HOUSTON – Wandy Rodriguez pitched a career-high 7 1-3 innings, and Lance Berkman put Houston ahead to stay with a two-run, first-inning double in a 6-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers that extended the Astros’ winning streak to five.

Eric Bruntlett went 3-for-3 with four runs scored and two stolen bases as the Astros completed a three-game sweep.

Houston, which had just six hits, began the day with a half-game lead over Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race. The Phillies played Sunday night at the Florida Marlins, who started Sunday 21/2 games back of the Astros.

Rodriguez (10-8) allowed one run and four hits, earning a standing ovation from the crowd as he left with one out in the eighth. Three relievers completed the five-hitter.

Bruntlett tied career highs with the three-hit game and his fourth home run of the season.

Milwaukee dropped to 73-76. The Brewers, held scoreless for 19 consecutive innings before Jeff Cirillo’s RBI grounder in the eighth, are trying to avoid finishing with a losing record for the 13th straight season.

Chris Capuano (17-10) gave up four runs, five hits and five walks in five innings. He had won his previous three starts and five of six.

Berkman’s double and Bruntlett’s leadoff homer in the third built a 3-0 lead. Bruntlett doubled and stole third in the fifth inning, then scored on Jason Lane’s single. Bruntlett singled in the seventh, stole second and scored on Jose Vizcaino’s sacrifice fly to make it 5-0. Lamb added a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Notes: Bruntlett hit four homer last season. He also had three hits July 31 against the New York Mets this season. … Adam Everett missed his third straight game to be with his 8-month-old daughter Peyton, who had surgery Friday in Kennesaw, Ga. Everett is expected back Monday, when the Astros start a four-game series at Pittsburgh. … Third base umpire Andy Fletcher called time out just as Capuano began to deliver a pitch in the fifth inning when a number fell out of the hand-operated scoreboard onto the field. LF Carlos Lee retrieved the metal number, handed it back to the scoreboard worker and Capuano’s throw was ruled no pitch.

AP-ES-09-18-05 1733EDT


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