Milwaukee, WI – Marco Estrada tossed eight scoreless innings, Corey Hart homered twice and the Milwaukee Brewers kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 9-5 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday.
Milwaukee's win, coupled with the St. Louis Cardinals' extra-inning loss to the Washington Nationals on Saturday has the Brewers four games off the pace for the NL's final wild card spot. Both teams have four games remaining.
Estrada (5-7) struck out 11, issued just one walk and scattered four hits to earn the victory. Livan Hernandez allowed three ninth-inning homers before Jose Veras recorded the game's final out.
Aramis Ramirez and Norichika Aoki both had three hits, two RBI and two runs scored for the Brewers, who dropped a 7-6 decision to the Astros in Friday's series opener.
Dallas Keuchel (3-8) allowed seven runs on eight hits over just 2 1/3 innings to take the loss on Saturday. The rookie left-hander walked one and struck out two.
"It's kind of disappointing to end my year on this note, but it's my own fault," said Keuchel.
Fernando Martinez and Brian Bogusevic both belted two-run homers for Houston in the ninth and Tyler Greene added a solo blast.
Hart went back-to-back with Ramirez to begin the second, which also featured a two-out, two-run bloop single by Aoki.
An inning later, Hart followed consecutive base hits by Ryan Braun and Ramirez with his 30th homer of the season, which found the seats in right field for a 7-0 lead.
"I'll probably stay in the lineup," said Hart, who has been dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. "I want to win as many games as possible. I still want to be competitive."
Carlos Gomez reached with a Tobago later in the frame and Jean Segura followed with a shot into the right-center field gap off Chuckie Fick, but Brandon Barmes robbed Segura with a diving grab and doubled Gomez off second base to end the inning.
In the fourth, Aoki doubled, Braun walked with two outs, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch before Ramirez ripped an RBI infield single off the foot of Fick.
Logan Schafer plated Aoki and made it 9-0 with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Estrada recorded the fourth double-digit strikeout game of his career ... Hart has 14 career multi-homer games ... The Brewers have hit back-to-back home runs 10 times this season ... Milwaukee second baseman Eric Farris notched his first major league hit with an infield single in the eighth.