Astros 6, Brewers 1

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HOUSTON (AP)—Ben Sheets felt ill and struggled from the start. Roy Oswalt felt sick and made it all the way to the end.

In this battle of ailing aces, Oswalt easily came out the winner.

Oswalt pitched a four-hitter, and Adam Everett and Craig Biggio led off the first inning with back-to-back homers Wednesday night to lead the Houston Astros to a 6-1 victory over the reeling Milwaukee Brewers.

Oswalt (3-1) struck out seven without walking a batter in his third straight win. It was the first time he went the distance since a 4-0 victory over Montreal on Aug. 6, and was the sixth complete game of his career—third against Milwaukee.

“He was absolutely terrific,” Astros manager Phil Garner said. “It was the kind of performance you dream of.”

Perhaps because of his illness, Oswalt worked quickly to end this game. He came through with an efficient 96-pitch outing in a game that was done in 2 hours, 11 minutes, the sixth-fastest in Minute Maid Park history.

But between some loud sniffles after the game, a weary-looking Oswalt could hardly enjoy his gem.

“If I could breathe,” Oswalt said, “I’d feel a lot better.”

Houston helped him out with a rare burst of power early, roughing up an ailing Sheets to hand the Brewers their sixth straight loss and seventh in eight games.

Everett and Biggio connected on Sheets’ third and fourth pitches of the game for the Astros, who entered ranked 29th in the league in homers.

“We knew he had been under the weather,” said Everett, who went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs. “Any time you can score a couple in the first inning when Roy is pitching, you know you’ll be in good shape.”

Everett’s first homer of the season landed in the Crawford Boxes in left field, 342 feet away. Biggio followed with a 389-foot shot to left, giving Houston a 2-0 lead.

Astros third baseman Mike Lamb, starting in place of Morgan Ensberg, tripled in the sixth and scored on Jason Lane’s double.

The Astros added three more runs in the seventh, getting run-scoring singles from Everett and Biggio and a sacrifice fly to center from Jeff Bagwell.

Pitching with flulike symptoms, Sheets (1-3) settled down after the shaky start but didn’t get nearly enough run support.

Sheets lasted only six innings and was clearly tiring near the end. He allowed six runs—five earned—and nine hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.

“I felt especially good right before the first two home runs,” Sheets said, jokingly. “Oswalt had better pitches. He located the ball, too.”

Brady Clark singled in Bill Hall in the third for Milwaukee’s run.

That is the only run the Brewers have scored in 20 1-3 innings of Sheets’ past three starts. It’s the same problem that plagued the two-time All-Star last year—Sheets got just 19 runs of support in his 14 losses, including one run or fewer in 10 outings.

“Everybody is frustrated now but we’ll get it turned around if they just go about business,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said.

Notes

Brewers 2B Junior Spivey was ejected in the ninth for arguing with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck after grounding out. … Hall ended a 0-for-12 slump with a single in the third. He went 2-for-3. … RF Geoff Jenkins returned to the Brewers’ starting lineup Wednesday after missing three of the past four games with flulike symptoms. He finished 0-for-3. …The Brewers are 4-1 against Pittsburgh and 1-8 against other teams. … Biggio got the 1,000th RBI of his career on the homer. He added another with his RBI double in the seventh. The only player with more for the Astros is 1B Bagwell with 1,518.

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