Former Gator Hart, MVP Candidate Fielder Lead Brewers in Rout

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Houston Astros found out the hard way that you have to throw quality pitches to the middle of Milwaukee's batting order.

Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart each hit a three-run homer, and the Brewers connected five times in all to beat Houston 14-2 on Wednesday night.

"You can't make mistakes on those guys," Astros interim manager Cecil Cooper said about the 3-4-5 hitters in Milwaukee's lineup.

Yovani Gallardo (7-4) pitched seven shutout innings and Milwaukee won for the fifth time in six games. The Brewers remained a half-game behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

"Once we got that lead, I tried to go out there and throw strikes," Gallardo said. "It worked out well."

The Brewers have had trouble holding leads this year, but this one was never in doubt as they set a season high for runs.

"Offense got on board early," manager Ned Yost said. "I like the way it sets up right now. They're all swinging the bats well."

Fielder hit his NL-leading 41st homer in the first inning and has 102 RBIs. Braun hit his 28th in the second and Hart hit his 20th in the fourth.

"We've got five young players that it's hard to find anywhere else," Yost said, referring to those three sluggers plus Rickie Weeks and J.J. Hardy.

Geoff Jenkins followed Hart's homer with his 20th to make it 11-0, and Bill Hall hit his 13th in the sixth. Milwaukee leads the major leagues with 192 home runs.

Houston starter Matt Albers (4-7) lasted only three innings, giving up seven runs and six hits with three walks. Albers and reliever Felipe Paulino combined to walk five batters in the first four innings, and all of them scored.

"Our job is to get on base, period," said Weeks, who walked three times. "So the guys behind us can hit us in. We're doing a pretty good job of that lately."

The loss dropped the Astros to 4-5 since Cooper succeeded the fired Phil Garner on Aug. 27, but it didn't diminish his sense of humor.

"Their park played a little small tonight, don't you think?" Cooper asked rhetorically with a laugh.

The Brewers have the second-worst road record in the NL at 26-42 and play 13 of their next 16 away from Miller Park after an off day Thursday.

With the big lead, Yost pulled Fielder, Braun, Hart and Hardy midway through the game.

Gallardo allowed six hits and two walks, but induced three double plays to keep Houston off the scoreboard. The right-hander struck out five to win his second consecutive start.

Albers was wild from the beginning, walking Weeks and Gabe Gross to open the first. Fielder's fly to center hit off the glove of a leaping Hunter Pence and over the fence for a 3-0 lead.

Gallardo doubled and Gross walked in the second, and Braun hit a home run to left that made it 6-0.

Johnny Estrada's double scored Hart to give Milwaukee a 7-0 lead after three.

Paulino made his major league debut in the fourth, and walked Weeks and Fielder. Hart then homered to make it 10-0.

Luke Scott hit a two-run homer for Houston in the ninth.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


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