HOUSTON — Mike Moustakas hit a two-run homer during Milwaukee’s three-run 14th inning, and the Brewers struck out 15 times against Houston ace Justin Verlander before rallying for a 6-3 victory over the Astros on Wednesday night.
Christian Yelich started the 14th with a single against rookie Cionel Perez (1-1) for Milwaukee’s first hit since the ninth. After Ryan Braun lined out, Moustakas hit a drive to right for his 21st homer.
Jesús Aguilar added a pinch-hit RBI single as Milwaukee won for the fifth time in six games despite striking out a season-high 24 times. Braun, Yasmani Grandal and Eric Thames also went deep for the Brewers, and Adrian Houser (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory.
Chacin to face Padres
Jhoulys Chacín was cleared to come off the injured list on Monday and start the Brewers’ series opener at San Diego, manager Craig Counsell confirmed.
Chacin, who has been sidelined since June 2 with a lower back strain, threw a 50-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday, a positive indicator he was nearing a return to the rotation. It’s likely he’ll throw another side session prior to his outing vs. the Padres.
“I feel fine, and I’m anxious to get back to the process,” the 31-year-old veteran right-hander said.
What this means for right-hander Freddy Peralta remains to be seen. Monday would be Peralta’s turn in the rotation, but Counsell said Chacin pitching that day doesn’t mean Peralta is the odd man out.
It’s fair to speculate Peralta could be bumped, however. The right-hander has served as a reliever and starter this year, and though he was locating his pitches well during his outing vs. Houston on Tuesday, he struggled to stay ahead of the Astros, especially with his fastball.
Peralta’s two-pitch fastball-curveball arsenal may translate better long-term in the bullpen. Overall, he is 3-3 with a 5.81 ERA over 12 games, including eight starts, in 2019.
From Chacin, Counsell is looking for more crispness with his pitches. On May 31 in Pittsburgh, Chacin allowed six hits, seven runs and walked four — including walking in three runs in one inning. He lasted just 2⅔ innings.
- Left-hander Gio Gonzalez, sidelined since May 29 with arm fatigue, played catch for a third straight day and will resume his program after today’s off day in San Francisco.
“We’ll ramp it up another step,” Counsell said. “Not bullpens (yet), but with more intensity. Just keep taking positive steps.”
Counsell was reminded more than a few times that Wednesday was the 12-year anniversary of Verlander’s no-hitter, which he threw against the Brewers, in his second full season with the Tigers.
Why did this come up in conversation so much? Two reasons — Verlander started Wednesday, and Counsell was on that Brewers team that was no-hit by the former American League Cy Young Award winner that day in Detroit.
What else does the skipper remember? He started at third base, in place of Braun, who was then a rookie.
Against Verlander, Counsell was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts.
“The first pitch I struck out on was a ball,” Counsell recalled. “Then I looked bad on another strikeout — a really good curveball.”