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Astros beat Brewers

Astros beat Brewers

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Associated Press

MILWAUKEE -- Chris Johnson starred during spring training before his fast start was derailed by an early-season injury.

Now he appears to be back from the minor leagues for good.

Johnson had his second four-hit game in five contests and led the Houston Astros to a 5-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.

"To watch C.J. put up with some of the stuff he's had to, and not gotten upset, he came up here and took advantage of the opportunity," said Geoff Blum, who went 2 for 2 with two walks and three runs scored. "It's fun to watch."

Johnson led the Grapefruit League with eight home runs and 22 RBIs and made the Astros out of spring training. He strained a right intercostal muscle and was placed on the disabled list on April 20. He was then sent to Triple-A Round Rock when he recovered in May.

He batted .329 with 10 doubles, eight home runs and 33 RBI in 38 games at Round Rock, and was recalled by the Astros on June 22.

Since then, he has gone 12 for 29 (.414) with three doubles and six RBI in seven starts at third base.

"I try and do the same thing I did [in Triple A]," he said. "That's what got me here. I'm trying to stay within myself and take whatever the pitcher gives me. It's working out."

The Astros got a strong start from Wandy Rodriguez, who gave up only one run in seven innings and executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to snap a tie in the sixth inning.

Rodriguez (5-10) won his second consecutive start after a stretch in which he lost six of seven. The left-hander held the Brewers to 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position, giving up one run and seven hits. He struck out six and issued one intentional walk.

"He got into key situations where he really beared down and made some good pitches and was able to get out of some key spots," Astros catcher Jason Castro said.

With the score tied 1-1 with one out in the fifth and two runners on, Rodriguez struck out Prince Fielder and got Ryan Braun to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

"That's a prime example of him kind of stepping up and not letting anything get to him, and really focusing on his pitches," Castro said. "He did a great job."

Dave Bush (3-6) gave up two runs and six hits in six innings. One run scored on a wild pitch and the other came in on Rodriguez's squeeze. The right-hander walked five and struck out three.

Blum opened the sixth with a walk off Bush. Johnson's single moved him to second, and Castro's fielder's choice sent him to third with one out.

Blum then took off for home on Bush's first pitch to Rodriguez, who put down a precise bunt midway between the plate and the mound. Blum scored without a play to give Houston a 2-1 lead.

The Astros scored three more runs in the seventh to break open the game. Jeff Keppinger and Lance Berkman both doubled off Carlos Villanueva to start the inning and make it 3-1. Two outs later, Blum walked. Johnson's double off the left-field wall then scored Berkman and Blum to stretch the lead to 5-1.

Villanueva generally pitches in close games, but he has given up seven earned runs in 3 2-3 innings over his last five appearances. Milwaukee manager Ken Macha said he would consider moving rarely used left-hander Chris Capuano into Villanueva's role.

"Villa, pitching the way he is lately, we've got to take a look a little more at what Cappy can do for us out of the bullpen," Macha said.

Milwaukee scored its only run in the second on Jonathan Lucroy's groundout to shortstop that brought in Ryan Braun and put the Brewers ahead 1-0.

"We had a couple of chances to score, but we didn't get 'er done," Macha said.

Houston tied it in the fourth when Blum scored on Bush's wild pitch.

Compounding their inability to advance runners, the Brewers also made three outs on the bases. Casey McGehee was called out twice at third by umpire Brian Gorman, with both calls being argued by Macha. Lucroy was also thrown out while trying to steal second.


NOTES -- Johnson tied a career high with four hits. He also had four on Friday night at Texas. ... Brewers RF Corey Hart extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single in the third. ... Brewers LHP Doug Davis made his final minor league rehab start Wednesday, giving up one run, six hits and three walks. He also struck out four for Class A Wisconsin against Quad Cities. Davis is expected to start for the Brewers sometime next week. ... The Astros (31-48) have won nine consecutive games on Wednesdays, improving their overall record on that day to 10-3.

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