HOUSTON – Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman set an Astros record by hitting consecutive home runs twice in one game, and Andy Pettitte won his fifth straight decision to lead Houston past the Philadelphia Phillies 7-1 Monday night.

Jason Lane also connected for Houston, which has won eight of nine and 20 of 27.

The Phillies lost for only the fourth time in 13 games but have dropped seven of 10 on the road. They also have lost seven straight to the Astros and haven’t won in Houston since May 18, 2003.

The win moved the Astros a half-game ahead of Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race, three games behind Washington and Atlanta, who are tied for the NL East lead.

Pettitte (8-7) is 5-0 in seven starts since a 6-1 defeat June 14 at Baltimore. He is two wins short of his longest career win streak set in 2000 with the New York Yankees.

The left-hander allowed just Jimmy Rollins’ homer and seven hits in seven innings, striking out seven and walking three. Pettitte lowered his ERA to 2.73, his lowest mark ever through 20 starts.

The Astros got to Cory Lidle (8-9) early when Biggio and Berkman connected in the first inning. Biggio then hit his 15th of the season in the third with Willy Taveras on for a 4-0 lead. Berkman followed with his 11th home run to make it 5-0.

The double back-to-back homers by the same players were the first in Houston history. It was the first time it happened in the major leagues since May 18 last season when Matt Holliday and Jeromy Burnitz did it for Colorado in Cincinnati.

It also was the 15th multihomer game of Biggio’s career, and Berkman’s 14th.

Lidle lasted just five innings and lost his third straight start. He allowed seven runs, five earned, and seven hits – including five homers. Lidle gave up only nine home runs in his previous 20 starts. And he had allowed only one homer in 32 1-3 career innings against Houston coming in, spanning eight games and four starts.

Pettitte got out of jams in the third and fourth. Rollins homered in the fifth, his eighth.

Biggio reached on an error by second baseman Ramon Martinez in the bottom half. Two outs later, Lane hit his 15th homer for a 7-1 lead.

Notes: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel missed the game and will miss Tuesday’s game while attending the funeral of his sister, Janet, who passed away Saturday at age 64 in Virginia. Bench coach Gary Varsho is managing the club in his absence. … The back-to-back homers were the first for Houston since June 25 at Texas when Berkman and Morgan Ensberg did it. … In the third inning, Taveras got his major league-leading 49th infield single, one short of the club record set by Biggio in 1992. It was Taveras’ 20th bunt single. … Taveras then got his 24th stolen base, which ranks fourth in the NL.

AP-ES-07-25-05 2258EDT


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