Milwaukee at Houston

W: R. Ortiz (2-0) L: M. Parra (0-4)
S: J. Valverde (2)
HR: MIL - None   HOU - I. Rodriguez (2)

Pudge's home run in fourth the difference for Houston wire reports

HOUSTON -- Ivan Rodriguez is doing his best to help his manager relax.

Rodriguez hit a tiebreaking home run in the fourth inning, and the Houston Astros snapped the Milwaukee Brewers' four-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory Sunday.

Rodriguez helped the Astros end a three-game skid with a full-count drive over the left-field wall off Manny Parra (0-4). It was Rodriguez's second home run of the season.

It's performances like this that will get Astros manager Cecil Cooper out of his bad mood, caused by a 4-6 home stand and a frustrating 9-8 loss to the Brewers in 11 innings on Saturday night.

"I was on edge all day today from yesterday," Cooper said. "That's the way it is sometimes when you go through tough periods. You have a short fuse, you are ready to explode. I told my coaches today, you can relax but I'm on edge and I'll stay that way until we get this fixed."

Cooper and Rodriguez both were ejected Saturday following a home plate argument. They stayed the whole game Sunday and Cooper liked his catcher on offense and defense.

"He's been throwing the ball pretty well, he's hitting well, starting to settle in," Cooper said. "There's a lot he hasn't seen over here before he's got to call the game and get used to the guys he's catching and the hitters. He's got a big job and he's settling in."

Rodriguez, a 14-time American League All-Star, says he's taking it all in stride. He threw out two runners on Sunday.

"That's my game, to be honest," Rodriguez said. "As long as my defense stays there, calling good games, blocking balls and trying to throw guys out -- that's my job. I focus more with defense. Everything right now is doing great. Catching I'm doing great and the next thing is hitting, stay healthy and play hard."

Russ Ortiz (2-0) pitched five innings for the Astros and improved his record at Minute Maid Park to 6-0. He allowed four hits, two earned runs with four walks and three strikeouts.

"I hate the fact I'm only going five innings," Ortiz said. "We needed me to go longer today to give the bullpen some rest. It was a long night last night and this homestand, they've gotten a lot of work, so I was upset with myself that I only went five. But we got a win and that's the most important thing."

Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his second save in four opportunities. He struck out Ryan Braun looking and got Prince Fielder to ground out for the final two outs.

Trailing 1-0, the Astros rallied for two runs off Parra in the third inning after there were two outs. Lance Berkman lined a drive off second baseman Rickie Weeks' glove for an error, scoring Ortiz, and Carlos Lee followed with a run-scoring single. Jason Kendall had an RBI single to tie it in the fourth for the Brewers.

Parra had to praise Rodriguez's home run.

"I threw three really good pitches to him during that at-bat, right where I wanted them to," Parra said. "But he waited me out and I made one mistake over the middle and he got it and hit it out."

Milwaukee, trying for its first sweep of the season, got an early 1-0 lead. Fielder walked to start the second inning and Mike Cameron drove him home with a double into the left-field corner.

"Overall, I thought we had a really good road trip," Milawukee manager Ken Macha said. "After losing two of three at Philadelphia, where this team has historically struggled, it was good to get over .500. The team played really well at home last year, but we had a tough one [homestand] to start the season this year. It will be nice to go home."

It could have been worse for Ortiz. He allowed Cameron to reach third with a wild pickoff throw into center field and after Brad Nelson flied out and Bill Hall popped out, Ortiz hit Jason Kendall with a pitch. He then struck out Parra for the third out.

Both teams activated key pitchers from the injury list.

The Brewers reinstated but did not use closer Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman signed as a free agent in January but started the season on the disabled list with a strained right oblique.

Houston activated Doug Brocail before this game following his recovery from a rotator cuff strain. Brocail pitched the seventh inning and allowed one hit, two walks and struck out two.

"We had a couple of chances today," Macha said. "We had two on and nobody out in the seventh and the middle of the order up. Those guys have been the three hottest hitters, but they are not going to get it done every day."


