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Adrian Houser hurls strong start as Brewers hold down Rangers, 3-2

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He got sick on the mound again.

Texas Rangers v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Box Score

The first time Adrian Houser got sick on the mound at Miller Park, he at least had the excuse of a long travel day after getting called up from Triple-A. This time, Craig Counsell tried to pin Houser’s first-inning ralphing incident on him getting too amped up for the start of the game and having it “all [come] out at once.” Whatever happened, I think Houser is just...the guy that pukes, now.

Houser got the start for Milwaukee in the middle game of the series with Texas, and he punched out Shin-Soo Choo and Danny Santana to start the game. But number three hitter Elvis Andrus hit a dribbler back to the mound that Houser kicked away towards third base, allowing the speedy Andrus to reach safely. Houser was charged with an error on the play, and then walked to the back of the mound and lost his lunch.

What Adrian was able to pull off after that, though, is what some might refer to as a “puke and rally.” He set down the Rangers in order in the second, third, and fourth innings, not allowing his the visitors to record their first hit until a fifth-inning single by Logan Forsythe. The Rangers got him for a solo home run by Santana in the sixth inning, but that would be the only damage against Houser on the day. He threw 96 pitches across six complete innings, walking one while striking out 10 batters. Perhaps this impressive outing will be the start of Houser turning the corner as a starter? Boy, would that be nice for this squad.

Milwaukee scored their runs early on, putting single tallies on the scoreboard in the first, third, and fourth innings. Trent Grisham, batting leadoff, recorded one of his three hits on the day to start things off in the bottom of the first inning. Yasmani Grandal walked, and then after a pair of outs, opposing starter Pedro Payano plunked Ryan Braun to load the bases. With Eric Thames at the plate, Payano uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Grisham to dash home and score the game’s first run. He then retired Thames on a fly out to avoid further damage. In the third inning, Keston Hiura hit his 14th big league home run and 33rd homer overall in 101 games in 2019 (including Triple-A) to make it 2-0. The Crew scored their final run on a rally in the fourth inning that started with another Grisham base hit, this time with one out. Grandal and Mike Moustakas both followed with singles of their own, the last of which scored Grisham to make it 3-0.

Junior Guerra was the first man out of the bullpen in this game, throwing a 1-2-3 seventh inning with a punchout and then retiring Delino DeShields to start the eighth. Our Hero lowered his ERA to 3.90 on the year, good for an 87 ERA-. His 62.1 innings ranks second in the National League among relief pitchers, behind only Robert Gsellman of the Mets (63.1 IP). Drew Pomeranz was summoned to face the left-handed hitting Choo after Guerra, but the move back-fired when the veteran took Milwaukee’s big bullpen acquisition deep over the fence in left-center to make it a 3-2 game. Pomeranz then walked Santana on four pitches and Andrus on five, bringing Rougned Odor up to the plate with two on and one out. On a full-count pitch, Pomeranz threw a fasball well above the zone that drew an offering from the free-swinging Odor, and he punched out. At the same time, both runners took off. The catcher Grandal unfurled a strong throw to second base that gunned down Andrus, and just like that, the inning was over. A botched hit-and-run?

Alex Claudio started the ninth inning to face lefty Nomar Mazara, but after the hitter recorded an 0-2 single, Matt Albers was brought in to finish things off. He threw two pitches to induce a ground ball double play from Forsythe, then got Hunter Pence to ground out on a first-pitch slider. Three pitches netted Albers his third save on the season, lowered his ERA to 3.93, and secured the 3-2 triumph.

The win was the fifth in the row for our beloved local nine, improving their record to 62-56. They’ll enter play on Sunday 1.5 games of the Cubs for the lead in the NL Central and still a half-game ahead of the Cardinals and Mets for the hold on the second Wild Card spot. The series finale is set for 1:10 pm Central on Sunday afternoon, with Jordan Lyles scheduled to face off against Texas ace Mike Minor.