The subject of trade rumors, Greinke on Saturday tries to win a third straight road start and continue his dominance over a Houston Astros club trying to end a nine-game skid.
Last season, Greinke (9-2, 3.08 ERA) went 5-7 with a 4.59 ERA in 14 road starts, including a loss in Game 5 of the NL championship series at St. Louis. This year, he's 5-2 with a 4.03 ERA in 10 outings away from Miller Park.
He's also 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA in five road starts since losing at Arizona on May 26. Five days after allowing three hits in nine innings of a 1-0, 10-inning road victory over the Chicago White Sox on June 22, Greinke yielded two runs in six innings of a 8-4 win at Cincinnati.
Greinke is also 4-0 with a 2.39 ERA in seven starts overall since the May loss to the Diamondbacks, but gave up five runs in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 6-5 home win over Miami on Monday."It was a pretty bad outing for me," said Greinke, who is 16-0 with a 3.10 ERA in 24 regular and postseason starts at Miller Park over the last two seasons.
Greinke improved to 4-0 with a 2.00 lifetime ERA against the Astros after allowing two runs and striking out nine in six innings of a 6-5 home win April 23. He's 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA at Minute Maid Park.
With free agency looming this offseason and Milwaukee's subpar first half, Greinke may be trade bait.
"The Brewers need to do what's best for the Brewers, and that's just how things go," he told the Brewers' official website. "Hopefully nothing happens and we start playing better. That would be the best-case scenario for everyone."
Milwaukee (39-44) avoided a third straight loss Friday by taking an advantage of an opponent mired in a worse slump. Norichika Aoki and Ryan Braun hit consecutive first-inning homers in a 7-1 series-opening victory that was also the ninth consecutive loss for Houston.
Braun is batting .354 with five home runs in his last 23 games at Minute Maid Park, and is hitting .412 with five doubles among his 14 hits off probable Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez (6-6, 3.54).
The left-hander allowed three runs in the sixth inning of a 3-0 loss at Wrigley Field on Sunday, falling to 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA in his last three starts.
Rodriguez, 7-8 with a 3.82 ERA in 20 career starts against the Brewers, now looks to help the Astros (32-52) avoid losing 10 in a row for the first time since May 20-30, 2007. Scott Moore homered and Jason Castro had two of the five hits Friday for Houston, which has batted .201 and been outscored 51-19 during its skid."We just have to get back to having fun," outfielder J.D. Martinez said. "And that's hard when you are losing."
Moore is batting .333 (9 for 27) with two home runs in seven games since being recalled from the minors June 26, getting at least one hit in each contest he's played.
|June 15, 2012||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Right elbow tightness|
|June 02, 2012||Aramis Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left quadricep|
|May 31, 2012||Ryan Braun||Day-to-Day||Tight Achilles|
|May 28, 2012||Jonathan Lucroy||15-Day DL||Fractured right hand, out 4-6 weeks|
|May 26, 2012||Cesar Izturis||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|May 26, 2012||Travis Ishikawa||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 26, 2012||Justin Maxwell||15-Day DL||Loose bodies in left ankle|
|June 24, 2012||Jose Altuve||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right hamstring|
|June 20, 2012||Justin Maxwell||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left ankle sprain|
|June 13, 2012||Bud Norris||15-Day DL||Sprained left knee|
|June 13, 2012||Bud Norris||15-Day DL||Sprained left knee|
|June 11, 2012||Wilton Lopez||15-Day DL||Right elbow sprain|
HOUSTON (AP) -- Brad Mills breezed into the post-game interview room after Saturday's game with a huge grin planted on his face.
"It's nice to come in here with a smile," the Houston manager said after watching his team break a season-long nine-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers .
Scott Moore homered for the second straight day and J.D. Martinez and Jose Altuve had three hits each as the Astros took advantage of the first-inning ejection of Zack Greinke to get the victory.
"He's a Cy Young winner and to be able get him out of there and face their bullpen, that really helps you," Houston's Jordan Schafer said.
