HOUSTON (Ticker) -- With a chance to put some pressure on the
came up woefully short.
The Astros tumbled into second place in the National League Central Division with a 12-5 loss to the
, who got two homers, four RBI and four runs from
Houston and Chicago began the day tied atop the division with three games to go. The Astros had a chance to assume first place possession when Chicago's home game against Pittsburgh was rained out.
But Houston found itself in a 9-1 hole midway through the second inning and must win both its remaining games while hoping for Chicago to lose at least once.
"It's not the end of the world for us," Houston first baseman
said. "We just have to come out here for the rest of the weekend and do whatever we can do to get a couple of wins. We have to come out and win two and hope that (the Cubs) lose two of three. It just wasn't our night."
Houston was done in by a terrible start from rookie
(15-9), who allowed three runs while retiring just one batter.
followed and surrendered four runs in 1 1/3 innings.
, who also retired just one batter, was charged with the final two runs in the second.
Sexson hit his 44th and 45th homers of the season, tying the franchise mark he already shared with
. He has 124 RBI, one shy of his career high and two short of the club record set by
"It feels really good playing the role of the spoiler because right now, that is where the intensity lies," Sexson said. "That is how we get upbeat for the games right now. It feels good.
"We saw that Chicago got rained out and this race is going down to the wire no doubt. Tomorrow is going to be a very important day for both of those teams. The Astros have a veteran ballclub and they know they are still in it. We know they are going to come out tomorrow with their 'A' game."
Last-place Milwaukee is 7-8 against Houston this season.
"What can you say? It was just a bad loss," Houston center fielder
said. "We need a little help now. Milwaukee has played us tough all year long and obviously tonight they played well."
"We just didn't execute tonight," Houston manager
said. "And because of that, we have dug ourselves into a hole. ... Now, we know we just have to relax, go home and get some sleep. We just have to come back tomorrow and do what we know how to do and what we have been doing all season."
(1-1) notched the win with 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of
held Houston scoreless over the final three innings and notched first save of the season.
Milwaukee broke on top with a three runs in the first.
walked with bases loaded and
singled home a run that finished Robertson. Stone came on and walked
for the third run of the inning.
Robertson took a good portion of the blame for the opening inning.
"We were right there tied with (Chicago)," he said. "It would have given us a chance to win out and get at least a one game playoff. Now, this puts us in the situation where we know they have to go out there and lose a ballgame. Of course. That makes this very, very disappointing."
Houston got back a run in the bottom of the first but Milwaukee broke open the game in the second. Sexson and Smith had RBI doubles and after Helms was walked intentionally, Saarloos took over for Stone.
Osik walked and Clayton made it 6-1 with an infield single. Saarloos threw the ball away trying to get Clayton, enabling Helms to score. Franklin's RBI single made it a seven-run cushion and an error by second baseman
allowed the sixth run of the inning to score.
"(The second) inning wasn't a very good inning," Astros shortstop
said. "We didn't make the plays when we needed to. And then it just got escalated. It was just a bad inning."
Everett denied the Astros were feeling a bit of pressure.
"I don't think so," he said. "We are playing hard and sometimes things just don't go your way. This thing isn't over. Not at all. (The Cubs) still have to play two tomorrow."
Houston rallied with three runs in its half of the second but a double play grounder by
killed a potential big inning.
A leadoff triple by Kent in the third and a sacrifice fly by
got Houston within 9-5. The Astros had runners on the corners but Burba got
on a flyout to end the threat.
Houston threatened again in the fourth but Sexson homered in the fifth to push the lead to 10-5. Again, the Astros threatened in the fifth but could not score.
The Astros had two aboard in the sixth but failed to cash in and Sexson's second homer of the game - a two-run blast in the seventh - sealed the win.
Sexson has four multi-homer games this season and 16 in his career.
"I think I have had a pretty good season," Sexson said. "You go into the year and you want to hit 30 homers and drive in a hundred runs. The goals are there for me, but right now I am trying to take my game to the next level."
"Every once in a while, we can score some runs," Brewers manager New Yost said. "We did tonight. Richie had a huge night. He's feeling good and hitting the ball good. It's pretty impressive for him to hit 45. He's just an awesome player all the way around."