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Berkman comes up big for Astros

9/9/2003

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- For awhile, it looked as if the Houston Astros
were going to slip into second place.

But Lance Berkman doubled home the go-ahead run with two outs in
the ninth inning and the Astros rallied past the Milwaukee Brewers
7-6 Tuesday night.

The Astros tied it on pinch-hitter Jose Vizcaino's three-run
homer in the eighth, then went on to their fifth win in six games.
Houston remained in a first-place tie with Chicago in the NL
Central.

"When you're down by three runs with four outs to go and come
back and win, that's big," Houston manager Jimy Williams said.
"Especially this time of year. This is a big win."

Milwaukee lost its fifth in a row.

"It's frustrating for everybody," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost
said. "That was a hard game to lose right there."

With two outs in Astros ninth, Dan Kolb (1-2) walked Jeff
Bagwell. Jeff Kent followed with a single and Berkman doubled.

"You've got to go out there and get people out," Kolb said.
"It's frustrating. The bullpen hasn't been doing very well lately.
We've got to pick it up or we're going to struggle all year."

Brad Lidge (6-3) pitched the eighth for the victory and Billy
Wagner closed in the ninth for his team-record 40th save.

"It's been this way all year for us," Wagner said. "We've got
guys who come through with key pitches or key hits all the time."

Vizcaino hit his third homer of the season, connecting on the
first pitch from reliever Luis Vizcaino.

"I was just looking to get a base hit to drive in a run,"
Vizcaino said. "I was looking for a first-pitch fastball and I got
one and was able to drive it. It was a big hit and luckily it helps
the team."

Milwaukee's Wes Obermueller, making his eighth start of the
season and seeking his first career victory, allowed three earned
runs on eight hits in six innings. The right-hander now has five
straight no-decisions.

"It happens," Obermueller said. "You have those years where
you go through something like this. The baseball gods, this is how
they wanted it to play out."

Houston starter Tim Redding, who has not won since a 2-1 victory
at Florida on Aug. 1, pitched five-plus innings, allowing three
earned runs and six hits.

With the score 3-all in the bottom of the sixth, Redding allowed
consecutive singles to Pete Zoccolillo and Wes Helms.

Rick White relieved and with two outs and the bases loaded, he
walked Scott Podsednik to give Milwaukee a 4-3 lead. Two pitches
later, Keith Ginter hit a two-run single to increase the lead to
6-3.

Richard Hidalgo's two-run homer, his 24th of the season, gave
Houston a 2-0 lead in the second.

Milwaukee took a 3-2 lead with two outs in the third. Brady
Clark was hit in the bill of his helmet with the bases loaded and
Richie Sexson followed with a two-run single.

Houston tied it at 3 in the fifth. Redding, who led off with a
single, was on third base when Bagwell hit a possible inning-ending
double-play ground ball to Helms at third. Helms threw to Ginter at
second base, but he dropped the ball and allowed Redding to score.
Notes:@ Podsednik stole his 14th consecutive base in the third
inning to tie the Brewers' NL record. Geoff Jenkins also stole 14
in a row in 2000. ... Zoccolillo's hit in the sixth was the first
of his career. ... With its two runs in the second, Houston has now
scored 60 runs and allowed 60 in that inning.