HOUSTON – Morgan Ensberg hit a tying home run in the eighth inning and Adam Everett scored three batters later on Rob Mackowiak’s throwing error, rallying the Houston Astros to a 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

Dan Wheeler (2-3) allowed one run on one hit in the eighth, and Brad Lidge pitched the ninth for his 29th save in 32 chances.

After Ensberg homered off Rick White (3-5), Everett singled. Chris Burke then singled to right and Mackowiak threw wild to third base trying to get Everett. The ball went into the dugout and Everett was awarded home plate.

Pittsburgh rookie Zach Duke made his eighth start of the season since coming up from Triple-A Indianapolis July 1 and remained undefeated (5-0), but he trailed for the second time in his career when the Astros scored two runs in the first inning. The 22-year-old Duke trailed the Dodgers before winning 9-4 last Saturday.

In four innings, Duke gave up four runs on eight hits and three walks, striking out two.

Roy Oswalt allowed four runs on 10 hits and two walks in seven innings, and is 0-1 with two no-decisions in his last three starts after winning eight of his previous nine. He has allowed at least nine hits and three runs in each of the last three starts.

Jason Lane was 3-for-5 with three RBI for the Astros, who remained 11/2 games ahead of Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race.

Pittsburgh has lost five straight to Houston.

In the first, Craig Biggio doubled in Willy Taveras, and one out later, Lane’s single scored Biggio for the 2-0 lead.

The Pirates closed the lead to a run in the fourth when Brad Eldred hit his third home run of the year.

Lane’s two-run double in the fourth made it 4-1.

Jason Bay drove in Freddy Sanchez with a single to bring the Pirates to 4-2 in the sixth inning.

In the seventh, pinch-hitter Nate McLouth got his first major league hit and RBI with a double to left to drive in Jack Wilson and narrow the Astros lead to 4-3.

Two outs later, Mackowiak drove in McLouth with a single to tie the game at 4.

Jose Castillo homered on the second pitch he saw from reliever Wheeler in the eighth to give the Pirates a 5-4 lead.


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