Milwaukee Brewers 5 Houston Astros 1
MVPs of the Game:
Ryan Braun: 4/4; HR, 2 RBIs, 2 Rs
Lance Berkman: 2/4; 2B
The Brewers finally pulled together a well rounded baseball game together last night, beating the Astros in game one of a three game series. Riding back to back homeruns by Ryan Braun and Mike Cameron in the first inning, Manny Parra bounced back from his last start by pitching one run baseball over six innings. Brandon Backe and the Astros didn't ride much, missing the train from Minute Maid Park. Backe only made it through five giving up five and his team could only must seven hits the entire night, two of which went for extra bases.
The Brewers looked good at nearly all ends of the field. Manny Parra walked four batters, but made up for it by locating his fastball well enabling him to strikeout six and yield only four hits. The offense finally helped early, which has been hard to come by, scoring two quick ones in the first, allowing their young arm to play with a little more aggressiveness. The Astros answered back quickly, scoring one of their on in the second on an RBI single from JR Towles. The Brewers responded with an RBI single of their own in the third and Fielder put the game out of reach in the fifth with a two run shot in the 5th.
The Brewers bullpen would take it from there. Parra was pulled from the game after the sixth despite an 87 pitch count, in favor of Carlos Villanueva, whose move to the bullpen has been a pleasant one. He would toss two scoreless innings before Mota finished the game with a scoreless inning of his own to seal the victory. The only worry now is the Brewers inability to understand the strike zone as they were only able to walk once against some pitchers who struggle with command.
Game Changing Play:
In the top of the fourth inning, Manny Parra walked the eight and nine hitters with one out, bringing up Brandon Backe and Michael Bourn. Backe, who swings the bat very well, and Bourn both struck out, ending the threat and saving Parra from having to face the big bats with runners on.
Predictions and Notes:
I didn't make any predictions this game so I can't be right or wrong, but I can say that it was nice to finally have the roof open. It's a hell of a lot nicer in that place when the air circulates, and the ball carries. The Brewers looked good through and through for once. That's the first time I've said that all year. The biggest question is whether they can continue to do it. Watch out for Lance Berkman tonight against Ben Sheets who is 14/42 in his career against Sheets.
Who's on Tap?:
As I just said, Ben Sheets takes the mound today, trying to follow up his last two quality outings with a solid showing at his home park. The Astros counter with Brian Moehler, whom the Brewers have yet to see this year, though they did get to see him last year in a relief role. He gave up three runs in 6.1 innings during those appearances, and all three of those runs were a result of his in inability to throw strikes. Brewers win game two and start to get hot in a 5-4 victory tonight.