MILWAUKEE (AP)—Damian Miller went to the plate in the 11th inning with a rather simple goal.
“I was looking not to strike out, basically,” he said.
Miller did a lot better than that.
The backup catcher hit his first homer of the season, a three-run shot that sailed into the Milwaukee bullpen and lifted the Brewers over the Houston Astros 6-3 Wednesday.
“I knew for sure it was probably a double,” he said. “I guess I hit it better than I thought.”
The Brewers finished up an 8-1 homestand, won for the 12th time in 14 games overall and improved the NL’s best record to 46-32.
Houston went 2-7 on its road trip, and was swept by Milwaukee in a three-game series for the first time.
“We’re certainly not playing winning baseball,” Houston manager Phil Garner said. “We’re not finding a way to win a ballgame. On the flip side, we’re finding a way to lose ballgames. It’s very disappointing.”
Miller launched a one-out homer to left-center field that was speared on the fly by Brewers bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel. Miller hit the second game-ending home run of his career, with the other coming in 2000 for Arizona.
“I was due for another one,” Miller said.
Fittingly, it was La Crosse Day at Miller Park. Miller was born in the Wisconsin city located on the Mississippi River in the northwest part of the state.
“I circled it on my calendar to make sure Damian Miller played on La Crosse Day,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said.
With one out in the 11th, Bill Hall doubled off the wall in left-center he stood at the plate for a moment, watching the ball fly, and had to hustle into second. After Geoff Jenkins was intentionally walked, Miller connected off Dave Borkowski (1-3).
“It wasn’t bad luck,” Borkowski said. “I threw bad pitches and lost us the game.”
Dave Bush (6-6) pitched the final two innings in his first relief appearance of the season. He has made 15 starts.
Houston’s Craig Biggio, three hits shy of 3,000, did not start. He pinch-hit in the 11th and popped up a bunt on a sacrifice try.
The Astros put runners on the corners with one out in the 10th but failed to score. Chris Burke pinch-ran for Mark Loretta at third base, but was caught in a rundown on Lance Berkman’s grounder back to Bush.
Milwaukee starter Jeff Suppan gave up three earned runs in six innings. He struck out a season-high seven without a walk.
Houston starter Woody Williams gave up two earned runs and six hits in six innings. Milwaukee took a 3-2 lead in the fifth. Corey Hart extended his career-high hitting streak to 14 games when he led off with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Prince Fielder.
Houston tied it in the sixth when Berkman hit the first pitch for his 11th home run of the season.
Milwaukee took a 2-0 lead in the second on run-scoring doubles by Hall and Miller.
Houston scored in the third on Loretta’s RBI single. The Astros tied it in the fourth when Eric Bruntlett singled through Suppan’s legs to score Berkman.
The Brewers are 4-1 in extra innings, the Astros are 3-6. … Hart is batting .375 (24-64) with six home runs and 16 RBIs during his hitting streak. … Bush won his first career game in a relief appearance. … Milwaukee begins a 10-game road trip starting Friday in Chicago, followed by visits to Pittsburgh and Washington. … The Astros have played 23 of their last 35 games on the road. They return to Houston for a season-high 11-game homestand starting Thursday against Colorado.