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Frustrating sixth continues Myers’ streak

August 8, 2010

MILWAUKEE — Five pitches into the game, Brett Myers had given up a leadoff inside-the-park homer and a sharp double to the gap in left.

Those turned out to be the hardest hit balls of the night off Myers, but four soft singles did the Astros right-hander in Saturday at Miller Park.

Myers settled down after the Brewers’ first two batters, retiring 15 of the next 17 hitters he faced. With one out in the sixth, Myers surrendered four straight singles, which led to two more Brewers runs and the Astros’ 5-2 loss.

Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks led off the bottom of the first with a bang, driving an 0-2 fastball off the wall in left-center field. Weeks hustled around for an inside-the-park home run and his seventh career leadoff homer, a franchise record.

Center fielder Jason Bourgeois looked to have a play on the Weeks fly ball, but it got by him and caromed off the wall away from him.

“I thought I had a bead on it. I got a good jump, it just happened to get over my glove,” Bourgeois said. “I thought everything was going right, but it’s a game of inches. It got over.

“A little off line. That’s what I think it was when I looked at the replay. I wish I could have another try at it, but it’s the way the game goes.”

Bourgeois tracked the ball down quickly, but was too late to catch Weeks.

“I knew I had to get it, because I know Rickie can run a little bit,” Bourgeois said. “It just happened to get a little bit away from me. Hats off to him, he was hustling the whole time.”

Corey Hart followed with a double to the gap in left and came around to score after a pair of groundouts, giving Milwaukee the early 2-0 lead.

In the sixth, four straight singles by Hart, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee brought home two more runs, and eventually ended Myers’ night after just 78 pitches.

“The first inning, I made some mistakes,” Myers said. “That first inning I’m fine with. The sixth inning, those are the frustrating ones, when you make good pitches and they end up finding holes. That’s baseball. That’s the way things go for you.”

Tossing six innings in the loss, Myers’ streak of consecutive starts of six or more innings continued Saturday.

Extending his franchise record streak to 23 straight starts to open the season, Myers gave up four runs on seven hits in those six innings while walking one and striking out two.

In the second through fifth innings, Myers faced only one over the minimum as he gave up just one hit — which was followed by a double play — and a walk.

“Brett threw the ball extremely well again,” manager Brad Mills said. “I say it every time, he’s been unbelievable all year long. Tonight he gave us a chance again.”

Myers was outdueled by former Phillies teammate Randy Wolf, though, who effectively shut down the Astros’ bats over 6 2/3 innings in his first start since being hit with a Hunter Pence line drive on Sunday.

Wolf kept the Astros hitters off balance all night, walking just one batter while recording four strikeouts. Although he did give up nine hits, Wolf stranded seven runners over the first five innings.

As if Wolf’s strong outing on the mound weren’t enough, he made a tremendous defensive play in the seventh, tossing out shortstop Angel Sanchez at first on a bunt between the mound and the third-base line.

“He made a lot of big pitches to get out of those innings,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. “In the seventh inning, when Sanchez laid that bunt down, I thought he made a tremendous play. That was a huge help there.”

With the loss, Houston finds itself having dropped three straight on the heels of a season-high seven-game winning streak. In each of the three games, the pitching — Wandy Rodriguez’s start on Friday aside — has not been as sharp as it had been of late.

But the offense hasn’t helped either.

Astros hitters went just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position Saturday night, with the only hits being the back-to-back doubles in the seventh that plated both Houston runs. Add a 3-for-15 night on Friday, and the Astros have gone 5-for-26 (.192) with runners in scoring position for the series.

“Any time that you go for a long string and leave a lot of runners on, it is going to catch up with you, if not that night, eventually,” Mills said. “We’re having some good at-bats, it’s just that it didn’t string together through the whole lineup tonight.

“They were able to put some hits back-to-back-to-back, even if they weren’t hit hard. Where we might have had quite a few hits, we weren’t able to string them all together.”

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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