Brewers 3, Astros 2

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HOUSTON (AP)—Ben Sheets lobbied for a complete game and manager Ned Yost gave in.

Sheets scattered eight hits in his third complete game—all in the last five starts—and Geoff Jenkins hit a tiebreaking home run as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Houston Astros 3-2 on Saturday.

Yost almost pulled Sheets for closer Derrick Turnbow.

“My instincts were to go to Turnbow in the ninth,” Yost said. “Benny came in and said he felt good and could finish. I told him I was thinking of Turnbow and he said, `I feel great. Let me finish it.”’

It was the 11th career complete game for Sheets (9-9), who struck out eight and walked none. He has allowed only eight walks in his last 11 games.

“Benny’s a workhorse,” Yost said. “He’s a strong kid and he stays in tiptop shape.

“And he’s real competitive. He’s kind of like Roger Clemens. He has a lot of bulldog in him. He’s a guy who wants to be there in crunch time.”

A six-inning stint at Colorado in which he gave up 10 runs last Monday is the only time he hasn’t gone nine innings in his last five outings. One of those was in Milwaukee’s 10-inning victory over Philadelphia on Aug. 5.

“I felt real good and thought I could get three more outs,” Sheets said. “I have been feeling good the last five starts. Even in Colorado, I felt I was throwing the ball well.”

The Astros, who have lost six of eight, couldn’t come through with clutch hits and slipped a half-game behind Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race.

“(Sheets) was good but we have to win these games,” manager Phil Garner said. “We just didn’t drive in the runs when we needed them.”

With Sheets coming off his poor outing at Colorado, the Astros thought they could beat him for the third time in as many starts this season.

“He has always competed against us,” Lance Berkman said. “I felt like if there was ever a game or ever a time to get to him, it was tonight. But it’s a testament to him that he was able to win without his best stuff.

“We had some chances and I’m still trying to figure out why I missed that hanging curveball (in a sixth-inning strikeout). The double late in the game was good but that wasn’t the story. We should have been ahead before that.”

Houston has scored just seven runs total in its last six losses.

“I think we’re not playing well right now,” Morgan Ensberg said. “It’s a very frustrating time for us. I had a lot of pitches tonight to hit, which was surprising. But I didn’t do it.”

Jenkins snapped a 2-all tie in the seventh with his 17th home run off Chad Harville (0-2).

Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez had control problems in his five innings, walking four and hitting two batters. But he was helped by two double plays and allowed two runs and six hits.

Rodriguez, whose first major league win came at Milwaukee on May 28, is still tied for second among NL rookies with eight wins.

The Brewers scored in the first when Ensberg mishandled Carlos Lee’s dribbler to third, allowing Corey Hart to score.

Milwaukee made it 2-0 in the fourth on another ball that didn’t leave the infield. With the bases loaded, Lyle Overbay hit a slow infield bouncer off Rodriguez’s glove that scored Moeller for a 2-0 lead. The Brewers had left eight on base by that time.

Houston got one back on Willy Taveras’ RBI single in the fifth inning.

The Astros tied it the next inning when Jason Lane doubled and Adam Everett drove him in with a single to center.

Notes

Astros C Humberto Quintero was hit on the helmet by Lee’s backswing in the first inning. Quintero sat on the field for several minutes, appearing stunned as the trainers examined him, then returned to play. … The Brewers, who could take the series with a win Sunday, haven’t won a series in Houston since Sept. 26-28, 2003, when they won two of three. That’s the only series Milwaukee has ever won at Minute Maid. … Taveras got two hits and two stolen bases and continues to lead all major league rookies with 140 hits and 31 stolen bases this season.

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