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Astros beat 8/7

August 8, 2010

Mills thinks Hart was out on game-winner

MILWAUKEE — While the Brewers were celebrating a thrilling walk-off victory Friday night, the Astros and manager Brad Mills weren’t so sure about the game’s final run.

As right fielder Corey Hart scored the winning run Friday night, Mills was convinced he was out. His opinion remained the same Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately, the ensuing celebration made it tough for Mills to voice his opinion.

“That is the toughest way to argue a call,” Mills said. “To go out there when everybody is running around — the umpires want to leave, they’re trying to get off the field, and I’m trying to state my case as he’s walking off. It’s a bad place to be.

“They were picking Hart up off the ground as I was running around trying to get to the umpire. That’s a tough situation.”

A closer look at Hart’s slide shows his left leg was several inches off the ground as Astros catcher Jason Castro turned to tag the All-Star right fielder. From the camera angle behind the plate, however, it’s difficult to see whether Hart scores before the tag is applied.

Mills said his catcher could have been better positioned on the play, though he understands the difficulty of catching the throw from right fielder Hunter Pence and making the tag at the plate.

“The ball is always going to travel quicker than the guy is able to get the ball and reach back,” Mills said. “We try to get the guys to straddle the bag and let the ball travel.

“When the ball’s coming from right field, it’s the worst for the catcher. His eyes are on the ball, and he can’t even see the runner out of his periphery. It makes it really difficult.”

Astros like Wallace’s approach at the plate

MILWAUKEE — Like the rest of the National League, the Astros are still learning just what kind of hitter rookie first baseman Brett Wallace could be.

Through five starts and 17 at-bats, early indications have been good.

Wallace showed off one part of his skill set Friday night as he drove a double into the gap in left-center field in the fifth, scoring shortstop Geoff Blum from first base. Hits to left-center field were a common theme for Wallace in the Minors.

In particular, manager Brad Mills also likes the calm approach Wallace seems to have in the batter’s box, regardless of the outcome.

“Isn’t that nice to see?” Mills said. “As a young kid, that sure looks nice.”

Bourn has green light when he feels right

MILWAUKEE — When it comes to stealing bases, it’s up to Michael Bourn to decide when he thinks it’s the right situation to go for it.

When Bourn reached base twice on Friday night, manager Brad Mills reminded his center fielder of that fact more often than usual. With Brewers catcher George Kottaras having thrown out just 16 percent of basestealers this season, the Astros knew they could have an easy time on the bases.

But Mills didn’t want to force Bourn to steal.

“I tried to emphasize him running, but you don’t want to force him to run,” Mills said. “He has to be able to feel it.

“He tried to go a couple times and just didn’t feel it. You can’t force a guy to run when he doesn’t feel comfortable, especially a guy like Michael.”

He finished the night with a pair of stolen bases, but Bourn might have had more if his right foot was feeling 100 percent

Bourn has been slowed since his foot was hit with a pitch Wednesday in St. Louis, though he has not missed any time. Although he was left out of the starting lineup Saturday, it had more to do with Bourn’s numbers against left-handed pitching than his right foot.

“It was sore last night. As he was coming off the field, I think you could [see that],” Mills said. “He said it hurts him more to jog than to run.”

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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