Saturday, September 25, 1999

Astros 9, Brewers 4

The Associated Press

        MILWAUKEE — Houston rallied with four runs in the eighth inning Friday night for a 9-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in a game marred by a fan's attack on Astros right fielder Bill Spiers.

        Milwaukee starter Hideo Nomo left with a 4-2 lead, but relievers Eric Plunk (4-4) and Hector Ramirez failed to protect it. The victory allowed the NL Central-leading Astros to stay 21/2 games ahead of Cincinnati, who beat St. Louis 5-4.

        Before the Brewers batted in the sixth, a 23-year-old fan from Illinois came out of the box seats along the right-field line and tackled Spiers from behind.

        Astros starter Mike Hampton led the charge as the entire Astros team came to Spiers defense. The attacker, whose name was not immediately released, was beaten and kicked before being led off in handcuffs by Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies.

        Spiers had a welt under his left eye and appeared to have a bloody nose. He finished the inning, but was replaced at the start of the seventh.

        The Astros said Spiers was suffering from whiplash and was day-to-day. A Brewers spokesman said the attacker would be charged with two counts of battery and one count of disorderly conduct.

        Hampton shook off the distraction and pitched a scoreless sixth. Chris Holt started the seventh and failed to hold the 2-1 lead.

        The Brewers loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk before Holt walked Ron Belliard to force in a run and chase Holt. Pinch-hitter Jose Valentin lined a two-run single off Trever Miller (3-2) for a 4-2 lead.

        The Astros loaded the bases off Plunk. He walked in a run and was replaced by Ramirez, who walked in another run and gave up a two-run single to Tony Eusebio.

        Carl Everett hit a three-run homer in the ninth for the Astros, his 25th of the season. Jay Powell pitched two innings for his fourth save.

        The Astros took a 2-0 lead off Nomo in the second.

        Ken Caminiti hit a solo home run with one out. Eusebio singled one out later, advanced on a walk and scored on Hampton's single. Craig Biggio walked to load the bases, but Spiers ground out to end the inning.

        Mark Loretta had a RBI single in the fifth for Milwaukee.


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