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Updated: Friday, September 26, 2003 3:44 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
Milwaukee Brewers
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
1 6 1
Houston Astros
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
6 9 0
W Redding (10-14)
L Davis (3-2)
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HOUSTON 6, MILWAUKEE 1
 

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- After failing to offer much of anything for most of the season, Tim Redding has turned it on at the right time for the Houston Astros .

Redding allowed one run in 5 1/3 solid innings and Morgan Ensberg homered twice as the Astros moved back into a tie atop the National League Central Division with a 6-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers .

Redding had 14 losses in 22 decisions coming into a September 14 start against the St. Louis Cardinals. But facing a team in the postseason mix may have sparked the 25-year-old righthander, who is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in three starts since.

In this one, Redding (10-14) allowed a solo homer to Richie Sexson among four hits. He walked two and struck out four before giving way to Brad Lidge .

"It was a huge game for us," Redding said. "It's all that more exciting knowing Chicago lost. I tried to get myself to 10 wins."

"Redding pitched a really good game," Houston manager Jimy Williams said. "I always like to start with the pitching and defense because that sets the tone."

Lidge got five outs, Octavio Dotel worked a hitless eighth and Dan Miceli struck out two in a perfect ninth.

Ensberg recorded his first career multi-homer game, hitting solo shots in the fifth and seventh innings. Craig Biggio also homered for the Astros, who pulled into a tie with the Chicago Cubs atop the division. Both teams have three games remaining.

Milwaukee starter Doug Davis (3-2) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out eight.

Biggio opened the bottom of the first inning with his 15th homer of the season and, in the process, extended his NL record for career leadoff homers to 34.

After Houston left two aboard in the second, Milwaukee stranded runners at the corners in the third. Sexson's 43rd homer of the season, leading off the fourth, knotted the contest.

"I don't think I made a bad pitch (to Sexson)," Redding added. "He's 6-7 and went down and got it. He hits the ball real well here."

"He threw a good sinker and slider," Houston catcher Brad Ausmus said of Redding. "He's done an excellent job of controlling his emotions."

Adam Everett 's RBI single in the bottom of the fourth gave Houston the lead for good and Ensberg opened the fifth with his 23rd homer.

Milwaukee had runners at the corners with one out in the sixth, but Lidge induced Brooks Kieschnick to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

Ensberg's homer in the seventh pushed the lead to 4-1 and left him one shy of Doug Rader 's team record for home runs by a third baseman.

"I got a fastball away (in the fifth) that caught most of the plate," Ensberg said. "Then I got a fastball up, which was also down the middle, a protection hack that I got on top of and tomahawked."

Dotel worked around a leadoff walk in the eighth and the Astros tacked on two runs in the bottom half. Ausmus had an RBI single and Biggio made it 6-1 with a sacrifice fly.

The Brewers have played the Astros very tough this season, winning six of the 14 games between the clubs.

"We knew it was going to be tough," Sexson said. "Obviously, these teams are in the race because they are pretty good. We've got three more games to make it tough on them. They have to do everything they can to win. But we're going to give it a run."

"If I had my choice, I would have wanted Houston to win it over Chicago," Milwaukee third baseman Wes Helms said. "Now since we're playing them, it doesn't matter to me. We're not thinking of this as a spoiler's role. We just want to finish strong."


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