Milwaukee, WI – Jonathan Lucroy scored the go-ahead run on Cesar Izturis' eighth-inning infield single and the Brewers survived another shaky performance from their bullpen to edge the Astros, 8-7, in the opener of a three-game series.
The Brewers, who fired bullpen coach Stan Kyles earlier Monday, initially took the lead with a four-run seventh inning, but Livan Hernandez allowed Steve Pearce's game-tying double in the eighth.
In the bottom half, Lucroy legged out a leadoff double and moved to third on Nyjer Morgan's bunt single before crossing the plate on Izturis' dribbler in front of the mound.
Cody Ransom followed with a three-run homer, adding some much-needed insurance for a Milwaukee bullpen which leads the majors in blown saves and needed a trio of relievers to record the final three outs.
"When Cody hit the homer I thought we were gonna win it nice and clean," said Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke. "It didn't happen, again."
Hernandez (3-1) was credited with the win despite giving up Brian Bogusevic's run-scoring single in the ninth. Kameron Loe didn't fare much better, allowing Justin Maxwell's RBI double before departing with runners on second and third with one out.
Pearce then made it a one-run game with a warning-track sacrifice fly off of John Axford, who then hit a batter before notching his 17th save thanks to Izturis' diving stop on J.D. Martinez's grounder.
After diving to his right, the shortstop fired a one-hopper to first, which Corey Hart snared just before Martinez reached the base.
Monday's performance was the most recent in a string of difficult outings for the Brewers' pen, which gave up nine runs over the final five innings of Sunday's 11-inning, 11-10 loss to the Nationals.
"This is getting tough," continued Roenicke.
Houston, meanwhile, snapped a franchise-record 12-game losing streak against the Pirates on Sunday and held a 3-0 lead on Monday thanks to Scott Moore's leadoff homer in the seventh.
Morgan, though, responded with a two-run blast in the home half and Izturis followed with a double to knock Bud Norris from the game. The Astros' starter was looking for his first win since May 21.
"Bud pitched extremely well but we might have stretched him a bit too much," said Astros manager Brad Mills.
Francisco Cordero failed to protect the lead, giving up RBI singles to Norichika Aoki and Aramis Ramirez later in the frame.
Pearce also had a first-inning sac fly, driving home Jose Altuve, who singled, stole second and moved to third on Lucroy's throwing error.
Altuve added a sac fly in the third for the Houston.
Brewers starter Marco Estrada was charged with three runs -- two earned -- over seven innings. He is winless in 12 starts this season.
Kyles had been with the Brewers organization since 2001 and was named bullpen coach following the 2008 season. Lee Tunnell, who had been the team's minor league pitching coordinator, replaced Kyles...Milwaukee has 21 blown saves on the season...Ryan Braun missed the game due to blisters on his hand...Norris gave up three runs on four hits over six-plus innings.