of Lorenzo Cain, the Brewers’ rookie center fielder, Wright’s day was done. Nelson Figueroa came on and surrendered a single and double to Alcides Escobar and Jonathan Lucroy, respectively, before ending the inning with a pair of strikeouts.

An inning later, a Casey McGehee three-run home run into the Brewers’ bullpen in left off Gustavo Chacin put an exclamation point on Milwaukee’s big day.

Most frustrating for Wright was the fact that Gallardo, like Wright, didn’t seem to have his best stuff in the series finale. But after tossing an impressive second inning, Wright said he “wasn’t able to get the ball rolling,” and keep the Astros in the game.

For Gallardo, who improved to 11-5 on the season, after giving up four runs on eight hits and one walk against seven strikeouts, all that mattered was the victory.

“Any time I do what I was supposed to, which is get the team a win, it’s always a plus,” Gallardo said. “I gave up a couple of [runs] there in the first inning, but our hitters came back with a four-spot.

“After that, it’s about staying with the lead and not returning it the other way.”

Offensively, the Astros continued to swing the bats well, just not quite as well — or efficiently — as the Brewers. After sitting out Saturday due to a sore right foot, center fielder Michael Bourn put together a 3-for-5 game with two runs, two RBIs and a double.

A two-run single in the fourth by Bourn cut the Brewers’ lead to 8-4 at the time, and a pair of back-to-back doubles by Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee leading off the eighth gave the Astros their fifth run. Lee and second baseman Jeff Keppinger joined Bourn with two RBIs.

On a weekend when so many things didn’t go the Astros’ way, the six-run output was one of the few bright spots.

“There’s no doubt,” Mills said when asked whether the offense was nice to see. “[Bourn's] three hits with some RBIs after sitting out last night — and he’s got that sore foot from when he was hit in St. Louis — that was nice to see. Carlos, it’s nice to see him get some hits as well.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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