HOUSTON (AP) - The Milwaukee Brewers had several opportunities to score Thursday night. They couldn't capitalize on any of them.
The Brewers stranded more runners than they had hits in a 4-0 loss to the Houston Astros that ended their latest road trip on a sour note.
``Right now we're not doing anything right,' said right-hander Shaun Marcum, who pitched five innings in his second loss of the season. ``We're not playing good baseball and we're not catching any breaks.'
Or scoring runs, for that matter.
Milwaukee loaded the bases with one out in the third, but left the inning empty-handed. The Brewers also faltered in the fifth and sixth despite having runners at third with one out against Houston starter J.A. Happ (3-3).
The Brewers went 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11, a fact not lost on manager Ron Roenicke.
``We are not coming through with any of the guys,' Roenicke said. ``We are not coming through and getting those runs in.'
It was Milwaukee's fourth shutout loss of the season and first since May 2 at San Diego. All four have come on the road.
Happ pitched six effective innings for the Astros, who scored all four runs in the fourth for their second straight victory after losing four straight on the road.
Jed Lowrie hit a two-run homer off Marcum, and Chris Snyder and Jordan Schafer each drove in a run for Houston, which improved to 12-8 at Minute Maid Park.
Wesley Wright, Wilton Lopez and Fernando Abad completed the shutout for the Astros, who improved to 17-21, good for fourth place in the NL Central.
The Brewers fell to 16-22 and went 1-3 on their latest road trip, which included a series split against the New York Mets.
``Terrible,' Marcum said.
Norichika Aoki was Milwaukee's lone bright spot. He went 3 for 4 with a double for his fourth multihit game of the season.
Marcum (2-2) was tagged for four runs - three earned - and a season-high nine hits. He struck out five and walked one in his first loss since April 14 at Atlanta.
Happ allowed seven hits and one walk while striking out four for his first win in three starts.
Lowrie gave the Astros the lead with a two-run homer in the fourth on a 3-2 count. It was his team-leading fifth home run of the season.
``He tried to come in on him and it's either a great pitch or it's going to get hit hard,' Roenicke said of Marcum's fastball. ``It came back over the plate a little bit too much and he got him.'
Marcum pitched despite complaining of what he said felt like a cramp in his left oblique during warmups.
``I kind of pushed through and just went out there and did OK for a few innings,' he said. ``Then had that one rough inning in which they scored four.'
Roenicke said the game came down to his team's inability to score when presented with opportunities.
``We need to get it going,' he said. ``We have a lot of things that we have to start doing better offensively. Regardless of what happened in the fourth inning with Marcum, we don't score, and we need to start scoring.'
NOTES: Brewers SS Alex Gonzalez had surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Milwaukee. His recovery time is expected to be six months. ... Roenicke expects OF Carlos Gomez (strained left hamstring) to be activated from the disabled list Sunday. He is on a rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Wisconsin. ... Brewers RHP Marco Estrada opposes Minnesota left-hander Scott Diamond in the opener of a three-game set Friday.
The Associated Press News Service
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