Pettitte pitches 5 2/3 scoreless innings

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Andy Pettitte's foot swelled, Morgan Ensberg's hand was wrapped and Lance Berkman wore ice packs around both knees.

Battered and bruised, the Houston Astros are alone atop the NL wild-card standings -- for now.

Pettitte pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings and Berkman hit a three-run homer to lead Houston past the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3
on Monday night.

The Astros moved a half-game ahead of Philadelphia and one game ahead of Florida with their 10th consecutive win over the Phillies. Washington is 1 games behind Houston, while the Mets trail by three games.

"It was a good win for us," said Pettitte, who left in the sixth because his left foot had swelled to the point where he was having trouble pushing off the mound.

Brett Myers' grounder up the middle in the third hit Pettitte's foot, but the left-hander stayed in a few more innings. Pettitte isn't expected to miss his next start.

Ensberg left the game with a bruised right hand after striking out in the fifth. He was hit by a pitch in the third inning, but X-rays on the hand were negative and he's day-to-day.

Pettitte (14-9) allowed three hits, struck out five and walked none. Dan Wheeler escaped a jam with the bases loaded in the seventh, and Brad Lidge pitched the ninth for his 33rd save, although he gave up one run and had the tying run at third and the winning run at second before getting the final out.

Kenny Lofton, who led off the ninth with an infield single, scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-3 with two outs. Lidge then walked Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins doubled into the right field corner to put runners on second and third. Lidge struck out pinch-hitter Endy Chavez to end the game.

"We had a chance at the end but couldn't get it done," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Berkman's drive in the first off Myers (12-7) gave Pettitte all the runs he needed. Pettitte lowered his ERA to 2.42 and has allowed three earned runs or less in 15 straight starts. He has given up one run or less in 11 of those outings.

"He's pitched very, very good for us," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "I'm surprised his control has been better than most guys in their first year after surgery."

Pettitte, who had elbow surgery on Aug. 24, 2004, left after Jason Michaels doubled in the sixth, but Chad Qualls retired Bobby Abreu on a slow grounder on his first pitch to end the inning.

The Phillies cut it to 4-1 on an RBI single by Mike Lieberthal
off Qualls in the seventh. Tomas Perez then singled to load the bases and chase Qualls with one out. Mike Gallo entered and struck out pinch-hitter Howard. But Gallo walked Rollins to force in the
second run.

Wheeler relieved and retired pinch-hitter Michael Tucker on a hard grounder to second to leave the bases full.

A fielding error by third baseman David Bell allowed Willy Taveras to reach safely to start the game. Taveras stole second and scored when Ensberg singled to left after Craig Biggio walked.

Berkman followed with a liner deep into the right field seats, giving the Astros a 4-0 lead. It was Berkman's 17th homer and the third straight game he's connected.

"We know it's an important series and they know it's important," Berkman said. "A lot of times you can get to a guy before he settles in and gets his good control. A lot of times
that's how you beat a good pitcher, get to him early."

Myers allowed four runs -- three earned -- and five hits in seven innings. He struck out six and retired the last 10 batters he faced.

"I was trying to keep us in the game so we can rally," Myers said. "We showed a lot of heart coming back."

Game notes
The Phillies haven't beaten the Astros since a 3-1 victory in Houston on May 18, 2003. ... Rollins has a 12-game hitting streak and Lieberthal has hit in 10 straight. ... Taveras got his
major league-leading 64th infield hit. ... Ensberg's RBI gave him 96 this season, a team record for third basemen. Sean Berry had 95 in 1996. ... Phillies closer Billy Wagner faced his former team for the first time, pitching a scoreless ninth.