Weeks, Ramirez homer late, Brewers top Astros 3-1
HOUSTON Houston starter Erik Bedard had perhaps his best performance of the season on Wednesday night. When he left in the eighth inning, it quickly fell apart for the Astros.
Bedard departed with a runner on and one out, and Hector Ambriz surrendered home runs to Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez to send Houston to a 3-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Bedard struck out eight and allowed four hits in his longest outing of the season. The left-hander was replaced by Ambriz (1-4) after Josh Prince walked and was sacrificed to second.
Weeks then drove a 1-2 pitch over the wall in left for his sixth homer, lifting Milwaukee to a 2-1 lead. Ramirez added a solo shot in the ninth.
"Bedard went out there and did a (heck) of a job," Ambriz said. "They called me in to do my job and I didn't and we got that loss. There's nothing to be happy about there."
John Axford (3-3) struck out two in the seventh for the win. Francisco Rodriguez allowed two hits in a scoreless ninth for his fifth save of the season and No. 299 for his career.
Brewers starter Kyle Lohse pitched six effective innings, yielding a run and six hits.
Jose Altuve had three hits, stole three bases and scored Houston's only run on a sacrifice fly in the first inning.
It was the second straight solid start for Bedard, who pitched six crisp innings in a 2-1 victory against the Chicago White Sox on Friday.
"Bedard was outstanding, and he gave us everything he had," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "He went out and started the eighth with the notion that we were going to take him through Weeks. He did a tremendous job and pitched well enough to get the win. Unfortunately, we were not able to hold the lead."
It was his longest start since May 20, 2011, at San Diego when he was with the Mariners. He has limited opponents to two runs or less in seven of his eight starts since a brief stint in the bullpen. His last two starts have been particularly good, allowing just one earned run and striking out 14.
"I didn't change anything," he said when asked about his recent success. "I just keep working hard; doing my workouts and hope that everything comes back together."
Martin Maldonado had a leadoff single in the third for Milwaukee's first hit. But Bedard then got Prince to hit into a double play.
Bedard didn't allow another hit until Weeks singled with two outs in the sixth inning. Jean Segura followed with another single before Carlos Gomez grounded out to end the threat.
"My curveball was really good, so that got my fastball working a little better," Bedard said. "When you can mix the secondary pitches in there for strikes, it makes everything go a lot easier."
Brandon Barnes and Altuve hit consecutive singles to start Houston's third, but the Astros came away empty when Jason Castro struck out and J.D. Martinez lined into a double play.
The Astros had another chance to add to their 1-0 lead in the sixth. Altuve singled and stole second and third before a two-out walk by Chris Carter. But Lohse retired Carlos Pena to escape the jam.
Altuve singled with one out in the first before Castro drew a walk. Altuve stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Martinez.
NOTES: Houston signed RHP Mark Appel, the top overall pick in this year's draft. He shagged balls in the outfield with the team before the game. ... Brewers OF Norichika Aoki was placed on the paternity list to go to Milwaukee for the birth of his second child. Prince was recalled from Triple-A Nashville to take his spot on the roster. Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said he expects Aoki back for Friday's game against Atlanta. ... OF Ryan Braun, on the 15-day disabled list with a right thumb contusion, was in Arizona to visit a doctor about his injury. Roenicke said they should know better when he could come back after they hear the results. ... The series wraps up on Thursday when Houston's Lucas Harrell opposes Yovani Gallardo.