Astros rally to preserve playoff hopes

Published: Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
ATLANTA - Pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro's single drove in the tie-breaking run as Houston scored three times in the ninth inning and held on to beat Atlanta 5-4 Saturday night to preserve their playoff hopes.
Andy Pettitte, moved up one day in the rotation, allowed only four hits in seven innings. He left with a 2-1 lead, but Adam LaRoche hit reliever Trever Miller's first pitch in the eighth inning for a game-tying home run to right field.
The Astros answered quickly in the ninth with help from the two errors by the Braves.
Brad Ausmus' sharp grounder off Braves closer Bob Wickman (0-2) bounced past second baseman Marcus Giles for the first error. Pinch-hitter Chris Burke followed with an infield single to third base, and Ausmus advanced to third on Chipper Jones' throw to first.
Palmeiro's single to right drove in Ausmus for a 3-2 lead. Palmeiro was forced out at second on Mike Lamb's fielder's choice grounder. Lance Berkman followed with a grounder to Edgar Renteria, whose throw to second base sailed into right field as Burke scored from third and Lamb scored from first. All three runs in the inning were unearned.
Miller (2-3) gave up one run in one inning. Dan Wheeler gave up RBI singles to Brian McCann and Daryle Ward before striking out LaRoche for his ninth save in 12 chances.
  • CARDINALS 3, BREWERS 2: Pinch-hitter Scott Spiezio hit a bases-loaded triple with two outs in the eighth inning and the host Cardinals cut their magic number for clinching the NL Central to one, rallying past Milwaukee. The Cardinals won for only the third time in 11 games.
  • DODGERS 4, GIANTS 2: Greg Maddux pitched Los Angeles back into the playoffs, outpitching star rookie Matt Cain, hit a single and even stole a base as the visiting Dodgers won their sixth straight game.
    Maddux (15-14) allowed three hits and two runs, struck out four and didn't walk a batter in seven strong innings.
  • PADRES 3, DIAMONDBACKS 1: David Wells' first victory since he was traded to San Diego a month ago put the visiting Padres in the playoffs for the second straight year. The 43-year-old left-hander threw six scoreless innings and Mike Cameron hit a two-run homer to power San Diego.
  • PHILLIES 4, MARLINS 3: Philadelphia overcame an early deficit and nursed a one-run lead through the final seven innings to beat host Florida.
    Tom Gordon pitched around a one-out double in the ninth, retiring Dan Uggla on a fly ball that Shane Victorino caught in center field for the final out.
  • ROCKIES 11, CUBS 9 (14): Jeff Baker singled in two runs with two out in the 14th inning, and visiting Colorado beat the Cubs after seeing an eight-run lead disappear.
    Ramon Ramirez (4-3) earned the win, allowing two hits in 1 scoreless innings.
  • PIRATES 3, REDS 0: Marty McLeary pitched seven shutout innings in only his second major league start and host Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati to end an eight-game losing streak.
  • METS 13, NATIONALS 0: Julio Franco tied a career high with five RBIs, helping Tom Glavine earn his 290th career win in the NL East champion Mets' victory over the host Nationals, which will be without manager Frank Robinson in 2007.
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