MILWAUKEE (AP) – Andy Pettitte won his fifth straight start and became a 15-game winner for the seventh time, leading the Houston Astros over the Milwaukee Brewers 7-5 Saturday night.

Pettitte allowed three runs in 6 2-3 innings. He also helped himself at the plate, scoring a run in the second and driving in a run with a suicide squeeze in the third.

The win kept Houston a half-game ahead of the Florida Marlins in the NL wild-card race.

Pettitte (15-9) improved to 4-0 against the Brewers this season. He is 12-2 in 16 starts since the All-Star break. The left-hander was limited to a career-low six wins – his only year in single digits – in an injury-shortened 2004 season.

Rickie Weeks and pinch-hitter Prince Fielder had run-scoring hits in the ninth before Brad Lidge got two outs for his 20th straight save and 36th in 39 chances.

Pettitte’s only major blemish came in the third, when Corey Hart, pinch hitting for the ineffective Tomo Ohka, hit the first pitch he saw into the left-field bullpen for a two-run homer.

Ohka (10-8) gave up five runs, six hits and three walks in three innings for the Brewers (70-72), who were trying to get back to .500 for the first time since Aug. 7.

Craig Biggio had three hits for Houston, including his 600th double in the second inning. Lance Berkman added a two-run homer in the eighth, his 19th.

Houston scored five runs in the first three innings.

Luke Scott snapped an 0-for-16 slide with a bloop RBI single in the first to make it 1-0.

Houston added two more in the second. Pettitte reached on Weeks’ error with two outs. Willy Taveras then singled and both runners scored on Biggio’s double to the right-center field gap.

Houston made it 5-0 in the third. Berkman drew a leadoff walk and Mike Lamb walked with one out. Adam Everett doubled to score Berkman and Ohka walked Brad Ausmus intentionally to load the bases.

Pettitte’s pop-up bunt attempt landed in front of the charging Ohka to score Lamb. It was the third RBI of the season for Pettitte, who entered play hitting .100 with five hits in 50 at-bats.

The Brewers added a run off Pettitte in the seventh on a two-out RBI single by pinch-hitter Jeff Cirillo. Chad Qualls relieved Pettitte and walked Brady Clark, but got J.J. Hardy to pop out to end the inning.

Berkman’s two-out homer to right in the eighth sealed the victory.

Notes: Biggio is the 13th player in major league history with 600 doubles. He is also the only player in baseball history to have 600 doubles, 2,700 hits, 250 home runs and 400 stolen bases. … Scott left the game after crashing full speed into the wall trying to rob Hart of his home run. His status was unknown. … Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt are 32-12 combined after the All-Star break. … Astros 3B Morgan Ensberg (hand) missed his fourth consecutive game.

AP-ES-09-10-05 2233EDT

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