HOUSTON (AP) -- Given a fresh start by Houston's new manager, Tim
Redding responded with a stellar performance.
Redding pitched three-hit ball over five innings to lead the
Astros 6-3 over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night."Phil [Garner] is unbelievable about pumping people up. He told
me before the game that the slate was clean and to go out there
like I was 0-0 with a zero ERA," Redding said after snapping a
three game losing streak."He said that he didn't care what my numbers were before, that
I should just go out there tonight and pitch like it was Game 7 of
the World Series," Redding added. "For him to come up to me and
say that was very reassuring."Adam Everett and pinch-hitter Jason Lane homered for the Astros,
who had three sacrifice flies in the game. Houston improved to 4-5
since Garner replaced Jimy Williams as manager during the All-Star
break.Redding (4-6) was demoted to the bullpen after his start against
Texas on June 26. He made four relief appearances for the Astros
before making his 15th start of the season and struck out six and
walked three.Garner is optimistic about Redding's return to the starting
rotation."This should definitely boost his confidence," Garner said.
"Even though his command was not what we would have liked it to
be, he didn't give up any runs."Darren Oliver made his first appearance for Houston and struck
out three in two scoreless innings. Houston acquired Oliver from
Florida on Thursday.Brad Lidge pitched the ninth for his 10th save.Lane, pinch-hitting for Redding, hit his third homer of the
season in a three-run fifth inning. Craig Biggio then singled and
went to third on Everett's double. Biggio scored on a sacrifice fly
by Carlos Beltran, and Everett scored Jeff Kent's sacrifice fly to
make it 4-0.Ben Hendrickson (0-3) gave up four runs -- three earned -- and
seven hits in four innings. He walked one and struck out one."He showed improvement which was good," Brewers manager Ned
Yost said. "These young guys, when you bring them up, at times
they're going to take their lumps. You just have to let them go
through that."Yost added: "I thought he was more confident and made better
pitches. When he got in that bases-loaded jam, he didn't fold and
he got out of it. That showed a lot."Everett hit his sixth homer of the season in the seventh to give
Houston a 5-0 advantage.Milwaukee cut the deficit to 5-3 in the eighth behind
consecutive homers by Lyle Overbay and pinch-hitter Brady Clark,
both off reliever Mike Gallo. Overbay's homer, his 11th, came after
a single by Geoff Jenkins. It was the first back-to-back home runs
for the Brewers this season.Lane added a sacrifice fly in the eighth to make it 6-3.The Astros took the early lead in the first on an RBI single by
Lance Berkman.Houston loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth but was
unable to score when Morgan Ensberg's groundball forced Berkman at
the plate and Raul Chavez hit into a double play.
Biggio leads all major league leadoff hitters with 15 home
runs ... The Houston bullpen leads the NL with 309 strikeouts.
Lidge struck out two and leads all major league relievers with 88
strikeouts ... Milwaukee leads the NL in pinch-hits with 37. ...
Milwaukee has hit 17 home runs against Houston this season, its
most against any team.