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Taveras' hit-streak ends at 30 as Astros win fourth straight

HOUSTON (AP) -- Roy Oswalt got a big contract and the Astros got
another win.

The only thing that went wrong for Houston was that Willy
Taveras' 30-game hitting streak ended.

Pinch-hitter Jason Lane had a grand slam during Houston's
seven-run eighth inning, and the Astros beat the Milwaukee Brewers
10-3 Tuesday night to match a season high with their fourth
straight victory.

Oswalt pitched seven innings but didn't get a decision on his
29th birthday. Still, he received a great present after the game
when the team announced that the right-hander agreed to a $73
million, five-year contract extension -- the biggest multiyear deal
ever given to an Astros pitcher.

The 2005 NL championship series MVP is ecstatic about remaining
in Houston.

"We have the team to win. Last year we played unbelievable
ball, and we have the same structure here to win," Oswalt said.
"Hopefully, over the next four or five years, we can put the team
together, including this year."

A two-time 20-game winner, Oswalt passed up a chance to become a
free agent after the 2007 season. And the Astros are thrilled that
he's staying.

"Roy is one of the premier pitchers in baseball," owner
Drayton McLane said. "You can look at his statistics for the last
five years and he's as good as there is in baseball."

Taveras went 0-for-3, ending his hitting streak at 30 games --
the second-longest in the majors this season behind Chase Utley's
35-game run for the Philadelphia Phillies from June 23 to Aug. 3.

Taveras was hit twice by Tomo Ohka's pitches, with the second
one plunking him in the back and sending him to the dirt in the
seventh inning. He stayed down for a couple of minutes and was
tended to by trainers before slowly trotting to first base.

Taveras' hitting streak is the longest in Astros history,
surpassing Jeff Kent's 25-game streak in 2004.

"It was a little tough to lose it that way because I didn't
have the opportunities," Taveras said. "It was a little
frustrating to get hit twice. I would have liked to have had clean
at-bats."

But he was still able to look at the bright side.

"It was real strange for me, but the good thing is we won and I
can start another streak," Taveras said.

Brewers manager Ned Yost was disappointed that Ohka plunked
Taveras in the first inning.

"Both the pitches got away. You don't see that very much,"
Yost said. "The last thing you want to do is to put Taveras on
base to start the game, with his ability to steal bases."

Craig Biggio hit an early two-run homer for the Astros, but the
score was tied at 3 before Houston's wild eighth inning.

Biggio walked leading off before a single by Lance Berkman.
Aubrey Huff's long single against Brian Shouse (1-2) bounced off
the hand-operated scoreboard in left field and scored the go-ahead
run.

Adam Everett had an RBI single later in the inning before Brad
Ausmus' bases-loaded walk scored Huff to make it 6-3.

Lane's grand slam to left field was the first of his career and
Houston's second this season. It was Houston's first pinch-hit slam
since Gregg Zaun connected in June 2002.

Chad Qualls (5-3) had two strikeouts in one inning for the win,
and the Astros broke a five-game home losing streak.

Houston led 3-0 in the seventh before Oswalt gave up three
straight doubles that cut the lead to 3-2.

He had allowed just one hit and retired 14 straight batters
before Bill Hall's double leading off the inning. Gabe Gross and
Corey Hart followed with run-scoring doubles before Hart scored on
a sacrifice fly that tied it at 3.

Oswalt allowed four hits and three runs and struck out seven in
seven innings.

Astros manager Phil Garner was impressed by the way his team
remained focused after the Brewers tied the game.

"To come back like that says a lot," he said.

But he knows the Astros still have much work to do if they hope
to make the playoffs.

"Let's not make it what it's not," Garner said. "This felt
good, but we've got a long way to go."

Ausmus agreed that Houston can't get too carried away.

"We're just going to play and we're not going to worry about
anyone else," he said. "There are too many teams involved in the
wild card to even scoreboard-watch."

The Astros led early after a home run by Luke Scott in the
second. Scott's fourth homer sailed just into the right-field
stands, over a fan holding a sign with the Astros symbol
illuminated with red lights.

Biggio extended the lead to 3-0 with a two-run shot to left in
the sixth. It was his 17th homer of the year.

Ohka allowed five hits and three runs in 6 2-3 innings.

Game notes
Even with 3B Mike Lamb's error in the first inning, the
Astros still lead the NL with the fewest errors (58). ... A group
of fans in the second level displayed a huge sign that said "Happy
Birthday Roy Oswalt" in large multicolored writing.