MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Andy Pettitte knows there is a reason he has
been a 15-game winner seven times in his career.
"I played for the Yankees for nine years," he said. "When you
make 34 starts for that team, you are going to win a lot of
ballgames. If I stay healthy and make my starts for any team I play
on I should be able to win."Pettitte allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings Saturday night for
his fifth straight victory as the Houston Astros held off the
Milwaukee Brewers 7-5. Houston remained a half-game ahead of the
Florida Marlins in the NL wild-card race.
Andy Pettitte: Before and After
Before All-Star break
After All-Star break
Pettitte (15-9) improved to 4-0 against the Brewers this season
and is 9-2 in 12 starts since the All-Star break. He also helped
himself at the plate, scoring a run in the second and driving in a
run with a suicide squeeze in the third.The left-hander was limited to a career-low six wins -- his only
year in single digits -- in an injury-shortened 2004 season."Andy pitched very well," Astros manager Phil Garner said.
"He's actually pitched with more velocity than he had tonight, and
a little bit better control, but he's pitched well the whole
year."Rickie Weeks and pinch-hitter Prince Fielder had run-scoring
hits in the ninth before Brad Lidge got two outs for his 20th
straight save and 36th in 39 chances.Pettitte's only major blemish came in the third, when Corey
Hart, pinch hitting for the ineffective Tomo Ohka, hit the first
pitch he saw into the left-field bullpen for a two-run homer."He's as tough as they come," Brewers manager Ned Yost said.
"He doesn't make mistakes."Ohka (10-8) gave up five runs, six hits and three walks in three
innings for the Brewers (70-72), who were trying to get back to
.500 for the first time since Aug. 7."He just struggled," Yost said. "They didn't hit the ball
hard, but they found holes. They put five runs on the board on him
quick."Craig Biggio had three hits for Houston, including his 600th
double in the second inning. Lance Berkman added a two-run homer in
the eighth, his 19th, to seal the victory."Obviously, 600 doubles is a heck of a lot of doubles," Biggio
said. "I am real proud of it. I remember hitting 500 at home, and
who knows if you are ever going to get to 600?"Houston scored five runs in the first three innings.Luke Scott snapped an 0-for-16 slide with a bloop RBI single in
the first to make it 1-0.Houston added two more in the second. Pettitte reached on Weeks'
error with two outs. Willy Taveras then singled and both runners
scored on Biggio's double to the right-center field gap.Houston made it 5-0 in the third. Berkman drew a leadoff walk
and Mike Lamb walked with one out. Adam Everett doubled to score
Berkman and Ohka walked Brad Ausmus intentionally to load the
bases.Pettitte's pop-up bunt attempt landed in front of the charging
Ohka to score Lamb. It was the third RBI of the season for
Pettitte, who entered play hitting .100 with five hits in 50
at-bats.The Brewers added a run off Pettitte in the seventh on a two-out
RBI single by pinch-hitter Jeff Cirillo. Chad Qualls relieved
Pettitte and walked Brady Clark, but got J.J. Hardy to pop out to
end the inning."I didn't feel like I had great stuff tonight as far as
velocity and stuff like that," Pettitte said. "I just went with
what I had and tried to keep it down and stay away from their
Biggio is the 13th player in major league history with 600
doubles. He is also the only player in baseball history to have 600
doubles, 2,700 hits, 250 home runs and 400 stolen bases. ... Scott
left the game after crashing full speed into the wall trying to rob
Hart of his home run. He suffered a bruised hip and is day-to-day.
... Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt are 32-12 combined after
the All-Star break. ... Astros 3B Morgan Ensberg (hand) missed his
fourth consecutive game.