Miller allows four hits, two runs in win

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Milwaukee Brewers didn't exactly catch a

break by not having to face Roger Clemens or Andy Pettitte this

weekend.

Right-hander Wade Miller befuddled them anew in Milwaukee's home

opener, pitching six solid innings in the Houston Astros' 13-7 win

Friday.

Miller allowed two earned runs and four hits in improving to

11-1 against Milwaukee.

"It was fun obviously with the run (support). You can't ask for

anything more than that," Miller said. "I didn't feel that great

today, but I threw the ball where I wanted to for the most part. I

feel I had decent stuff."

Miller always looks on top of his game at Miller Park, where he

is 6-0 with a 1.08 ERA.

"I didn't have a real good fastball, but I was able to spot it

where I wanted to. And I had a good breaking ball, so that

helped," Miller said.

Miller has no explanation for his success against Milwaukee. He

tries not to think about that, especially because the Brewers

revamped their lineup this season.

His teammates can't decipher his dominance, either. They just

know for some reason he's unbeatable in Brew Town.

"I'm glad that for his first start it was going to be here,"

Jeff Bagwell said.

Bagwell went 4-for-5 with five RBI, including his sixth career

grand slam, and scored three times. He had a chance at another

grand slam when he came up in the ninth inning but he struck out

looking on a pitch he thought was ball four.

Richard Hidalgo added four RBI for the Astros, who scored nine

times in the sixth inning in a game that began with a little more

buzz than usual after the Brewers had won three of four in St.

Louis to start the season.

"That doesn't happen very often, a nine-run inning. That was

nice," said Bagwell, who started the big inning with a leadoff

double and scored on Hidalgo's two-run double just over third

baseman Wes Helms' outstretched glove.

That broke a 2-2 tie and chased Wes Obermueller, who got to

start the home opener despite his excitability.

Milwaukee manager Ned Yost thought about switching Obermueller

and No. 4 starter Chris Capuano but decided against it because

Obermueller won in a pressure-packed start at Houston last Sept. 27

to eliminate the Astros from the playoff race.

Obermueller gave up single runs in the second and third when he

was trying to calm his nerves in front of 44,405, the

second-biggest crowd in Miller Park's history.

He said he was gassed in the sixth after attempting to steal

second following his single off Miller the inning before. He had to

return to first when the pitch was fouled off.

"Going into that sixth inning I don't think I regained my

breath and I kind of got winded a little bit," Obermueller said.

"I'll obviously learn from that."

Obermueller used to be a shortstop in the minors but he never

was much of a base-stealing threat: "No, I think that's why I

pitch."

Yost said he was proud that Obermueller mostly kept his

composure.

Ben Ford is the one Yost should have been worried about.

Ford replaced Obermueller and failed to retire any of the five

batters he faced, allowing two walks and two RBI singles and

leaving the bases loaded for Brooks Kieschnick, whom Bagwell

greeted with his second homer of the season and first grand slam

since May 21, 2001, against San Diego. Ford was charged with five

earned runs.

"The game was great up to that point," Yost said. "We didn't

get the job done coming out of the 'pen. But seven runs ought to be

enough runs to win a ballgame."

Bagwell also had an RBI single in the third that made it 2-0.

Lance Berkman's first hit, a double leading off the second, led to

the Astros' first run on Brad Ausmus' groundout.

The Brewers tied it in the fourth when Geoff Jenkins had a

run-scoring single with two outs and scored on Lyle Overbay's

double.

Milwaukee scored twice in the seventh off Jared Fernandez, but

the Astros got the runs back on Hidalgo's two-run single off Adrian

Hernandez in the eighth. Overbay and Gary Bennett homered off

Brandon Duckworth in a three-run eighth.Game notes
The Brewers had never given up so many runs in 34 previous

home openers. ... A moment of silence was observed for Warren

Spahn, former Milwaukee Braves announcer Earl Gillespie and former

Brewers manager George Bamberger, who all died since Milwaukee's

last home game.