Brewers 7, Astros 6
Clemens tied a season high by allowing three homers and the Brewers stopped a four-game losing streak by beating the Astros 7-6 Friday night on Wes Helms’ ninth-inning sacrifice fly.
“I was grinding. That’s the word we use right now,” Clemens said. “We’re all grinding. We just have to fight and scratch for everything.”
Clemens, who didn’t get a decision, left trailing 5-0 after allowing five runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Scott Podsednik broke the Brewers’ 25-inning scoreless streak with a home run on the second pitch of the game. Keith Ginter then homered leading off the sixth, Geoff Jenkins singled, Lyle Overbay walked and Ben Grieve homered for a 5-0 lead.
Clemens walked one and struck out seven, raising his career total to 4,232. He remains stuck at 321 wins, two behind Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton for 12th place on the career list. He also hit a bloop single in the third, his sixth hit of the season. But he was picked off at first by Chris Capuano, drawing groans from the crowd.
Milwaukee, which scored its most runs since the All-Star break, had been shut out in consecutive games by St. Louis and held to only 14 runs in its previous eight games.
“It just goes to show that any day you can break out of a slump,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “We go up there against a Hall of Famer (Clemens) and score five runs. That’s just how fast you can break out of a slump.”
With the score 6-all, Overbay doubled off Brad Lidge (2-5) to start the ninth, took third on Grieve’s groundout and came around on Helms’ flyout to deep center.
“That just shows how tough we can be as a team to come back,” Kolb said. “This will be a momentum builder … it would have been a tough blow to lose after the way we battled back.”
Milwaukee (48-47) managed to stay in fourth place in the NL Central, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Astros (47-49). Houston has lost 11 of 16, falling to 3-5 since Phil Garner replaced Jimy Williams as manager during the All-Star break.
“It’s tough to lose a game like that right now, especially the way we lost it,” Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell said. “At this point in the season, this is a very difficult loss.”
Houston had closed to 5-4 against Capuano in the sixth on RBI singles by Jeff Kent and pinch-hitter Mike Lamb around a two-run single by pinch-hitter Jose Vizcaino. Dave Burba relieved and quickly ended the inning by striking out Craig Biggio and retiring Adam Everett on a flyout.
Overbay’s run-scoring single against Kirk Bullinger made it 6-4 in the seventh, but Houston tied the score in the bottom half when Jeff Bagwell hit an RBI double with two outs and scored on Morgan Ensberg’s single.
But it wasn’t enough. Even against the NL’s second-worst offense.
“I threw everything at them but the kitchen sink,” Garner said. “I thought everybody fought very hard. This was a team we wanted to beat because they’re right ahead of us.”
Grieve, 0-for-11 coming in, was 2-for-3 with a homer and a double. … Podsednik’s leadoff homer was his fourth of the season and fifth of his career, moving him into a fourth-place tie with Fernando Vina on the franchise list. … Astros CF Carlos Beltran made a great sliding catch on Overbay’s drive to right-center in the fourth.