Tony Gwynn: Astros’ start could lure Clemens back
HOUSTON (AP)—The suddenly heavy-hitting Houston Astros look nothing like they did at the beginning of last season when their offense was lackluster at the least and often downright dismal.
It was the eighth time this season Houston has scored more than five runs in a game. Through 13 games last season the Astros had achieved the feat just once.
“It’s really strange,” Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg said. “We’re scoring runs and I don’t know what to make of it. We definitely didn’t do this this time last year. It’s just a lot of fun and it’s nice to see.”
Ensberg also had a solo home run in the sixth inning, his third in as many days.
“What’s happening is we’re getting timely hits and we’re doing it from all parts of the lineup,” Astros manager Phil Garner said. “Ensberg and Lane and Craig (Biggio) are all getting big hits and Berkman is hitting better than at any stretch last year. Every time he goes to the plate you think he’s going to do something.”
Berkman is batting .380 with six home runs and 18 RBIs and Ensberg is .409 with four homers, five doubles and 10 RBIs.
Biggio said he thinks a year of experience helped Houston’s offense take off.
“We understand our club so much better this year,” the 40-year-old Biggio said. “Last year we had so many young guys that we didn’t know what they were able to do. It took us a long time to come together.”
Carlos Lee, Geoff Jenkins and Gabe Gross homered for Milwaukee. Gross’ pinch-hit, three-run shot of Chad Qualls in the seventh gave Milwaukee a 6-3 lead. It was Gross’ second pinch-hit homer of the season.
Ezequiel Astacio (1-0), who was recalled from the minors on Friday, faced one batter to get the win.
Wise (1-1) allowed four hits and five runs in one inning.
“I feel like I let everyone down tonight,” Wise said. “We put up a bunch of runs and I just didn’t do my job. This one hurts everybody.”
Brewers manager Ned Yost wanted Wise to pitch two innings.
“It was just one of those days,” Yost said. “He just wasn’t sharp tonight. I was hoping he could go two innings but his fast ball was up and he wasn’t locating his pitches.”
Milwaukee starter David Bush pitched six innings and allowed nine hits and three runs while striking out five for the Brewers.
Jenkins hit a two-run home run to right field to put the Brewers ahead 3-2 in the sixth. It was the third day in a row he had homered, giving him sole possession of fourth place on the Brewers career home run list with 177.
Lee hit his sixth home run of the season to left field off rookie starter Taylor Buchholz in the second inning to give the Brewers an early 1-0 lead.
Buchholz, making his first major league start, allowed two hits, two earned runs, walked three batters and struck out four in six innings.
Buchholz made his first major league start a day after Fernando Nieve made his for Houston. It marks the first time since September 1963 that the franchise has had pitchers make their first major league starts on consecutive days, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … Houston CF Willy Taveras extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single to left field in the fifth. … Lee has hit safely in 11 of his 13 games this season. …CF Preston Wilson struck out five times to set the franchise single-game record and tie