- Associated Press - Saturday, April 9, 2016

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Brewers manager Craig Counsell made it a point to discuss the new “Chase Utley rule” in spring training with his players.

They got an up-close look on Friday night on what not to do on the basepaths, and won a game in the process.

Houston’s Colby Rasmus was called for interference because of the new rule, resulting in a game-ending double play and blunting the Astros’ ninth-inning rally in a 6-4 loss to Milwaukee.

“I guess that rule, is that rule, they reviewed it, and it stands, so we win,” Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett said. “You never want a game to end like that, but on both sides, it’s a well-played game.”

Except it didn’t have a tidy ending after the Brewers got off to a fast start.

Chase Anderson (1-0) allowed four hits and struck out five in five shutout innings in his Brewers debut. He was acquired in the offseason in a deal that sent starting shortstop Jean Segura to Arizona.

Gennett had a solo homer and Chris Carter added a two-run shot later in the first off Scott Feldman (0-1).

The Astros were quiet until the frantic ninth.

Down 6-0, the Astros scored four times in the ninth and put runners on first and second with one out.

Jose Altuve hit a bouncer to Gennett, who threw to shortstop Jonathan Villar for the forceout. Rasmus slid past the base, and Villar didn’t make a relay to first.

Second base umpire Dan Bellino called Rasmus for not trying to stay on the bag, part of the requirement under baseball’s new rule governing slides on potential double plays. The call was upheld after the Astros challenged the play.

Counsell said that players are still learning to adjust to the new rule, while managers are still learning how to interpret it.

“The rule is the rule and we’re going to have to learn how to play with it,” Counsell said.

After the game, crew chief Tom Hallion said that Bellino determined there was no “bona fide slid because Rasmus did not attempt to stay on the base. He could not stay on the base. … With that, that is the rule of interference.”

The Astros had a different interpretation.

“Are we even playing baseball anymore??? Unbelievable,” opinionated Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel said on Twitter.

It was the second time this week that “Utley Rule” call ended a game. Toronto lost two runs and a potential win when Jose Bautista was called for interference at Tampa Bay.

“My interpretation is that it’s a shame. The game ends on a play that the rule isn’t intended to protect,” said Hinch after the game, his voice cracking.

“He slid through the base and didn’t hang onto the base. When a play happens late, you’re asking major league athletes to essentially shut it down and slide at a pace that isn’t competitive,” Hinch added.

Rookie Tyler White hit a three-run homer in the ninth off Sam Freeman. White also doubled and singled, and is 9 for 13 since making his major league debut this week. He set a franchise record for most hits by a player in his first four games.

White said he was nervous in his first at-bat in the season opener.

“But after that, it’s just baseball. It’s a game. The same game I’ve been playing since Little League,” the 25-year-old White said.


Astros: DH Evan Gattis (sports hernia surgery) had a single in four at-bats in the second night of his rehab assignment at Double-A Corpus Christi. Manager A.J. Hinch said that he would consider having Gattis catch during his rehab stint if it extended into next week.

Brewers: Manager Craig Counsell said that he’ll stick with a four-man rotation with RH starter Matt Garza on the 15-day disabled list for a strained muscle in his back. Because of off days, Milwaukee wouldn’t need a fifth starter until April 17 at Pittsburgh.


Astros: RHP Doug Fister makes his Houston debut on Saturday after signing a one-year deal as a free agent in the offseason. He gave up four runs in four innings in his only start against Milwaukee, a 5-4 loss in 2010 while with Seattle.

Brewers: Opening day starter Wily Peralta (0-1) makes his first career start against Houston.

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