Astros 2, Brewers 1

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HOUSTON (AP)—Roy Oswalt just hopes the pain shots can keep him going.

Oswalt aggravated a ribcage injury but pitched long enough to get his 18th win, and Mike Lamb hit a go-ahead homer off Ben Sheets on Friday night to lead the Houston Astros over the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1.

Oswalt says the ribcage injury has bothered him all year and he has taken three cortisone shots and three Novocain shots.

“It’s just something you deal with,” he said. “Hopefully, we can try the painkiller again next time and get me through it. Iy takes your breath away as soon as you release the ball. I’ve been doing the cortisone shots and I don’t want any more of them. Hopefully, the Novocain shots will be enough next time. I think I’ll be back out there on my next turn.”

Houston, which had only four hits, won for just the fifth time in nine games following a 12-game winning streak. The Astros, who ended the game by throwing out a Chris Magruder in a rundown between third and home, remained two games behind San Francisco in the NL wild-card race.

Oswalt (18-9), who leads the NL in wins, improved to 10-1 in 13 starts since July 17, allowing one run and eight hits in seven innings. The injury also forced him out of a game on Sept. 1 at Cincinnati.

“Roy’s fine,” manager Phil Garner said. “He thought he could go out in the eighth but then he said he couldn’t throw.

It was the first time Oswalt and Sheets, who were teammates on the gold medal winning 2000 U.S. Olympics team, had faced each other.

“Benny had an awesome night,” manager Ned Yost said. “He was throwing it 96-97 from the first pitch on. It was just a dominant performance by both pitchers. It was a phenomenally pitched game on both sides. I couldn’t really sit back and enjoy it. Maybe I could have enjoyed it if Benny had had a couple of runs to work with.”

It was everything Sheets expected.

“I was ready to go,” Sheets said. “I tried to treat it like an October game. It was a pretty good pitching matchup and he came out on top.”

With the score 1-all in the seventh, Lamb hit his 14th home run of the season.

“He’s been doing well all year,” Sheets said. “I was more mad about the pitch I threw to Lance (Berkman for an RBI double in the fourth). I got the ball up and I know he can hit it up there. He just missed from hitting it out of the park.”

Lamb thought his home run was just good luck.

“He hung a curveball on a 3-2 pitch,” Lamb said. “He made a mistake. It was the only mistake he made to me.”

Brad Lidge followed Oswalt and finished for his 23rd save in 27 chances.

Chad Magruder pinch hit leading off the ninth and was on second when Scott Podesednik singled to right with two outs. Berkman’s throw was cut off by first baseman Jeff Bagwell, and Magruder stopped between third and home and was caught in a rundown. Bagwell threw home, and Magruder was tagged out by Lamb, the third baseman.

Sheets (11-12) dropped to 2-7 in 13 starts since the All-Star break, pitching his fourth complete game of the season. He struck out nine and walked none.

Milwaukee has lost four in a row and 8 of 11.

Geoff Jenkins’ 24th homer put Milwaukee ahead in the second, but Berkman’s RBI double tied the score in the fourth.


Keith Ginter at first appeared to hit his 15th homer in the third inning, but after Astros manager Phil Garner argued with second-base umpire Jim Joyce, the umpires conferred and decided the ball hit the yellow line above the visitor’s bullpen in left field and was a double. Ginter had to come out of the dugout and go back to second. … Ginter, Milwaukee’s second baseman, was charged with an error in the third inning when he ran far to his left and dropped Craig Biggio’s foul popup.

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