Greinke (9-3) entered the game looking for his 10th win; instead he was gone after four pitches - ejected after spiking the ball following a close play at first base.
Manager Ron Roenicke was also tossed for arguing the call and the Brewers were forced to piece together the game with six relievers.
"When that happens to a starting pitcher, especially one as good as Zack, it changes how you feel about that game," Roenicke said. "When we get behind like we did, it's hard to bounce back."
Greinke, who was ejected for the fourth time in his career, called the incident a mental mistake.
"I didn't think there was anything wrong with it at the time, but after looking back at it, I thought: `Oh, (man), that definitely didn't look good.' I put him in a bad position and he had to make a decision," Greinke said.
The bad news for the Astros is that Greinke could return to the mound on Sunday with the All-Star break coming up.
"We already talked to Zack. He thinks he would be fine, but we're not positive which way we're going to go," Roenicke said when asked about that possibility. "We've got some more conversations to go through."
The Astros were up 1-0 after the first inning and jumped on Livan Hernandez , who took over for Greinke, for three runs in the third.
Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez (7-6) yielded four hits and two runs - both unearned - with five strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings. Brett Myers pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save.
Schafer and Jed Lowrie collected two hits apiece and Jason Castro drove in two runs as the Astros scored more runs than they had in the last three games combined to get their first win since June 27.
Things went wrong for Greinke immediately when Schafer took his first pitch to center field for a leadoff triple. Three pitches later it got much worse when he raced to cover first base on a grounder by Altuve and spiked the ball when the All-Star speedster was called safe, leading to his ejection by first base umpire Sam Holbrook.
Roenicke immediately raced out to argue the call and was ejected for the first time this season.
"He overreacted," Roenicke said of Holbrook, adding that the umpire said he thought Greinke was trying to show him up. "He didn't even see what happened. Zack was behind him and he didn't even see him. You need to know; you need to know 100 percent what happens when you kick out a starting pitcher."
Schafer scored on the play where the pair was ejected to put Houston up 1-0. The center fielder also made a couple of nice defensive plays on Saturday to bounce back from a tough week where he was pulled from a game after making two mistakes.
"He did a great job," Mills said. "We know that he can do it and we know it's there ... he did a great job at the top of the order."
Moore opened Houston's third inning with his homer to right field to make it 2-0 and give him three home runs in eight games since being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Martinez followed with a single before scoring on a double by Lowrie. Lowrie scored on a sacrifice fly by Castro later in the inning to push the lead to 4-0.
Schafer singled with one out in the fourth inning and picked up his 20th stolen base when he took second. Altuve walked before Schafer advanced to third on a flyout. He scored on an error by Martin Maldonado when the catcher overthrew second base trying to pick off Altuve.
Lowrie singled off Randy Wolf , a starter who was making his first relief appearance since 2001, to start the fifth. Chris Johnson doubled before Lowrie scored on a sacrifice fly by Castro to leave Houston up 6-0.
Rodriguez had retired 14 of his last 16 when Ryan Braun reached on an error by Moore with one out in the sixth inning. Aramis Ramirez singled and Corey Hart drew a walk to load the bases.
The Brewers got on the board thanks to another error by Moore, when he stopped a sharply hit grounder from Rickie Weeks , but dropped the ball before he stepped on third base. That allowed Weeks to reach, Braun to score and chased Rodriguez.
He was replaced by Fernando Rodriguez , who retired the next batter before Ramirez scored on a wild pitch to cut Houston's lead to 6-2. Moore capped off his rough inning by catching a fly ball by Cesar Izturis in foul territory to end the inning.
Cody Ransom added a run for the Brewers with an RBI double in the eighth inning.
NOTES: Milwaukee RF Norichika Aoki singled in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. ... Houston OF Justin Maxwell , on the DL with an injured left ankle, went 1 for 2 with a double in a rehabilitation assignment with Oklahoma city on Friday night. ... These teams wrap up the series on Sunday when Milwaukee's Marco Estrada opposes right-hander Jordan Lyles .