for this game

Four-run eighth lifts Astros over Brewers

Sep 3, 2007 - 11:06 PM By J.R. Radcliffe PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MILWAUKEE (Ticker) - The Houston Astros rallied for four runs in the eighth inning and thwarted the Milwaukee Brewers' chance at a four-game winning streak in a 9-7 outcome at Miller Park on Monday.

Hunter Pence, who finished a home run shy of the cycle, tripled in two runs with two outs against reliever Greg Aquino (0-1), then scored the go-ahead run on Johnny Estrada's passed ball one batter later, completing a rally that marked Milwaukee's 15th loss this season after leading by three runs or more.

With the loss, the Brewers (69-68) fell two games behind the Chicago Cubs (70-65) in the National League Central Division. The Cubs are hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"We're right there," Brewers starter Ben Sheets said, referring to the game as well as the pennant race. "You want to win them all. You're not going to, probably. When we score seven, you better win and unfortunately, we didn't today."

After Dave Borkowski (4-3) shut down the Brewers in the seventh, Milwaukee mounted a serious rally in the eighth, putting runners at second and third with one out against Brad Lidge. The righthander retired the next two batters without allowing the tying score.

Second baseman Mark Loretta made a brilliant diving stop to prevent pinch hitter Vinny Rottino's grounder from making the outfield grass and plating two runs.

"I just kind of made a stab for it," Loretta said of his fully extended, back-handed play before throwing out Rottino. "It took kind of a high hop and kind of found my glove. It's nice to make that play in that situation; it would have been tough luck since he was ahead in the count.

"It was a good game all around. Some dominant pitching early and both teams chipped away. It could have gone either way."

Lance Berkman added an insurance run in the ninth, hitting his 28th home run of the season, a solo blast, off reliever Chris Spurling. Chad Qualls pitched the bottom of the ninth to earn his fourth save of the season.

The rally avoided making a loser of Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt, whose six-decision winning streak remains intact despite allowing five runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. The righthander entered the contest with a 4-0 record and 1.14 ERA in his previous seven starts.

The initial rally belonged to Milwaukee after the Astros spotted Oswalt a 3-0 lead in the fourth, a sequence that started with Loretta's RBI single. Brewers right fielder Gabe Gross fell down trying to run down a line drive by Brad Ausmus, and the ball reached the wall for a two-out, two-run triple.

Milwaukee chipped away in the fourth, with Geoff Jenkins' RBI single cashing in a Corey Hart double. Craig Counsell then singled in another run and later hit a two-run triple in the sixth, with Estrada ambling around the bases to cap a three-run rally and give Milwaukee a 5-3 lead.

"When we started out, I thought it would be one of those 3-1, 3-2 games," Houston interim manager Cecil Cooper said. "Both of those guys battled and made good pitches, and we were fortunate enough to get Sheets' pitch count up and they did the same thing to us. Two of the best righthanders in the game - and the score was 9-7. We showed some character."

The Brewers padded the lead in the seventh, with Ryan Braun's RBI double and Bill Hall's sacrifice fly, giving Milwaukee a 7-4 advantage.

Reliever Derrick Turnbow loaded the bases with one out, and after Craig Biggio hit a sacrifice fly to pull the Astros within two runs, Aquino was summoned to face Pence.

"He's a special player, I'll tell you that," Cooper said of Pence. "I knew he was going to do something right there. He's just one of those kinds of players and I'm glad he's on our side."

"This is one of the best games for this team this season," Pence said. "That Loretta play was really what we needed, a big defensive play to give us energy and pump us up a little bit. That was one of the most fun games we've had all year."

Sheets allowed three runs on five hits in six innings, making his second start since returning from the disabled list with torn tissue surrounding a finger tendon in his pitching hand. He did, however, issue a career-high six walks.

"We didn't really pitch real well today, start to finish," Sheets said. "I kind of set the tone and gave away some free passes and a couple of them scored. We've got to really make them earn them. I let them see too many pitches. "






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    Elephande Added 5 roots

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 4 7:49 AM


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    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 4 1 9 9 0
    MILWAUKEE 0 0 0 2 0 3 2 0 0 7 15 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: HOU - ROY OSWALT, CHRIS SAMPSON (6TH), DAVE BORKOWSKI (7TH), BRAD
    LIDGE (8TH), TREVER MILLER (9TH), CHAD QUALLS (9TH) AND BRAD
    AUSMUS, ERIC MUNSON (8TH)
    MIL - BEN

    Sep 3 6:03 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY LANCE BERKMAN (28) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 0
    OUT IN THE 9TH OFF CHRIS SPURLING.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 9, MILWAUKEE 7
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.301, 1-FOR-3, BB)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 5:40 PM
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    RUWTbot Took away 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 5:40 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 5:37 PM


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    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    PASSED BALL BY JOHNNY ESTRADA ALLOWED HUNTER PENCE TO
    SCORE.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 8
    MILWAUKEE 7 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C BURKE (.223, 1-FOR-2, BB, SAC)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 5:24 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY HUNTER PENCE SCORED TY WIGGINTON AND BRANDON
    BACKE.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, H PENCE ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 7
    MILWAUKEE 7 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C BURKE (.223, 1-FOR-2, BB, SAC)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 5:22 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY CRAIG BIGGIO SCORED LUKE SCOTT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M LAMB ON FIRST, T WIGGINTON ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5
    MILWAUKEE 7 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.325, 2-FOR-3, BB)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 5:17 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY BILL HALL SCORED RYAN BRAUN.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C HART ON FIRST, P FIELDER ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 4
    MILWAUKEE 7 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: J ESTRADA (.284, 2-FOR-2, BB)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 4:57 PM


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    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY RYAN BRAUN SCORED GABE GROSS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R BRAUN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 4
    MILWAUKEE 6 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: P FIELDER (.284, 1-FOR-3)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 4:49 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY CRAIG COUNSELL ALLOWED HUNTER PENCE TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, L BERKMAN ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 4
    MILWAUKEE 5 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.302, 1-FOR-2, BB)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 4:36 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY CRAIG COUNSELL SCORED COREY HART AND JOHNNY
    ESTRADA.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, C COUNSELL ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 3
    MILWAUKEE 5 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: B SHEETS (.071, 0-FOR-2)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 4:16 PM


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    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY COREY HART SCORED RYAN BRAUN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C HART ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 3
    MILWAUKEE 3 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: B HALL (.258, 12 HR, 56 RBI)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 4:02 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CRAIG COUNSELL SCORED BILL HALL.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, 1 LEFT ON, 3 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 3
    MILWAUKEE 2 END BOTTOM, 4TH

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 3:25 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY GEOFF JENKINS SCORED COREY HART.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, G JENKINS ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 3
    MILWAUKEE 1 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: J ESTRADA (.282, 1-FOR-1)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 3:17 PM


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    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY BRAD AUSMUS SCORED MARK LORETTA AND LUKE SCOTT.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, B AUSMUS ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 3
    MILWAUKEE 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: R OSWALT (.143, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 3:06 PM


  • NL
    AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK LORETTA SCORED CARLOS LEE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M LORETTA ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 1
    MILWAUKEE 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: L SCOTT (.254, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros vs. BrewersSep 3 2:58 PM