Ambriz knows he has to bounce back
Being a reliever is a lot like being a field-goal kicker in the NFL. If you make a mistake, you stand out.
Hector Ambriz has had many good appearances this season for the Astros. Wednesday wasn’t one of them.
Ambriz gave up homers to Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez in the final two innings and the Brewers rallied for a 3-1 win at Minute Maid Park.
“It’s the life of a reliever,” said Ambriz (1-4), who was tagged for the loss. Ambriz couldn’t protect a 1-0 lead that would have made a winner out of Erik Bedard, who went a season –high 7 1/3 innings and tied a season-high with eight strikeouts.
The Astros’ only run came in the first inning when J.D. Martinez’s sacrifice fly scored Jose Altuve, who had three of the Astros’ 10 hits and had three stolen bases.
Bedard left with one out in the eighth inning, a runner at second base and Houston ahead 1-0. Weeks was the first batter Ambriz faced. On a 1-2 count, Weeks hit Ambriz’s slider to left field, giving the Brewers a 2-1 advantage.
“I just hung it,” said Ambriz. “He did what he was supposed to do.”
Ramirez, who has terrorized Houston pitching for years no matter what club he plays for, was 0-for-7 in the series before homering to left field in the ninth inning on a curveball.
“Again, I didn’t execute the pitch,” said Ambriz.
Ramirez’s homer was his 23rd at Minute Maid Park, the second most at the ballpark just behind Albert Pujols, who has 24. Ramirez is hitting .343 (79-for-230) against Houston since 2009.
Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse allowed only one run and six hits in six hits but got a no-decision. John Axford (3-3) pitched a scoreless seventh inning to get the win and Francisco Rodriguez earned the save with a scoreless ninth.
Altuve singled in each of his first three at-bats and his three steals give him 16 on the season. He has seven steals in his last seven games.
Bedard allowed only four hits and was charged with one run. The left-hander has held opponents to two runs or fewer in seven of his eight starts since rejoining the rotation.
“Bedard was outstanding,” said Astros manager Bo Porter. “He gave us everything he had too. And he went back out to start the eighth with the notion that we were going to take him to Weeks. And he did a tremendous job. (He) pitched well enough to win. Unfortunately we were not able to hold on the lead.”
Despite the loss the Astros are 5-2 in their last seven games and 17-16 since May 15.
“As long as we keep playing well and as long as we keep being competitive we’ll be OK,” said Chris Carter.