Braun, Lucroy lead Brewers to 6-1 exhibition win over Astros
HOUSTON (AP) Ryan Braun homered and Jonathan Lucroy had three hits, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to a 6-1 exhibition victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday night.
Braun connected for a leadoff drive in the fourth. Aaron Hill singled in Lucroy in the second and drove him again with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
''We had a bunch of guys who swung the bat well,'' Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. ''Lucroy swung the bat well, Hill had some good swings, Braun too. It was a good night.''
Jimmy Nelson pitched 5 1-3 scoreless innings for Milwaukee. He allowed two hits, struck out five and walked one.
''I felt good, for sure,'' Nelson said. ''I used all my pitches, defense played great behind me. They squared up some balls but it was right at guys. Overall, it was nice.''
Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa - the top of Houston's lineup - combined to go 0 for 8, with Springer walking in the sixth. Altuve struck out twice.
Luis Valbuena singled and walked against Nelson, and Castro singled for the only Astros' baserunners against the right-hander.
''I think Jimmy Nelson was the main reason for no offense,'' Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. ''He's pretty good, and he threw some pretty good stuff. He didn't miss a ton of pitches. He did miss a few bats.''
Brewers: Nelson retired seven of his first eight batters and nine of his final 10 batters following Castro's single in the third. The right-hander finished the spring with a 1.17 ERA.
Astros: Right-hander Collin McHugh allowed four runs and six hits in five innings. McHugh, who threw 79 pitches, struck out one and had three perfect frames, but ran into trouble in the second and fourth against the heart of the Brewers lineup.
''I felt OK,'' McHugh said. ''I felt good. My command was not good. I didn't have good command. I didn't have a putaway pitch today, which typically combines for what happened.''
Brewers: LHP Sean Nolin (left elbow soreness), RHP Zach Jones (right shoulder strain) and OF Rymer Liriano (facial fractures) were placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 25.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers, who has been sidelined with right shoulder soreness, threw about 30 pitches in live batting practice in Florida. Hinch said the Astros were encouraged by the session.
Hinch said left-hander Wandy Rodriguez was informed before the game he would not be on the opening-day roster, and the Astros would make him available to the other 29 teams. Rodriguez, who broke into the majors with Houston in 2005, went 2-0 with a 3.95 ERA in 13 2-3 innings this spring.
''We would like to keep him if he doesn't find an opportunity to his liking,'' Hinch said.
Brewers: RHP Matt Garza will start the exhibition finale Friday in Houston. Garza has a 4.82 ERA in 18 2-3 innings covering five starts this spring.
Astros: RHP Mike Fiers takes the mound Friday for the spring finale. Fiers owns a 5.40 ERA in 16 2-3 innings covering five games - four starts - and has one save this spring.