Brewers score late, pound Astros

Lucas Harrell and the Astros did a good job holding the Brewers off the scoreboard for six innings Friday.

Then Milwaukee's lineup came to life.

The Brewers exploded for eight runs in the final three innings to beat the Astros, 8-2, in the opener of a three-game series.

Milwaukee was coming off a disastrous series against St. Louis, in which it was swept in three games and outscored by an 18-8 margin. But the NL Central- leading Brewers rebounded with Friday's win, and extended their advantage over the second-place Cardinals to 8 1/2 games.

Ryan Braun hit a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh, Casey McGehee slugged a two-run homer in the eighth and Prince Fielder added a two-run shot in the ninth.

Harrell was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to make his first start with the Astros, who claimed him off waivers from the White Sox in July. The right- hander pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks, to put Houston in position to win.

But the Astros' bullpen failed -- Aneury Rodriguez (1-6) was responsible for three runs in the seventh, David Carpenter allowed McGehee's homer and Jordan Lyles gave up three runs in the ninth as Houston had its four-game win streak broken.