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Milwaukee (16-15)1113000000006131
Houston (16-16) «0110200020028130

Pence delivers winning HR in 12th, Astros edge Brewers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Houston Astros manager Cecil Cooper was completely optimistic when Hunter Pence, 0-for-5 to that point, went to the plate in the bottom of the 12th with the game tied at 6.

"I said to (bench coach) Jackie Moore, you know Hunter's 0-for-5 here. He's not getting out a sixth time," Cooper said.

Pence proved his manager right with a two-run homer to lead the Houston Astros to an 8-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

"It was time. I thought that was the perfect spot for him," Cooper said. "It was beautiful."

The home run to left field by Pence, in his second season, scored Lance Berkman and completed Houston's comeback for its third straight win. The Astros trailed by as many as four.

Mitch Stetter (1-1) gave up Pence's homer, his fourth of the season.

Pence seemed a bit surprised when told of Cooper's prediction.

"I didn't really think of it that way," he said. "You can't worry about your last at-bat. The only one I was worried about was that at-bat and just going up there and trying to find a way to get a hit."

Berkman had four RBIs and tied his career high with four hits, including a homer and a pair of doubles.

With two outs in the 12th, Houston's Tim Byrdak (1-0) loaded the bases with walks but left fielder Darin Erstad caught J.J. Hardy's pop fly for the final out.

"We had our chances, but we needed to get big hits late in the game," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "We had runners in scoring position, we just never got those big hits."

Houston trailed by 2 entering the ninth and got singles from Erstad and Geoff Blum off closer Eric Gagne before Michael Bourn walked. Erstad scored on a groundout by Kaz Matsui to make it 6-5.

Miguel Tejada walked to load the bases before Gagne walked Berkman to tie it at 6. Carlos Lee grounded out to send it to the 10th.

"I put myself in positions I shouldn't have been in," Gagne said. "We played a really good game and I came in and messed it up."

Jose Valverde pitched a perfect 10th for Houston and Salomon Torres did the same for Milwaukee. Both allowed a single in the 11th, but neither gave up a run to send it to the 12th.

Ben Sheets was denied his fifth win by Gagne's fifth blown save. Sheets was better Sunday than in his last start when he set a career-high with seven walks. He allowed seven hits and four runs. He walked none and had six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

He looks to be past the tightness in his right triceps that forced him to leave two starts ago in Cincinnati.

Sheets got his first hit of the season, a run-scoring double in the second inning that put the Brewers ahead 2-0.

"I felt good," Sheets said.

Lefty Brian Shouse got the last two outs of the seventh inning for Milwaukee and Guillermo Mota pitched a scoreless eighth before Gagne's terrible ninth inning.

Mike Cameron had two home runs and four RBI for Milwaukee. The Astros cut the lead to 2-1 before Cameron led off the third inning with his first homer. Houston got within one again before his 3-run shot to left center field in the fourth inning on reliever Dave Borkowski's third pitch.

The three-time Gold Glove winner is in his first season in Milwaukee and played his sixth game Sunday. He's settling into his role on this offense after completing a 25-game suspension for testing positive twice for a banned stimulant while with San Diego.

Cameron's other homer of the season came on Friday against Houston.

Houston's starting pitcher Chris Sampson didn't fare well, allowing five runs and a season-high nine hits in 3 1/3 innings, but the bullpen kept the Astros in it. After Borkowski gave up the homer to Cameron, Houston relievers Geoff Geary, Wesley Wright and Doug Brocail combined for four scoreless innings.

"The bullpen was outstanding today," Cooper said. "They've all really thrown the ball well. The big boy Valverde stepped up a little bit. I think he had some of his best stuff today."

Lance Berkman hit his 10th home run of the season to right field in the second inning for Houston's first score of the game. His double in the third inning scored Matsui and made it 3-2.

Matsui and Berkman both had RBI-doubles in the fifth inning to cut Milwaukee's lead to 6-4.

With two outs in the eighth inning, both Berkman and Matsui ran to catch a foul ball from Prince Fielder. As they both held their gloves out into the first row of the stands a boy did the same and the ball dropped into his glove, drawing a confused look from Matsui.

Houston got out of the inning when Brocail caught a fly from Fielder.

Notes

  • Jose Cruz Jr. broke a 0-for-22 hitting slump with a single in the fifth inning, but was thrown out at second after a single by Bourn.
  • Tejada extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single in the eighth inning. ... Sheets needs just one strikeout to tie Teddy Higuera for the franchise record for career strikeouts of 1,081.
 
