Astros 4, Brewers 3

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HOUSTON (AP)—The Houston Astros weren’t worried about style points after their latest victory.

Jeff Bagwell homered and drove in three runs, becoming the 29th player in major league history to both score and drive in 1,500 runs, and the Houston Astros rallied to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 on Saturday night.

The Astros committed four errors and were outhit 11-6 but the victory, coupled with losses by San Francisco and Chicago, moved the Astros one game behind the Giants and a half-game behind the Cubs in the NL wild-card race.

“We were fortunate tonight—sometimes you have to win ugly,” Bagwell said. “It’s hard to win like that, but our pitchers seemed to make big pitches when they had to and we came up with the hits when we had to. It’s very difficult to gain ground. They are all big games now.”

Bagwell had an RBI single in the third inning, and his two-run homer in the fifth gave him 1,502 RBIs and 1,500 runs scored—and put the Astros ahead for good.

The Astros won their 11th straight home game, a feat they last accomplished in 1987.

“Baggy was big with his big hit, but that’s what you have to do,” manager Phil Garner said. “You can’t make excuses, just figure out a way to get it done. We have thickened the plot a little. It’s getting interesting.”

With the Astros trailing 3-2 in the fifth, Craig Biggio hit a leadoff double but was thrown out at third trying to advance. Carlos Beltran followed with a walk on four pitches, and Bagwell homered to left on a 2-2 pitch.

Chad Harville (3-2) pitched two-thirds of an inning for the victory despite allowing one run, two hits and two walks. Brad Lidge pitched the ninth for his 24th save.

Gary Glover (1-1) allowed four runs and five hits in 4 1-3 innings in the loss, the Brewers’ fifth in seven games.

“The tone was kind of set for the game by my blunders,” Glover said. “I cost us the game three different times. On the pitch to Bagwell, I was trying to get it in but I guess I didn’t get it far enough in. If I execute on those three plays, we’re right in the game.”

Catcher Brad Ausmus preserved the Astros’ lead in the sixth. Scott Podsednik, trying to score from second on a fly out by Keith Ginter, barreled into Ausmus at the plate and flattened the Astros catcher, who held on to the ball.

Houston took a 2-0 lead in the third on Carlos Beltran’s sacrifice fly and Bagwell’s RBI single.

Milwaukee scored three times in the fifth to go up 3-2. Podsednik hit a one-out single off starter Pete Munro and stole second before Keith Ginter walked. Harville came in and gave up Overbay’s run-scoring double. Geoff Jenkins followed with a two-run single to make it 3-2.

Jenkins singled in the ninth with one out but Brady Clark was called out for interfering with catcher Raul Chavez on an attempted throw to second, and Russell Branyan struck out to end the game,

“When he came up to throw, he tripped over my back foot,” Clark said. “It kind of knocked us both off balance. I didn’t know what his interpretation was. That’s why I was looking at the replay. I didn’t really know what was going on. I couldn’t believe they were calling catcher’s interference.”

Podsednik stole four bases to tie a franchise single-game high and increase his NL lead to a career-high 60. John Jaha (1992) and Tommy Harper (1969) also stole four bases in a game for the franchise.

“I wish we could have had the pitch to Bagwell back,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “It can get real hard if you let it. But we’ve got to come back and just forget it. You can’t sit around and stew about it.”

Notes

The Astros are 6-4 since winning 12 straight from Aug. 27-Sept. 8. … Before their three-run fifth, the Brewers scored just twice in their previous 37 innings. … Houston has a .613 all-time winning percentage against Milwaukee, their highest against any NL foe. … Biggio has 22 homers, tying his career high. Biggio’s fifth inning double was the 560th of his career, tying him for 18th on the all-time list with Eddie Murray.

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