Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

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HOUSTON (AP)—Jeff Kent came through in the clutch once again for the Houston Astros.

Kent hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning and Octavio Dotel earned his team-leading sixth victory as the Houston Astros snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

“Kent came through again,” starter Jeriome Robertson said. “It seems like every time we get in that kind of situation he comes up and you know there’s a pretty good chance something is going to happen.”

Oscar Villareal (4-4) hit Craig Biggio with a pitch to start the eighth and Morgan Ensberg sacrificed him to second.

After Jeff Bagwell was intentionally walked, Kent lined a single to left field scoring Biggio with the go-ahead run. Left fielder Luis Gonzalez’s throw was cut off by third baseman Alex Cintron as Biggio slid safely home.

“It was just a lucky flop,” Kent said. “It was one of those heavy balls they like to hit here. But our pitching did a great job. That’s why we’ve won the majority of games we’ve won.”

Villareal thought he threw a good pitch to Kent.

“It was a good pitch, I threw it where I wanted it,” Villareal said. “It was a sinker inside and down. It was a broken bat hit. Things like that happen in baseball.”

Gonzalez gave Kent plenty of room.

“You don’t expect a guy like Kent to get a bloop hit,” Gonzalez said. “I had to go a long way. I’m playing on who is hitting. That’s the last place you’d expect the ball to land with a guy like that up there. I was running at full speed.”

Dotel (6-2) came in to start the eighth and walked the first batter. But he struck out Robert Hammock and Steve Finley and got Lyle Overlay on a groundout. No other Astros pitcher has more than four victories.

“I’ve been lucky this year I would say that,” Dotel said. “I came on in the eighth and we had a tie game. I’ve got Jeff Kent, Lance (Berkman) Jeff Bagwell, (Richard) Hidalgo, Morgan Ensberg. I’ve got all those guys backing me up. I just have to get my innings and I have good luck to win the game.”

Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 21 opportunities.

“The guys are pitching real well,” Wagner said. “Sometimes I wonder how we’re able to because we’ve been used so much. But I don’t ask why.”

Matt Kata got his first major league hit in the third inning and added a solo homer in the fifth off Robertson. Alex Cintron hit Robertson’s next pitch for another homer and a 3-2 Arizona lead.

“This is the latest in a long line of rookies who have come in and looked like they can contribute and feel like the can contribute,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly said of Kata. “We saw that in spring training. He’s a guy with good baseball instincts.”

It marked the third time this season that the Diamondbacks had hit back-to-back homers.

The Astros tied it in the bottom half. Gregg Zaun and Robertson singled and advanced on a passed ball by Chad Moeller. Biggio then tied it with an RBI single.

Ensberg hit a solo homer in the first inning for Houston off rookie Andrew Good, who had won his last three decisions. It was Ensberg’s eighth homer in his last 16 games and gave him the team lead in homers with 13.

Hidalgo hit his 10th homer in the second inning to make it 2-1.

Good’s two-out single in the second, scored Arizona’s first run. Good allowed three runs and five hits in three innings.

“He struggled tonight, especially with his breaking ball,” Brenly said. “He didn’t have his good stuff but he did the best he could with what he had and kept us in the game.”

Robertson allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings.


The Diamondbacks also have back-to-back homers May 26 against the Padres (Luis Gonzalez and David Dellucci) and May 4 against Atlanta (Gonzalez and Junior Spivey). … Houston is 32-1 this season when leading after eight innings. … Arizona RF Danny Bautista was a late scratch because of a pulledleft hamstring he injured on Friday night.

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