Ambriz upset at himself
The big news of the day for Astros fans was the signing of Mark Appel, the first overall pick in the 2013 draft.
It was also the good news. The Astros wasted an outstanding pitching performance from starter Erik Bedard to lose 3-1 to the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park. The rubber game of the three-game series is Thursday afternoon.
Jose Altuve had three hits, scored, and had three stolen bases. But the Astros could manage only one run, on a first-inning sacrifice fly, a day after scoring 10 runs.
The way Erik Bedard was pitching, he deserved a win. When Bedard departed in the eighth inning, the Astros led 1-0 with one out in the inning and a runner at second. At least Bedard didn’t get the loss. In 7.1 innings, the left-hander allowed one run and four hits with eight strikeouts and two walks.
In his previous start Bedard allowed only an unearned run in six innings in the Astros’ 2-1 win over the White Sox.
Kyle Lohse also pitched well enough to win for Milwaukee. But he didn’t get the win either. The right-hander allowed only one run and six hits in six innings. The run allowed was on a sacrifice fly. He struck out five and walked two.
It wasn’t Hector Ambriz’s night. The first batter he faced in the eighth inning, with Houston leading 1-0, was Rickie Weeks. Ambriz (1-4) didn’t fare well with Weeks. Weeks’ two-run homer run to left field gave the Brewers a 2-1 lead. In the ninth Ambriz gave up a solo home run to Aramis Ramirez.
John Axford (3-3) pitched a scoreless seventh inning to get the win.
AT THE PLATE
Altuve was a bright spot with three hits and a run. Ronny Cedeno had two hits. The Astros scored in the first inning on J.D. Martinez’s sacrifice fly that scored Altuve.
Weeks’ two-run home run in the eighth inning was the game-changer.
Ramirez, who has killed Astros pitching his entire career, was 0-for-7 in the series before hitting his fourth home run of the season.
IN THE FIELD
Justin Maxwell looks right at home in right field after playing the majority of his games with Houston in center field. Maxwell made a nice running catch on the warning track in right-center look routine.
Shortstop Cedeno started a double play in the third inning.
Milwaukee right fielder Logan Schafer held Cedeno to a single in the seventh inning. Cedeno hit the ball down the right-field line, and he must have been thinking two bases. But Schafer made a slide to get to the ball, got up quickly, and just as quickly threw the ball to second, holding Cedeno at first.
ON THE BASES
Altuve’s three stolen bases give him 16 on the season. Altuve, who led off the sixth inning with a single, stole second base and third base but was stranded at third.
Altuve was by far the most successful of the Astros runners. Cedeno was ruled out at first base on a pick-off throw from catcher Martin Maldonado to end the fifth inning. Castro was caught stealing second base to end the eighth inning with the Astros down 2-1.
Thursday is the finale of the three-game home series with Milwaukee and concludes a seven-game homestand. The matchups for the 1:10 p.m. start are RHP Lucas Harrell (5-7, 4.48 ERA) for Houston vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (6-6, 4.41 ERA).
In Harrell’s last outing he limited the White Sox to three runs in 6 2/3 innings in picking up the win. Harrell is 2-1 with a 2.39 ERA over his last four starts.
The Astros start a three-game series in Chicago with the Cubs starting on Friday.