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Brewers suffer another late-inning meltdown, fall to Astros

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio can't quite understand why manager Ned Yost is being blamed for the team's recent slide in the standings.

The grumbling is likely to get louder after the Milwaukee bullpen gave up a three-run lead in the eighth inning on Monday, allowing the Houston Astros to steal a 9-7 victory and end the Brewers' three-game winning streak.

"There seems to be more day-to-day, inning-to-inning commentary on Ned's managing than any team in the major leagues," said Attanasio, who gave Yost a firm vote of confidence during a mid-game session with reporters. "I mean, I get all the New York and Los Angeles papers, they don't do daily commentary on how the manager's managing. ... We're not the only team that's had rough going here."

The Brewers have lost a major league-worst 15 games in which they led by at least three runs.

"We still were in a nice position to win the ballgame and didn't," Yost said. "That's what makes it tough."

Astros rookie Hunter Pence hit a key two-run triple during the rally. But the bullpen wasn't solely responsible for the loss, as a passed ball by catcher Johnny Estrada allowed Pence to score and gave the Astros to take the lead.

"It's hard. It (stinks)," Estrada said. "We can't (give) any more games away, not in September."

But at least it was a happy homecoming for Astros interim manager Cecil Cooper, who took over for fired manager Phil Garner last week. Cooper was a five-time All-Star in 11 seasons with the Brewers.

Cooper said he was "out of steam" after the three-hour, 50-minute game -- but also said it was the most fun he has had so far as a major league manager.

"Those are the kind that build you up, get you excited to come out tomorrow and play," Cooper said.

Houston's Mark Loretta said Cooper's arrival has given the team energy. The Astros are 4-3 since Cooper took over.

"I think he's set a very good tone," Loretta said. "I think we've played very hard since he took over. Not that we weren't playing hard under 'Gar,' but sometimes a change is kind of a wake-up call to the players."

It was the Brewers' bullpen that needed a wake-up call in the eighth. With Milwaukee leading 7-4, Yost brought in setup man Derrick Turnbow. But Turnbow, whose struggles last season cost him his role as Milwaukee's closer, loaded the bases with one out and was removed for left-hander Brian Shouse, who allowed a sacrifice fly to pinch-hitter Craig Biggio to cut the Brewers' lead to two.

Yost then brought in righty Greg Aquino (0-1) to face Pence, a right-handed hitter, and Aquino threw a wild pitch to give the Astros runners on second and third with two outs.

Pence then drove a ball past center fielder Bill Hall for a game-tying triple.

Yost said he was simply playing the logical matchups; Pence hits 61 points higher against lefties.

"We didn't make the pitch," Yost said. "We didn't make the pitches the whole inning."

Dave Borkowski (4-3) got the final two outs in the seventh and took the victory. Chad Qualls retired two batters for his fourth save.

The Brewers put runners on second and third with one out off Astros reliever Brad Lidge in the eighth, but J.J. Hardy popped out to the catcher and pinch-hitter Vinny Rottino hit a hard grounder to Loretta, who threw Rottino out to end the inning.

Loretta's play was the talk of the Astros' clubhouse after the game.

"The situation in the game really makes that play gratifying," Loretta said.

Lance Berkman then homered off Milwaukee reliever Chris Spurling in the ninth, giving Houston a 9-7 lead.

Milwaukee had rallied from a 3-0 deficit earlier in the game, scoring two runs in the fourth and taking the lead in the sixth.

The Brewers' big sixth inning chased Roy Oswalt, who gave up five runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. Oswalt was 6-0 in his previous seven starts, with a 1.00 ERA during that stretch.

Brewers ace Ben Sheets struggled with his control in his second outing since coming off the disabled list last week. He walked a career-high six batters -- including one intentional walk -- and threw 118 pitches in six innings. Sheets gave up only three runs and five hits.

Notes

  • Brewers left fielder Geoff Jenkins brusied his left foot in the fourth inning and was replaced by pinch runner Hall. Jenkins' X-rays were negative and he is day-to-day.
  • Pence was 3-for-4. With his 28th double of the season, Pence tied Berkman and Luis Gonzalez for the club record for most doubles in a season.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Hunter Pence ties the game in the eighth with a clutch, two-run triple to centerfield.  (AP)
Hunter Pence ties the game in the eighth with a clutch, two-run triple to centerfield. (AP)

