Blum's blasts lead Astros to victory
Three-run shot caps decisive seven-run fifth inning for Houston
MILWAUKEE -- New Astros pitcher Randy Wolf wasn't lights-out in his debut, but he didn't need to be, as his offense backed him up in a big way, led by Geoff Blum's two home runs.
Houston's offense racked up hit after hit against Brewers starter Jeff Suppan, riding a seven-run fifth inning -- capped by Blum's three-run blast -- to an 11-6 win to take the rubber game of their three-game series at Miller Park on Sunday.
"Getting a lot of hits puts pitchers in an uncomfortable situation, because they've got guys on base and they're pitching out of the stretch," Lance Berkman said. "Whenever you can put some heat on a guy, there is a better chance that he'll make a mistake. When you're piling on hits, a lot of times it's because you're getting good balls to hit.
"Today, we didn't miss 'em."
The Astros sent 10 men to the plate in the decisive fifth inning. Seven of those 10 reached base, and all seven scored to give the team an 8-4 lead and take Wolf off the hook for the loss.
"The guys really did a great job today," Wolf said. "I didn't, but they did a great job. They really came out hitting, got some big hits and did a great job getting the win."
Six Astros -- Miguel Tejada, Berkman, Blum, Hunter Pence and Brad Ausmus -- had two or more hits, and all six scored in the game. The team's 16 hits are a season high and the most since they had 23 in St. Louis on Sept. 20, 2007.
"Offensively, we made some good swings on some pitches and got some big hits," manager Cecil Cooper said. "I thought the big home run by Blum really gave us some momentum. And then we were able to punch across three in the [eighth] inning to really open things up a little bit.
"It was a really good job, all around."
As Cooper said, Blum's dingers didn't just tack more runs on the board; they came in key situations and helped swing the pendulum back Houston's way.
Blum's first homer came in the second inning to tie the game at 1-1, and his second was a three-run blast that capped the Astros' big fifth inning to blow the game wide open. It was Blum's first multihomer game of the season, and his four RBIs were the most since June 2007.
"Fortunately, [Suppan] left a couple over the plate, and I connected with them," Blum said. "We haven't had that in too long, if ever. I don't know how many blowouts we've had, but it was nice today to get those two-out RBIs to put us over the top."
Ausmus tried to steal the spotlight from Blum, going 4-for-4 with two runs scored and two runs batted in. The four-hit performance was his first since July 31, 2004, at Cincinnati.
"I don't know what is crazier," Blum said with a smile, "me getting two home runs, or him getting four hits."
Wolf got out of the gate slowly, walking the leadoff batter in each of the first two innings, both of whom went on to score, before Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer in the third. That was all Wolf would allow on the day, as he settled for a no-decision.
"Those are guaranteed runs," Wolf said. "When you walk the leadoff guy, you're setting yourself up to give up runs. It's really frustrating to do that; it makes it really tough on yourself."
Wolf's final line was four runs allowed (three earned) on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings of work. He struck out three and walked three.
Chris Sampson (5-3) took the win out of the bullpen for Houston, working 2 2/3 innings of one-run baseball to shut down the Brewers' offense. He had a great multiple-inning appearance in the win on Friday night and was prepared to pitch multiple innings on Sunday.
"Chris Sampson was probably the key to the whole ballgame today," Cooper said.
"The hardest thing is just trying to preserve the lead for us," Sampson said. "I was ready to go out and pitch at least two innings, and they sent me out there for a third. I was prepared mentally coming in."
Suppan was tagged with his seventh loss on the season, dropping his record to 5-7. Blum has historically had good numbers against the Milwaukee starter, and the trend continued as the Astros' big day came at his expense.
"We really haven't done a lot of that this year," Cooper said. "That's the one thing I think we really have been missing, offensively. We can get guys on, but we never really seem to bust games open and put games away.
"It's been a while since we scored 9, 10, 11 runs, and today was a big day for us, offensively."
Dave Fultz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.