CC Sabathia pitches Brewers past Astros
Sabathia improved his perfect record with the Brewers, pitching another complete game in a 9-3 victory over the Houston Astros. He also hit a two-run single in a five-run fourth inning.
“I like to hit, but I think since I’ve been here the more I hit, the worse I’ve been getting,” said Sabathia, who was batting .160 (4-for-25) with the Brewers before Monday.
It’s been quite the opposite on the mound.
Sabathia is 8-0 with a 1.60 ERA and five complete games in nine starts for the Brewers since they acquired him from Cleveland in a July 7 trade. Last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner has won 11 straight decisions overall.
Sabathia struck out nine, walked two and gave up 11 hits in 130 pitches as the Brewers moved 2 1/2 games ahead of idle St. Louis in the wild-card race. They also pulled within five games of the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.
Houston, which had won nine of 11, dropped to 14-4 in August.
“He showed he’s a horse,” Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. “I guess they’re going to hitch their wagon to him and just ride him off into the sunset.”
Randy Wolf (2-1) allowed six earned runs and five hits in four innings, his shortest outing in five starts since joining the Astros on July 22.
The Brewers got a run in the first on Hart’s two-out RBI double and put the game away with five more in the fourth, two on Sabathia’s two-out single.
Milwaukee batted around in the fourth.
Wolf intentionally walked Jason Kendall, bringing up Sabathia, who came into the game hitting .246 in his career with nine RBIs, three this season. On the first pitch, Sabathia lined a base hit between shortstop and third base.
“I was just looking for something out over the plate, trying to put a good swing on it, put it in play,” he said. “He threw me a curveball, and I was able to flip it to left.”
Said Wolf: “I’ve got to tip my cap because it was a slider down and away. It looked at the video 100 times, and I’ll probably see it 100 times when I’m not sleeping tonight. He really helped himself out there. It’s frustrating when something like that happens.”
Durham then doubled home Kendall, as Sabathia narrowly avoided the tag at third with a feet-first slide.
“It felt good,” Sabathia said of the slide. “It was a little awkward, but I was just trying to get in scoring position. I told (third base coach) Dale (Sveum) when I got up, ‘This is fun, running the bases, getting a hit.”’
Durham and Sabathia scored on J.J. Hardy’s single.
“I always knew he was a good athlete, but most pitchers, let’s be honest, can’t hit,” Durham said. “He can swing the bat a little bit. I just wish I could have hit some home runs in front of him instead of making him run like that.”
“We just can’t let them get away with us right there,” Cooper said. “And they got away. The five runs is really unacceptable. We can’t let that happen there.”
Wigginton’s homer extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games. He has seven home runs since the streak began Aug. 3.
Sabathia came in leading the NL in wins, ERA, complete games, shutouts and innings pitched since joining the Brewers. He added a single in the sixth and a sacrifice in the eighth to move to 6-for-28 (.214) with Milwaukee.
Sabathia has two home runs this season, including one in his second start for the Brewers on July 13.
“He’s definitely confident in his hitting abilities, and for the right reason—he’s a good hitter,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said.
Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun left in the sixth with tightness in his lower back—the same injury that kept him out of six games recently—after reaggravating it on a swing. Braun pinch hit Saturday and returned to the starting lineup Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He batted four times against the Astros on Monday, striking out twice.
Braun appeared to be in pain after swinging and missing in his final at-bat in the sixth.
Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks was out of the lineup after leaving Sunday’s game with a sprained left thumb. Weeks saw team doctor William Raasch on Monday, and he confirmed the diagnosis. Weeks is day to day. Ray Durham, who came in 8-for-43 since being acquired from San Francisco on July 20, started in Weeks’ place. … The crowd of 41,991 gave Milwaukee its 16th straight Miller Park sellout and 32nd this season, a new team record, eclipsing the 31 sellouts of 2007.