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Sheets gets sixth straight over Astros

Astros' Lance Berkman helps umpire with call after scoring past Brewers' catcher Keith Osik Thursday.
Astros' Lance Berkman helps umpire with call after scoring past Brewers' catcher Keith Osik Thursday.
Darren Hauck, Associated Press

MILWAUKEE — Ben Sheets once again beat Houston as the Milwaukee Brewers stopped a six-game losing streak, beating the NL Central-leading Astros 5-3.

The Astros stayed one game ahead of Chicago. St. Louis lost to Colorado 9-4 and remained 2 1/2 games behind Houston.

Houston had won three in a row and six of seven. The Astros finished 7-3 on their 11-day road trip.

Sheets (11-12) matched his career high for wins and defeated the Astros for the sixth straight time.

Sheets had lost five in a row overall, but stopped that skid by allowing three runs and eight hits in eight innings.

Dan Kolb pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 17 chances.

Ron Villone (6-4) pitched six innings for Houston. He allowed three earned runs on five hits.

EXPOS 3, CUBS 2: At San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tomo Ohka took a two-hit shutout into the ninth inning and Orlando Cabrera hit two doubles and a triple as the Montreal Expos held off the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs' two-run rally in the ninth fell short. They stayed one game behind NL Central leader Houston.

The Expos won the series against Chicago 2-1 and finished their 22 "home" games in Hiram Bithorn Stadium with a 13-9 record.

Ohka (9-12) outpitched Mark Prior (15-6), and the Expos' bullpen barely held on.

Chicago trailed 3-2 when Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou opened the ninth with singles. Rocky Biddle relieved and walked Aramis Ramirez, loading the bases with no outs.

Eric Karros followed with an RBI single, but Alex Gonzalez then grounded into a double play as another run scored.

Joey Eischen relieved and retired pinch-hitter Randall Simon on a grounder with a runner on second for first save.

ROCKIES 9, CARDINALS 4: At St. Louis, Sterling Hitchcock struggled for the first time since joining the St. Louis Cardinals, surrendering four solo home runs in 3 1/3 innings in a to the Colorado Rockies.

Miguel Cairo hit a two-run homer for the Cardinals, who stayed 2 1/2 games behind Houston in the NL Central. St. Louis starts a three-game series at Houston on Friday night.

The Rockies are an NL-worst 17-33 since the All-Star break and have won only two of their last 11 games.

Darren Oliver (11-11) allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings to end a personal five-game losing streak.

Belliard set the tone with a leadoff homer in the first off Hitchcock (2-1), who allowed only two runs in his first 19 innings after being traded from the New York Yankees to the Cardinals on Aug. 22.

PADRES 5, GIANTS 4 (10): At San Diego, pinch-hitter Keith Lockhart hit two-run single in the bottom of the 10th to give the Padres the victory over the Giants. San Francisco had taken the lead in the top of the 10th with a solo homer by J.T. Snow.

REDS 3, PIRATES 2: At Cincinnati, D'Angelo Jimenez hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning to give the Cincinnati Reds a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Jimenez, acquired by the Reds from the Chicago White Sox in July, followed bunt singles by Ray Olmedo and Tim Hummel with his sixth homer for Cincinnati and 13th this season.

The crowd of 20,479 joined several members of the Reds and Pirates in observing a moment of silence before the game as a tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Rookie Scott Randall (2-1) pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Chris Reitsma pitched the ninth for his eighth save in 14 opportunities.

PHILLIES 8, BRAVES 3: At Atlanta, Bobby Abreu had three hits and Chase Utley homered — all in the first three innings — as Philadelphia denied Greg Maddux his 15th win with a victory over Atlanta.

The Phillies pulled within a half-game of idle Florida in the NL wild-card race.

Brett Myers (14-7) went seven innings, allowing a two-run homer to pinch-hitter Matt Franco in the fifth. Myers won his third straight decision.

Gary Sheffield went 3-for-4 and Marcus Giles doubled twice, tying the modern franchise record with 47 this season. Tommy Holmes also hit 47 in 1945 when the team was in Boston.

Maddux (14-11) has won at least 15 games for 15 straight seasons, tied with Cy Young for the longest streak ever. He left after 3 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs on 12 hits.