Brewers 5, Astros 2
W: Randy Wolf (8-9)
L: Brett Myers (8-7)
S: Trevor Hoffman (6)
HR: Rickie Weeks (23, the hard way), George Kottaras (9, the easy way)
Fangraphs aren't up yet, so I'll make this next part up:
MVP: Prince Fielder. Although Wolf, the Hoff, Weeks, and Kottaras deserve the ink, Prince is the MVP for knocking in 2 more runners, giving him 11 in the last 5 games.
LVP: Jim Edmonds: 0-4, 2 Ks, 3 LOB, plus his late jump cost Wolf a shutout through 7 innings.
Win Expectancy Graph and Star of the Game Voting
Wow. You can't top Friday night's game for great baseball drama, but the Cream City Crushers gave it a try anyway: from the Brewers' first at-bat until the last out in the 9th, this was an exciting win through and through. Roll that beautiful bean footage!
* Rickie's inside-the-parker. They say you always remember your 23rd of the season, and that's just as true tonight. In the home team's first at-bat, Rickie took Brett Myers to the wall in left center field. Thanks to a curiously timed leap by ex-Brewer centerfielder Jason Bourgeois and the ABSOLUTE LACK OF ANY HUSTLE by ex-Brewer leftfielder Carlos Lee, Weeks turned what looked like a home run off the bat into, well, a home run. Although he looked pretty gassed rounding third, there was no real play at the plate.
* This was the first Brewers inside-the-park home run since 2008, plus the first leadoff ITPHR in all of baseball in almost a year. This leadoff home run was the 20th of Rickie's career and the 7th this season, a new team record. The only other Brewer to ever hit a leadoff inside-the-park home run was (anyone?) Tiny Felder in 1989.
* Let's give another shout-out to Carlos Lee. You might recall that in 2006-2007, we made a pretty substantial offer for his services, which he politely turned down. Lee ended up signing a 6-year, $100 million deal with the Astros, and the general consensus around these parts was that there was no way he was going to be living up to that contract toward the end. His first two seasons in Houston, he was lights-out gangbusters. Last season, he had his lowest OPS since 2005, but it was over .800, so we're still good. This season, he is OPSing .690 with 14 HRs, which, quite frankly, isn't very good. (Heck, Chris Narveson is OPSing .697.) And for this output, the Astros are paying $18.5 million in 2010. And then again in 2011. And then again in 2012. So you'd think the least he could do is back-up a fellow outfielder on a ball hit into the gap. He redeemed himself with a couple of nice catches later in the game, but color me unimpressed.
* After scoring twice in the first inning, the Crew repeated the trick in the 6th on four straight singles, including a fancy hit-and-run: Corey takes off for second, Astro second baseman Jeff Keppinger breaks to cover the bag, and Braun hits it to the opposite field, right where Keppinger was standing a moment before. Keppinger looked like he had fallen for the "hey-you-have-a-spot-on-your-shirt" face flick gag. Cue the sad trombone!
* Randy Wolf made a dandy of a play with one out in the sixth. With a runner on first, Angel Sanchez dropped a beautiful bunt to the left of and past the pitcher's mound. In front of Casey McGehee, Wolf picked it up, facing the wrong direction (of course); while twisting and falling at the same time, he fired to first, on target, to get Sanchez. It was a big out, too, as the Astros' next two batters each doubled, cutting the Brewers lead to 4-2.
* George Kottaras' 9th home run in the seventh inning made the score 5-2. For the sake of comparison, Kottaras has 9 home runs and an OPS of .736. Carlos Lee has 14 home runs and an OPS of .690. He's also making $18 million more this season than Kottaras is. The home run was off of ex-Brewer Nelson Figueroa.
* Speaking of outfielders I'd rather have on my team than Carlos Lee, we had a Lorenzo Cain sighting. In the 8th inning, Cain pinch hit for Todd Coffey and laced a double to the wall in left field. That might have been the hardest hit ball of the night.
* In the 9th, the Miller Park crowd was treated to Hell's Bells, as Trevor Hoffman was called on for the save. Hoffman retired the top of the Astros lineup in order to pick up save #6, and his first since May 7th. It was also #597 of his career. I have no doubt that Macha wants Hoffman to reach save #600 this season, and at home.
NOTES: Coffey, Hoffman, and Loe each pitched in last night's game as well; weird that Hoffman got the call and not the Ax, who hadn't pitched since Tuesday. Perhaps Macha will keep putting those three out there as long as we keep winning....Wolf's line (6 2/3, 2 ER) could have been better: he was one out away from pitching 7 scoreless innings. Having said that, he gave up a LOT of hits and was pitching with men on base all night. Of the 9 hits, though, only one was for extra bases, the RBI double by Pence, and Wolf only gave up one walk...Tonight's win was Ken Macha's 500th in his career...Corey Hart had three hits....The Cubs lost again, dropping 4 out of 5, and are now in 5th place in the division [snicker].
TOMORROW'S GAME: Since being swept by Houston, the Brewers have won 4 out of 5, and now have a chance to return the favor. Gallardo pitches tomorrow against "W. Wright." (Really? There's an Astro named W. Wright? Perhaps Orville will be in attendance.) Game time 1:10 on FSWI.
Brewers 5, Astros 2