Houston sets season high with 17 hits

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Morgan Ensberg and the Houston hitters made

sure ace Roy Oswalt's struggles wouldn't hurt the Astros.

Ensberg homered and capped a six-run fourth inning with a

two-run single and Oswalt notched his first victory since Opening

Day as Houston beat Milwaukee 11-5 Friday night.

Oswalt (2-1) gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings

and has allowed 14 runs -- nine earned -- his past two starts.

Houston didn't need him to be sharp, though. A day after losing 4-2

to Milwaukee, the Astros had a season-high 17 hits, with every

starting position player getting at least one hit.

"We have guys who are off to a really good start," Ensberg

said. "When you have hitters like we do, it tends to put a lot of

pressure on opposing pitchers."

Jeff Bagwell led off the fourth against Glendon Rusch (1-3) by

hitting his seventh homer of the year for a 1-0 lead. By the time

the inning was over, the Astros had a 6-0 lead.

"I made some bad pitches," Rusch said. "It's a recipe for

disaster when you're not making good pitches."

Milwaukee cut it to 6-5, but Houston scored the final five runs.

"It was a good day," said Craig Biggio, who hit his 200th

career homer in the eighth inning for Houston. "We got some hits

and runs, they battled back and then we were able to get more runs

later on."

Milwaukee went 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position, and

managed only one run in the fourth off Oswalt despite loading the

bases with no outs.

"I guess that means we made some (good) pitches when we had

to," Houston manager Jimy Williams said.

In the fifth, the Brewers cut it to 6-4 when Geoff Jenkins hit a

three-run homer, his fourth.

The seldom-used Ensberg came into the game with one hit in 11

at-bats, but set a career high with three hits and tied a career

high with three RBI.

After Bagwell's homer, Jeff Kent singled and moved to second on

Richard Hidalgo's walk. Brad Ausmus hit a ground-rule double,

scoring Kent, and Brian Hunter followed with an RBI single for a

3-0 lead.

Julio Lugo followed with an RBI single. Two outs later, Ensberg

hit a two-run single to make it 6-0.

Rusch allowed six runs and seven hits in four innings and has

lost five consecutive decisions to the Astros.

"Glendon is a quality starter, but he's struggling," Milwaukee

manager Ned Yost said. "He's off just enough that they're getting

the bat on the ball."

With the bases loaded and no outs in the fourth, Keith Osik

popped out. Royce Clayton grounded into a fielder's choice, scoring

Jenkins to get within 6-1. Pinch-hitter John Vander Wal hit for

Rusch and lined out to end the inning.

Jenkins' homer in the fifth hit off the top of the wall. The

Brewers made it 6-5 when Alex Sanchez hit his third single of the

game in the sixth, scoring Clayton.

Pinch-hitter Orlando Merced's bloop double down the left-field

line scored Kent for a 7-5 lead in the seventh. Biggio and Ensberg

each hit solo homers in the eighth to make it 9-5.

Game notes

Bagwell's home run was the 387th of his career, moving him

ahead of Andres Galarraga for 40th all-time. ... Astros starters

are 3-6. ... Brewers RHP Todd Ritchie received a cortisone shot in

his pitching shoulder Tuesday, but still is slated to start

Saturday against Houston. ... An MRI on the right forearm of Astros

RHP Brian Moehler found mild tendinitis in his flexor tendon. His

next start will be April 26 at Montreal. ... Brewers 2B Eric Young

was given the day off, a day after bruising his left elbow when he

was hit by a pitch Thursday.