Players of the Game
Milwaukee

C. Counsell
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
Houston

H. Pence
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
 
Houston Astros
Hunter Pence, CF4232100 .327
Chris Burke, 2B3010100 .222
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
    Josh Anderson, LF0000000 .000
Lance Berkman, 1B4111111 .278
Carlos Lee, LF4110102 .301
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
Mark Loretta, SS-2B5111002 .273
Luke Scott, RF3200220 .252
Ty Wigginton, 3B3110112 .276
Brad Ausmus, C2012110 .231
   a- Mike Lamb, PH0000100 .292
    Brandon Backe, PR0100000 .000
    Eric Bruntlett, SS0000000 .240
Roy Oswalt, P3000003 .138
    Chris Sampson, P0000000 .154
    Dave Borkowski, P0000000 .000
   b- Orlando Palmeiro, PH0000000 .234
   c- Craig Biggio, PH0001000 .253
    Eric Munson, C0000000 .248
Totals3199795  
a-walked for Ausmus in the 8th
b-announced for Borkowski in the 8th
c-hit a sacrifice fly for Palmeiro in the 8th
Batting
2B - Hunter Pence (28, Sheets), Carlos Lee (39, Sheets)
3B - Hunter Pence (8, Aquino), Brad Ausmus (3, Sheets)
HR - Lance Berkman (28, Spurling)
SF - Craig Biggio (4)
SH - Chris Burke (7)
RBI - Hunter Pence 2 (55), Lance Berkman (89), Mark Loretta (33), Brad Ausmus 2 (24), Craig Biggio (47)
2-OUT RBI - Hunter Pence 2 (23), Brad Ausmus 2 (8)
PK - Hunter Pence (2, Sheets)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Hunter Pence 1
DP - Burke-Loretta-Berkman, Wigginton-Burke-Berkman
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt 5.21055230 3.35
Chris Sampson 0.2222200 4.65
Dave Borkowski (W,4-3) 0.2000000 5.05
Brad Lidge (H,7) 1200000 2.97
Trever Miller (H,12) 0.1000000 4.89
Chad Qualls (S,4) 0.2100010 3.11
IBB - Estrada by Roy Oswalt, Fielder by Chris Sampson
WP - Chris Sampson (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 113-0, Chris Sampson 22-0, Dave Borkowski 7-0, Brad Lidge 13-0, Trever Miller 5-0, Chad Qualls 12-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 6-5, Chris Sampson 1-1, Dave Borkowski 1-1, Brad Lidge 2-1
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 26, Chris Sampson 6, Dave Borkowski 2, Brad Lidge 5, Trever Miller 1, Chad Qualls 3
Milwaukee Brewers
Gabe Gross, RF-LF3120100 .254
    Kevin Mench, LF1010000 .273
J.J. Hardy, SS4000004 .277
Ryan Braun, 3B3221100 .332
    Derrick Turnbow, P0000000 .000
    Brian Shouse, P0000000 .000
    Greg Aquino, P0000000 .000
   a- Vinny Rottino, PH1000002 .000
    Chris Spurling, P0000000 .000
Prince Fielder, 1B4010101 .283
Corey Hart, CF-RF5221010 .286
Geoff Jenkins, LF2011000 .262
    Bill Hall, PR-CF2111010 .259
Johnny Estrada, C4120103 .283
Craig Counsell, 2B-3B4023001 .223
Ben Sheets, P2000020 .071
   b- Joe Dillon, PH1000001 .400
    Seth McClung, P0000000 .000
    Scott Linebrink, P0000000 .000
    Rickie Weeks, 2B1010000 .231
Totals37715744  
a-grounded out for Aquino in the 8th
b-flied out for Sheets in the 6th
Batting
2B - Kevin Mench (20, Lidge), Ryan Braun (21, Sampson), Corey Hart (24, Oswalt)
3B - Craig Counsell (2, Oswalt)
SF - Bill Hall (6)
SH - J.J. Hardy (3)
RBI - Ryan Braun (72), Corey Hart (64), Geoff Jenkins (57), Bill Hall (57), Craig Counsell 3 (23)
2-OUT RBI - Geoff Jenkins (14), Craig Counsell 3 (7)
SB - Corey Hart (22, 2nd base off Oswalt/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Braun-Counsell-Fielder, Hardy-Counsell-Fielder
PB - Johnny Estrada (4)
E - Craig Counsell (2, Throwing)
Milwaukee Brewers
Ben Sheets 6533650 3.36
Seth McClung0110100 6.23
Scott Linebrink (H,18) 1000000 3.86
Derrick Turnbow (H,31) 0.1133200 4.30
Brian Shouse (H,19) 0.1000000 2.27
Greg Aquino (BS,2; L,0-1) 0.1110000 5.63
Chris Spurling 1111001 5.01
IBB - Ausmus by Ben Sheets
WP - Ben Sheets (3), Greg Aquino (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Ben Sheets 118-0, Seth McClung 17-0, Scott Linebrink 11-0, Derrick Turnbow 22-0, Brian Shouse 2-0, Greg Aquino 9-0, Chris Spurling 13-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ben Sheets 2-9, Scott Linebrink 2-0, Greg Aquino 1-0, Chris Spurling 2-1
Batters Faced - Ben Sheets 27, Seth McClung 2, Scott Linebrink 2, Derrick Turnbow 4, Brian Shouse 1, Greg Aquino 2, Chris Spurling 4
Game Information
Attendance - 31226
Game Time - 3:50
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Tim McClelland, Third Base - Marty Foster