  • Braun is hitting .565 (13-for-23) over the past six games, including his 4-for-6 performance Saturday night. He was 0-for-4 on Sunday.
  • The Astros activated RHP Jeff Fulchino to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Brocail on the roster.
  • RHP Brandon Backe will begin a rehab assignment Monday at Round Rock. He is recovering from a strained left rib muscle. Backe started the season on the DL and has been eligible to return since April 11.
Copyright 2017 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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Houston's Ivan Rodriguez slams a solo home run in the fourth inning to break a 2-2 tie.  (AP)
Houston's Ivan Rodriguez slams a solo home run in the fourth inning to break a 2-2 tie. (AP)

Players of the Game

I. Rodriguez
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

M. Cameron
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0

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February 3, 2017
NL Central Preview: Milwaukee Brewers (2:24)
Milwaukee Brewers
Rickie Weeks, 2B3010210 .264
Craig Counsell, SS4010000 .250
Ryan Braun, LF4000113 .338
Prince Fielder, 1B3100213 .222
Mike Cameron, CF3121102 .328
Brad Nelson, RF4000015 .000
Bill Hall, 3B3010101 .281
Jason Kendall, C3021000 .184
Manny Parra, P2000024 .000
   a- J.J. Hardy, PH1000001 .175
    Seth McClung, P0000000 .000
   b- Corey Hart, PH1000011 .284
    Mark DiFelice, P0000000 .000
    Mitch Stetter, P0000000 .000
a-grounded out for Parra in the 6th
b-struck out for McClung in the 8th
2B - Mike Cameron 2 (7, Ortiz, Ortiz)
SH - Craig Counsell (1)
RBI - Mike Cameron (10), Jason Kendall (6)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Kendall (1)
CS - Rickie Weeks (1, 2nd base by Ortiz/Rodriguez), Jason Kendall (1, 2nd base by Hawkins/Rodriguez)
Team LOB - 11
E - Jason Kendall (3, Throwing), Rickie Weeks (4, Dropped line drive)
Milwaukee Brewers
Manny Parra (L,0-4) 5531341 6.52
Seth McClung 2100100 4.09
Mark DiFelice 0.2100010 0.90
Mitch Stetter 0.1000000 3.38
Pitches-Strikes - Manny Parra 97-55, Seth McClung 35-21, Mark DiFelice 12-8, Mitch Stetter 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Manny Parra 8-4, Seth McClung 2-4
Batters Faced - Manny Parra 24, Seth McClung 8, Mark DiFelice 3, Mitch Stetter 1
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF3110102 .293
Jeff Keppinger, 2B4010016 .407
Lance Berkman, 1B4000011 .167
Carlos Lee, LF3011101 .269
    LaTroy Hawkins, P0000000 .000
    Jose Valverde, P0000000 .000
Miguel Tejada, SS4000003 .303
Hunter Pence, RF3010111 .299
Ivan Rodriguez, C4111011 .230
Geoff Blum, 3B4020011 .333
Russ Ortiz, P1100100 .167
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
    Chris Sampson, P0000000 .000
   a- Jason Smith, PH1000001 .000
    Doug Brocail, P0000000 .000
    Darin Erstad, LF1000001 .158
a-flied out for Sampson in the 6th
2B - Jeff Keppinger (3, Parra)
HR - Ivan Rodriguez (2, Parra)
RBI - Carlos Lee (15), Ivan Rodriguez (7)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Lee (3)
CS - Hunter Pence (1, 2nd base by Parra/Kendall)
Team LOB - 9
E - Russ Ortiz (1, Throwing)
Houston Astros
Russ Ortiz (W,2-0) 5422430 5.30
Wesley Wright (H,2) 0.2100000 6.00
Chris Sampson (H,3) 0.1000000 1.59
Doug Brocail (H,1) 1100220 5.40
LaTroy Hawkins (H,3) 1100010 3.60
Jose Valverde (S,2) 1000110 5.63
HBP - Kendall (by Russ Ortiz)
Pitches-Strikes - Russ Ortiz 96-50, Wesley Wright 14-8, Chris Sampson 3-3, Doug Brocail 29-16, LaTroy Hawkins 11-7, Jose Valverde 18-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Russ Ortiz 5-6, Wesley Wright 2-0, Chris Sampson 1-0, LaTroy Hawkins 1-0, Jose Valverde 2-0
Batters Faced - Russ Ortiz 23, Wesley Wright 3, Chris Sampson 1, Doug Brocail 6, LaTroy Hawkins 3, Jose Valverde 4
Game Information
Attendance - 27690
Game Time - 3:26
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Chris Tiller, First Base - Dale Scott, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Mike DiMuro