Pinch-hitters Darin Erstad and David Newhan had back-to-back run-scoring hits in the eighth inning, lifting the Houston Astros to a 7-5 win over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
The Astros have won 10 of 11 to pull within six games of NL wild card-leading Milwaukee, which lost 10-1 loss to San Diego on Sunday.
Erstad's bloop single tied it, and Newhan followed with a triple to center off Taylor Buchholz (6-5) to give Houston a 6-5 lead. Jose Castillo added a run-scoring single in the ninth and went 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
The Rockies, the defending NL champions, lost for the third time in four games. They entered the day 5 1/2 games back of NL West-leading Los Angeles.
Doug Brocail (7-5) tossed a scoreless seventh inning to earn the win in his 600th career appearance. LaTroy Hawkins threw a perfect eighth _ hitting 97 mph on the radar gun _ and Jose Valverde struck out the side in the ninth for his NL-leading 40th save.
Jack Cassel came in after Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez left the game in the second inning with a right oblique strain and turned in a solid effort. He allowed two runs and four hits in four innings.
Cassel's younger brother, Matt, also came up with an admirable effort on a different field earlier in the day. Matt Cassel, the backup quarterback for the New England Patriots, got in the game against the Kansas City Chiefs after Tom Brady went down with a left knee injury and led the Patriots to a 17-10 win.
Brad Hawpe hit a three-run homer and Matt Holliday had a two-run double for the Rockies. Clint Barmes finished with three singles.
Houston scored three times in the third on an RBI single by Mark Loretta and sacrifice flies from Lance Berkman and Castillo.
Berkman finished the day 0-for-2 with two walks. He remains hitless in his last 17 at-bats.
Notes:@ Astros manager Cecil Cooper said OF Ty Wigginton's left hamstring remained sore and he could miss up to 10 days. He was injured running out a groundball on Saturday night. ... Houston RHP Alberto Arias will start Monday against Pittsburgh, replacing RHP Brandon Backe, who experienced soreness in his arm during a bullpen session on Saturday. ... Astros 2B Kazuo Matsui took batting practice and groundballs Saturday, but his availability is still day to day.
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