Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2004

Sizzling Astros rattle Reds, 5-2

Clemens’ pitching, four homers in first propel Houston to 12th straight win

September 9, 2004

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— With two World Series rings and plenty of postseason experience during his 21-year career, Roger Clemens knows a lot about winning.

But the Houston Astros' furious push for the playoffs has left even The Rocket at a loss for a comparison.

Clemens recorded his 326th win to tie Eddie Plank for 11th on the career list, and the Astros hit four first-inning home runs to beat the Cincinnati Reds, 5-2, Wednesday and move into the NL wild-card lead with their 12th straight win.

"I've been on clubs throughout my career who've won quite a few in a row," Clemens said, "but I don't know if it's ever been like this."

Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio and Mike Lamb homered in the first off Jose Acevedo (5-11), sending Houston on its longest winning streak since taking a team-record 12 in a row from Sept. 3-14, 1999.

Houston has won 20 of 23 since Aug. 15 for the best record in the major leagues during that stretch.

"We're on a nice roll right now," Bagwell said. "It's kind of been amazing to me, all the home runs we're hitting. I've never seen it quite like this."

Clemens (16-4) won his fourth straight start, allowing four hits in seven innings. He gave up his only run in the first on Sean Casey's sacrifice fly, and Cincinnati managed only three singles during Clemens' next six innings. The Rocket finished with six strikeouts and two walks.

Marlins 3, Mets 0

Miami -- Josh Beckett pitched eight innings and blanked the New York Mets for his second start in a row, and Florida matched a franchise record with its ninth consecutive victory.

Paul Lo Duca hit a two-run homer for the Marlins, who beat New York for the 10th straight time, a franchise record for Florida against any opponent.

Beckett (7-8) pitched a six-hit shutout against the Mets last week for the first regular-season complete game of his career. This time he allowed four hits, struck out nine and walked two.

Armando Benitez pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 41st save. The former Mets closer has 11 saves against New York this season.

Phillies 5-4, Braves 3-1

Atlanta -- Six Philadelphia pitchers combined on a three-hitter, and the Phillies beat Atlanta to complete a sweep.

In the opener, Jim Thome hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning to lead the Phillies. Philadelphia outhit the Braves 21-7 in the two games.

Philadelphia rookie Gavin Floyd, making his second major-league start, gave up two hits and one run in four innings.

Floyd walked three batters, including two in the fourth, when the Braves took a 1-0 lead.

Amaury Telemaco, Todd Jones (9-5), Felix Rodriguez, Rheal Cormier and Tim Worrell each pitched an inning.

Expos 6, Cubs 0

Chicago-- Scott Downs outpitched Greg Maddux with a five-hit shutout -- the first of his career. Terrmel Sledge homered for the Expos, who won twice in the three-games series.

Downs (3-5) struck out four and walked one in his first complete game. He came up through the Chicago organization and pitched briefly for the Cubs in 2000 before being traded to Montreal in 2000 for Rondell White.

Maddux (13-9) allowed five runs -- two earned -- and five hits in 72/3 innings. He struck out seven.

Brewers, Pirates ppd

Pittsburgh-- The Brewers-Pirates game Wednesday night was canceled because of daylong rain and is not expected to be rescheduled.

Padres 10, Cardinals 5

San Diego -- Backed by home runs by Phil Nevin and Ryan Klesko, David Wells pitched seven strong innings and even drove in two runs. Wells (10-7) held the Cardinals to two runs and three hits while striking out six and walking none. After giving up So Taguchi's two-run homer with one out in the third, Wells allowed only one other baserunner.

Matt Morris (15-9) allowed seven runs and five hits, walked three and had no strikeouts. It was just the fourth time in 29 starts he failed to pitch at least six innings.

Giants 5, Rockies 3

Denver -- Edgardo Alfonzo homered, and Deivi Cruz hit a two-run double in San Francisco's four-run eighth inning.

Alfonzo finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs, Marquis Grissom had three doubles, and the Giants had 16 hits to win for the fourth time in five games.

Barry Bonds failed to hit a homer in his final game at Coors Field this season, heading to Arizona two short of becoming the third player to reach 700.

Dodgers 6, D'backs 5

Los Angeles -- Steve Finley doubled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Finley's hit off Mike Koplove (3-4) bounced off the right-field wall, scoring Cesar Izturis from first base with one out.

Eric Gagne (6-3) retired the side in the ninth for the victory.

Koplove gave up one run on four hits in 11/3 innings.

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