MILWAUKEE -- Before the sudden finish stole the spotlight, the Brewers' newcomers were the stars of a 6-4 win over the Astros at Miller Park on Friday.Former Astros Chris Carter, Domingo Santana and Jonathan Villar combined for four hits, three RBIs and a run scored, and rookie Keon Broxton walked
MILWAUKEE -- Before the sudden finish stole the spotlight, the Brewers' newcomers were the stars of a 6-4 win over the Astros at Miller Park on Friday.
Former Astros Chris Carter, Domingo Santana and Jonathan Villar combined for four hits, three RBIs and a run scored, and rookie Keon Broxton walked and stole a base to set-up an insurance run. Chase Anderson pitched five scoreless innings for a winning Brewers debut, and fellow first-year Brewer Carlos Torres followed with two scoreless innings with one hit.
"I think it helps a lot, just getting the confidence of your teammates -- and yourself, too," said Carter, who has homered twice in the team's first four games, and leads the Brewers with five RBIs. "After the last couple of years I started off slow, I'm trying to change it up this year and have a better first half."
Carter started hot in Spring Training, while Anderson struggled. Acquired with Aaron Hill and infield prospect Isan Diaz from the D-backs in January, Anderson finished the Cactus League with a 9.82 ERA, and allowed 27 hits including five home runs in 14 2/3 Arizona innings.
He was significantly sharper on Friday night. Anderson scattered four hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out five in an 85-pitch effort.
"His stuff was crisp tonight," said manager Craig Counsell. "We talked about the advantage of having an extra reliever. He was at 85, 86 pitches. It was his first start of the year, so I didn't think there was much after that inning."
Anderson, naturally, would have preferred to continue. But he deemed the debut a success.
"Spring Training was different for me this year," he said. "Coming in, I don't want to say I was handed a spot, but not really having to compete for a spot was a little but different. I was able to work on some things, change my curveball grip, and the results weren't what I wanted.
"But when I left Arizona I told myself, 'When the lights come up, I'm ready to go.' It was good to get the first one out of the way and get a win."
That win nearly slipped away from another new Brewer, reliever Sam Freeman. He came to the Brewers for cash on Tuesday and debuted in the ninth inning Friday with a 6-0 lead, only to exit after one out, a runner aboard and the Astros within striking distance at 6-3.
By the time the Brewers won on an implementation of the "Chase Utley rule," Freeman had been charged with a fourth earned run.
"We played an outstanding game up to that point. We pitched excellent," Counsell said. "Chase did a great job. Carlos Torres did a heck of a job. [Tyler] Thornburg did a heck of a job. Sam hasn't pitched in a while so we felt like it was a good spot to get him in there. It just didn't go well."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.