Friday, April 8, 2016

Slide rule ends game amid rally as Brewers win

Ryan Braun and Chris Carter each hit two-run home runs and Chase Anderson won his Brewers debut in Milwaukee's tense, 6-4 victory over Houston on Friday at Miller Park.
For the second time this week, a game ended on the so-called "Chase Utley rule." Entering the top of the ninth down six, the Astros scored four runs and had runners at first and second with one out when Jose Altuve hit a grounder to second base. Colby Rasmus slid into Brewers shortstop Jonathan Villar on the force play, and second base umpire Dan Bellino immediately signalled for a double play, ending the game.
Scooter Gennett and Carter each went deep against Astros starter Scott Feldman in the Brewers' three-run first inning, and Domingo Santana added an RBI double in the second to stake Anderson to a quick 4-0 lead. The right-hander, acquired in a January trade with the D-backs, scattered four hits and struck out five batters without a walk in five scoreless innings before Brewers manager Craig Counsell made an early call to his well-stocked bullpen after 85 Anderson pitches.
Feldman was charged with four earned runs on five hits in four innings in the loss. He yielded to the Major League debut of reliever Chris Devenski, who surrendered only one hit and did not walk a batter while striking out four in three scoreless innings.
Gomey being Gomey: Anderson pitched with a runner on base in four of his five innings including the fourth, when Gomez lined a two-out double. Each time, Anderson escaped, getting some help from Gomez in that fourth inning when the animated outfielder was picked off second base. The scoring on the play went 1-5-4-1-5-6-7, with Brewers left fielder Braun finally applying the tag.
White sets record: Astros rookie first baseman Tyler White just keeps on hitting. White doubled and had an infield single in his first two at-bats on Friday, breaking Ken Caminiti's club record for most hits in an Astro's first four career games, set in 1987. White went 3-for-4 and is 9-for-13 for the season, officially setting the record at nine hits.
Big flies: Gennett took the team lead for homers when he swatted his second dinger of the season in the first inning, but he soon had company atop the Brewers' leaderboard. Carter followed three batters later with his second homer, a two-run shot that would have counted for more had Braun not been thrown out trying to steal third base moments earlier. Carter leads the Brewers with five RBIs in the early going.
Astros starters struggling: Since reigning Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel beat the Yankees on Opening Day, Astros starting pitchers have struggled. Collin McHughMike Fiers and Scott Feldman have gone a combined 9 1/3 innings and allowed 14 earned runs and 17 hits, with none of them pitching past the fifth inning.
Gennett isn't just hitting home runs, he's walking at a rate well above his career norm. His walk in the eighth inning gave Gennett four walks in as many games this season, matching his total from his first 34 games in 2015, when he didn't draw free pass No. 4 until June 24.
Astros: Veteran right-hander Doug Fister will be making his first start for the Astros when they face the Brewers at 6:10 p.m. CT Saturday at Miller Park. He spent the last two seasons with the Nationals and has posted a 3.42 ERA over the past five seasons with Washington, Detroit and Seattle.
Brewers: After a shaky performance on Opening Day, Wily Peralta said he was eager for a more routine workday on Saturday, when he faces old friend Carlos Gomez and the Astros. Peralta was charged with five runs (four earned) on six hits in four innings against the Giants on Opening Day, but he said he has not felt this strong on the mound in a year and a half.

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