WP: Brendan McCurry (3-0); LP: Josh Hader (0-1); Save: Ken Giles (1); Home runs: Mil - none; Hou - Kyle Tucker (5)
The Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros played tonight’s exhibition more or less to win, and the Astros showed why they are the defending champions of baseball. One game doesn’t mean all that much (especially an exhibition), but the Astros got very good pitching and roughed up one of the Brewers’ best pitchers to come out with a 5-2 win.
Milwaukee gathered just five hits tonight. They took a 2-0 lead in the third inning on a two run double from Christian Yelich. Three of the Crew’s five hits came in that third off of Astros’ starter Lance McCullers. McCullers worked three innings.
Brent Suter started for MIlwaukee and worked five effective innings. An RBI groundout by George Springer in the bottom of the fourth was the only run he allowed. In all he gave up five hits, the one run. with no walks and seven strikeouts. He also had a pick-off of AL MVP Jose Altuve in the first inning.
The Astros took the lead in the seventh off of previously unhittable Josh Hader. Hader gave up two lead off singles before getting a popout and a strikeout. After a walk, he was replaced by non-roster pitcher Quintin Torres-Costa. Torres-Costa promptly allowed a grand slam to Kyle Tucker to jump the Astros to a 5-2 lead, which they held for the rest of the game.
Jeremy Jeffress worked a scoreless sixth, and Corey Knebel had a perfect eighth with two strikeouts. It was Knebel’s best outing of the preseason.
Orlando Arcia had two of the Brewers’ five hits, and Ji-Man Choi bumped his spring average to .411 with and OPS of 1.257. Eric Thames spring sits at .176 and a .577 OPS.
Milwaukee’s final exhibition game of the spring is tomorrow afternoon, and the Brewers will send out Zach Davies for his final tune-up before pitching the home opener next Monday, April 2nd. Houston will send veteran Charlie Morton to the hill. The regular season begins Thursday in San Diego.