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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It's a feel-good moment for Hunter Pence (left), who provides a walk-off HR in the 12th.  (AP)
It's a feel-good moment for Hunter Pence (left), who provides a walk-off HR in the 12th. (AP)

Players of the Game
Houston

H. Pence
AB 6
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Milwaukee

M. Cameron
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 4
 
Milwaukee Brewers
Rickie Weeks, 2B5210112 .197
Mike Cameron, CF5224111 .269
Ryan Braun, LF5000132 .268
Prince Fielder, 1B5020102 .257
Corey Hart, RF6021011 .310
Bill Hall, 3B5110122 .224
Craig Counsell, SS5010003 .261
    Salomon Torres, P0000000 .000
   a- Joe Dillon, PH0000100 .200
    Mitch Stetter, P0000000 .000
Ben Sheets, P3011011 .071
    Brian Shouse, P0000000 .000
   b- Gabe Kapler, PH1000010 .291
    Guillermo Mota, P0000000 .000
    Eric Gagne, P0000000 .000
    J.J. Hardy, SS2010003 .233
Jason Kendall, C5120003 .287
Totals476136610  
a-walked for Torres in the 12th
b-struck out for Shouse in the 8th
Batting
2B - Bill Hall (6, Sampson), Craig Counsell (4, Borkowski), Ben Sheets (1, Sampson), Jason Kendall 2 (10, Sampson, Sampson)
HR - Mike Cameron 2 (3, Sampson, Borkowski)
RBI - Mike Cameron 4 (7), Corey Hart (14), Ben Sheets (2)
2-OUT RBI - Corey Hart (4)
SB - Rickie Weeks (6, 2nd base off Valverde/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Corey Hart 1
E - Ben Sheets (1, Misplayed grounder)
Milwaukee Brewers
Ben Sheets 6.1744061 2.29
Brian Shouse (H,5) 0.2000000 3.48
Guillermo Mota (H,5) 1100010 2.40
Eric Gagne (BS,5) 1222300 6.14
Salomon Torres 2100020 2.95
Mitch Stetter (L,1-1) 0.1222011 2.08
Pitches-Strikes - Ben Sheets 112-78, Brian Shouse 9-6, Guillermo Mota 12-7, Eric Gagne 35-18, Salomon Torres 20-14, Mitch Stetter 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ben Sheets 6-8, Brian Shouse 2-0, Guillermo Mota 1-1, Eric Gagne 2-1, Salomon Torres 1-3
Batters Faced - Ben Sheets 27, Brian Shouse 2, Guillermo Mota 4, Eric Gagne 8, Salomon Torres 7, Mitch Stetter 3
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF5110111 .202
Kazuo Matsui, 2B6222011 .290
Miguel Tejada, SS5010113 .349
Lance Berkman, 1B5244101 .325
Carlos Lee, LF5000016 .263
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
    Tim Byrdak, P1000011 .333
Hunter Pence, RF6112031 .254
Ty Wigginton, 3B5010010 .242
J.R. Towles, C3000000 .176
   a- Darin Erstad, PH-LF2110000 .304
Chris Sampson, P1000012 .100
    Dave Borkowski, P0000000 .000
   b- Jose Cruz Jr., PH1010000 .091
    Geoff Geary, P0000000 .000
   c- Mark Loretta, PH1000000 .211
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
    Doug Brocail, P0000000 .000
   d- Geoff Blum, PH1110000 .216
    Brad Ausmus, C1000000 .206
Totals488138310  
a-singled for Towles in the 9th
b-singled for Borkowski in the 5th
c-grounded out for Geary in the 7th
d-singled for Brocail in the 9th
Batting
2B - Kazuo Matsui 2 (4, Sheets, Sheets), Lance Berkman 2 (11, Sheets, Sheets), Ty Wigginton (1, Sheets)
HR - Lance Berkman (10, Sheets), Hunter Pence (4, Stetter)
RBI - Kazuo Matsui 2 (10), Lance Berkman 4 (31), Hunter Pence 2 (16)
2-OUT RBI - Lance Berkman 3 (15)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Carlos Lee 2
Houston Astros
Chris Sampson 3.1955231 7.96
Dave Borkowski 1.2311001 4.40
Geoff Geary 2000020 1.93
Wesley Wright 1000010 3.27
Doug Brocail 1000120 2.55
Jose Valverde 2100020 5.29
Tim Byrdak (W,1-0) 1000300 0.00
IBB - Hall by Tim Byrdak
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Sampson 88-51, Dave Borkowski 32-23, Geoff Geary 29-18, Wesley Wright 10-6, Doug Brocail 20-13, Jose Valverde 28-22, Tim Byrdak 30-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Sampson 4-1, Dave Borkowski 4-1, Jose Valverde 2-2, Tim Byrdak 1-2
Batters Faced - Chris Sampson 19, Dave Borkowski 8, Geoff Geary 6, Wesley Wright 3, Doug Brocail 4, Jose Valverde 7, Tim Byrdak 6
Game Information
Attendance - 38301
Game Time - 4:24
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Jim Wolf, Second Base - Ed Montague, Third Base - Jerry Layne