HOUSTON (AP) – Brad Ausmus snapped an eighth-inning tie with an RBI single and the Houston Astros rallied from four runs down Sunday to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-5 and sweep the three-game series.

Russ Springer (2-3) pitched a hitless eighth for the victory.

Brad Lidge worked the ninth inning for his 20th save in 23 chances. The game ended when Oscar Robles was thrown out by center fielder Willy Taveras as Robles tried to stretch a single into a double.

Morgan Ensberg singled to lead off the Astros’ eighth and Jason Lane walked. Two outs later, Ausmus slapped a single to right field to give the Astros their seventh win in eight games. They’ve won 16 of 20 to reach the All-Star break at 44-43.

Duaner Sanchez (2-4) allowed two hits in the eighth inning and took the loss for the Dodgers, who have dropped four straight.

Houston starter Brandon Backe allowed five runs, three earned, eight hits and a walk in six innings.

Los Angeles counterpart Odalis Perez was removed after allowing the first four batters to reach in the sixth inning when Houston scored four times to tie it 5-5. He gave up five runs, four earned, five hits and four walks.

Ensberg hit a two-run homer, his 24th of the year, to cut the Astros’ deficit to 5-3. Ensberg is just one short of matching the club record for home runs in a season by a third baseman, a mark he shares with Doug Rader.

After Jason Lane beat out an infield hit, Adam Everett tripled to deep left center to close the gap to 5-4 and chase Perez. Chris Burke followed with an RBI single off Franquelis Osoria to tie it.

In the first inning, Dodgers shortstop Robles threw wildly to second on an attempted double play and Taveras came all the way around to score on the error to give Houston a 1-0 lead.

Jason Repko’s RBI double into the left field corner tied it in the third. Jeff Kent was walked to load the bases and one out later, Antonio Perez drove in two runs with a single to right for a 3-1 lead.

Jason Phillips hit a two-run homer, his seventh of the year, in the fifth to give the Dodgers a 5-1 lead.

Notes: A wild pitch charged to Chad Qualls that allowed a Dodgers run in the seventh inning Saturday was changed to a passed ball for Brad Ausmus. The ruling lowered the season ERA of Roy Oswalt, who had just left the game, from 2.45 to 2.39. … Houston reliever Dan Wheeler missed Sunday’s game due to a death in the family. … Taveras got his major league leading 42nd infield hit in the seventh. … In the first inning, Houston’s Craig Biggio swiped his ninth base of the season. It was the sixth time he stole third. … Phillips has two home runs in four career at-bats against Backe. He hit a go-ahead solo shot on May 16, 2004, to give the New York Mets a 3-2 win in Houston. … Lidge’s sister, Kitty, sang the national anthem Sunday.

AP-ES-07-10-05 1724EDT


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