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Updated: Sunday, August 15, 2004 6:21 PM EDT
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MONTREAL (Ticker) -- Houston Astros pinch hitter Orlando Palmeiro capped an improbable ninth-inning rally that ended the Montreal Expos ' seven-game winning streak.

Palmeiro's opposite-field single scored Jason Lane from second base as the Astros scored three runs in the top of the ninth to beat the Expos, 5-4.

The Astros, who entered the game winless in 51 contests when trailing after eight innings, got back-to-back singles from Jeff Kent and Mike Lamb with one out in the ninth to chase starter Livan Hernandez .

In search of his major league-leading 20th complete game since the start of 2002, Hernandez allowed two runs and five hits through the first eight innings. He retired Lance Berkman to open the ninth before running into the trouble and being pulled in favor of Luis Ayala .

Lane greeted Ayala (4-8) with an RBI single to right field and pinch hitter Jose Vizcaino followed with a run-scoring groundout to shortstop, tying the score.

"Doesn't seem like we can do anything once Livo leaves the ballgame," Expos manager Frank Robinson said. "Can't get nobody to do the job for him to get him the win."

With Lane on second base and two outs, the stage was set for Palmeiro, who helped the Astros end their three-game losing skid with his a single that scored Lane easily.

"(Ayala's) got a lot of good stuff," Palmeiro said. "I'm just looking out over the plate. He fooled me with a splitter and I still managed to get good wood on it and put it over the shortstop's head."

Carlos Beltran gave the Astros a 2-0 lead before an out was recorded, belting a home run to rigth field after Eric Bruntlett opened the game with a single. It was the 29th home run of the season for Beltran, matching his career high.

Pete Munro started for Houston and worked six-plus innings, allowing three runs and five hits. He took a 2-1 lead into the seventh, but allowed a walk and a single to open the frame.

Dan Miceli allowed both inherited runners to score and tacked on an earned run of his own as the Nick Johnson capped a three-run seventh with an RBI single to right field.

Miceli (5-6), who worked two innings, wound up being credited with the win and Brad Lidge worked around a single in the ninth for his 13th save.

"Obviously we were long overdue for something like this and it feels great to come back and salvage at least a game," Lidge said. "Our guys did a fantastic job of never quitting today. ... Fortunately we came back and got a little bit of momemtum going into Philadelphia."

Johnson hit his seventh home run in the sixth inning and Jose Vidro had three hits for Montreal, which was on the verge of its first 6-0 homestand since September 6-12, 1993.

"You would rather flat out get beaten than lose like that because it turns your stomach," Robinson said. "It was a tough loss. We just have to bounce back."

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