The streaking Milwaukee Brewers scored three runs in the seventh inning to overcome the Houston Astros 4-3 on Thursday for their eighth win in nine contests.
Prince Fielder came through with a two-RBI single to tie the game and Corey Hart had the go-ahead double as the Brewers overcame a 3-0 deficit against Houston starter Roy Oswalt.
“It’s nice when you can find a way to win when a guy like that is starting for the other team,” Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun told reporters.
Four Milwaukee (26-15) relievers combined to throw four scoreless innings and Troy Hoffman recorded his 11th save of the year.
Houston jumped on top with a two-run home run from Hunter Pence in the second, and a solo shot from Miguel Tejada in the fourth.
Shortstop Tejada, who has been swinging a hot bat and came into the game batting .425 with three homers in his last 11 games, finished 2-for-4.
The Astros (18-21) had a chance to score another run in the fifth but Lance Berkman was called out on a close play at home plate that resulted in the ejection of both Berkman and manager Cecil Cooper, who argued the call.
Braun picked up an RBI when he grounded into a fielder’s choice in the fifth to help Milwaukee get a run back.
Brewers starter Jeff Suppan pitched five innings and allowed three runs before turning it over to his bullpen in the no-decision.
Oswalt was enjoying a solid day on the mound for Houston before reaching the seventh. He finished six-and-a-third innings and struck out seven batters while surrendering 10 hits and three runs.
The team’s annual top pitcher, Oswalt is just 1-2 in this campaign and is throwing well below his usual standards.
“[Oswalt] threw a lot of pitches there, but he still battled and he showed why he’s one of the best pitchers in the league,” Cooper said. “Even in the seventh — it took quite a bit out of him. We have to find a way to shut it down in an inning without giving up the lead right there.”
CARDINALS 3, CUBS 1
At St Louis, Adam Wainwright came within an out of the St Louis Cardinals’ second complete game during a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs and Albert Pujols hit a first-inning homer that knocked out the “I” on the Big Mac Land sign in left field.
Wainwright (4-2) allowed five hits in eight-and-two-third innings, striking out seven with one walk before Ryan Franklin got Milton Bradley to line out with a man on for his 11th save in 12 chances.
The Cubs were limited to two runs in the series and have lost four in a row for the second time this season, and also have dropped five of six to the Cardinals.
Joel Pineiro threw a three-hitter in the series opener on Tuesday and Chris Carpenter worked five scoreless innings on Wednesday.
PHILLIES 12, REDS 5
In Cincinnati, Chase Utley homered and drove in four runs as the Philadelphia Phillies’ powerful offense overcame another disappointing performance by a starter to beat the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.
Utley had a two-run single and a double off Micah Owings (3-5), who got nine outs and showed the strain of throwing a lot of innings lately.
Utley also had one of the Phillies’ four solo homers — Greg Dobbs, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez connected, as well.
Also on Thursday it was:
• Nationals 5, Pirates 4
• Rockies 9, Braves 0
• Diamondbacks 4, Marlins 3
Jason Bay set a Boston record with his 11th straight homer with runners on base as the Red Sox won 5-1 on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays.