Streaking Astros ride Biggio slam past Brewers

Astros 6, Brewers 5

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Bill Hall said Craig Biggio had a little room to spare -- about six inches.

That's the way things have gone so far this season for the Astros.

Biggio hit his first grand slam in 13 years with one out in the ninth and Houston beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 on Friday night to extend its winning streak to five.

Biggio's third career grand slam came on his 2,945th hit.

"It's not something that I do a lot, that's for sure," Biggio said. "I was just trying to get the ball up in the air a little bit and definitely got the bonus out of it. It was just one of those crazy games."

Houston, which rallied for five runs in the eighth inning in its previous two games, opened the ninth when Chris Burke led off with a bunt single off Matt Wise (0-1). Adam Everett walked on four pitches while trying to sacrifice Burke over.

Brad Ausmus also tried a sacrifice bunt, but catcher Johnny Estrada couldn't throw out Burke at third, loading the bases with no outs. Reliever Greg Aquino struck out pinch-hitter Mike Lamb before Biggio's slam into the Brewers' bullpen in left center field.

"He threw me a breaking ball, and I was able to just get it far enough," Biggio said.

Hall tried a leaping grab and came up just short, looking up in the sky in disbelief.

"I took a good route to it and I just tried to jump and catch it," Hall said. "I just missed it by six inches or maybe even a little less than that."

Biggio's previous grand slams came July 24, 1994, against Pittsburgh and Sept. 14, 1989, against the Dodgers. Biggio, in his first full season in the majors in 1989, said he wasn't even supposed to play that day in Los Angeles when he faced John Wetteland.

"I remember he absolutely abused the daylights out of me the first time up," said Biggio, who hit his 283rd career homer and scored two runs Friday night to give him 1,785 in his career. "The next time I hit one off of him."

Rick White (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory. The Astros are 6-1 on the road.

"You just get the feeling on the bench that something's going to work," manager Phil Garner said of the Astros' late-game heroics.

It was almost all for naught.

Former Astros closer Brad Lidge walked Tony Gwynn and Rickie Weeks to begin the ninth, and after a strikeout, Prince Fielder homered down the right field line to cut the lead to 6-5.

Lidge then got Hall to ground out before Estrada hit a double to the gap. The Astros brought in Trever Miller to face pinch-hitter Corey Hart, who was intentionally walked, and then went to Chad Qualls, who got pinch-hitter Gabe Gross to ground out for his first save.

Everett and Ausmus also helped chase Brewers starter Ben Sheets by hitting back-to-back doubles in the seventh to tie the game at 2, the Astros' first run since the first inning.

Biggio, in his 20th season with Houston, scored that run by walking, stealing second and going to third on a throwing error before an RBI groundout by Lance Berkman, who is hitting .339 with 18 homers and 69 RBIs against the Brewers.

Sheets allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out four.

Astros starter Matt Albers, making his third major-league start and first this season, labored through six innings. He allowed two runs and six hits with three walks. Albers was filling in for Jason Jennings, who went on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right elbow.

The Brewers scored on Hall's single in the first and J.J. Hardy's leadoff homer in the fifth before the ninth-inning rally. Milwaukee stranded 11 runners.

"We hit some balls hard against the kid. We did have a couple of opportunities that we didn't capitalize on," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "It was tough seeing him for the first time. He threw a really nice game."

While it was Carlos Lee's first game back in Milwaukee since he left in a trade last July and went on to sign a six-year, $100 million contract with Houston, the night belonged to Biggio.

"We could write a book about him and there's probably going to be a few written," Garner said. "You can't overstate it, he's been a terrific -- and continues to be a terrific -- player for us. He came through big tonight."

Game notes
Lee went 1-for-4 with a strikeout and was lustily booed every time he came to bat or made a play in the field. ... Brewers GM Doug Melvin said he talked with unhappy reliever Jose Capellan on Thursday and that the pitcher told him that he wouldn't cause any more problems after leaving Triple-A Nashville without permission for two days this week. Capellan wants to be traded.