Astros pound way to 12th straight victory

Posted: Thursday, September 09, 2004

HOUSTON Roger Clemens got his 326th win to tie Eddie Plank for 11th on the career list, and the Houston Astros hit four first-inning home runs to beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-2 Wednesday and take over the NL wild-card lead following their 12th straight win.

Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio and Mike Lamb homered in the first off Jose Acevedo (5-11). Houston, one percentage point ahead of San Francisco and a half-game against of the Chicago Cubs, is on its longest winning streak since taking a team-record 12 in a row from Sept. 3-14, 1999, and the Astros have won 20 of 23 since Aug. 15, the best record in the major leagues over that stretch.

Phillies 5, Braves 3

Phillies 4, Braves 1

ATLANTA Six pitchers combined on a three-hitter as the Phillies complete a doubleheader sweep. In the opener, Jim Thome hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth to reach 40 homers for the fourth straight season.

Philadelphia outhit the Braves 21-7 in the two games. The Braves' NL East lead was cut from 8 1/2 to seven games over Florida.

Philadelphia rookie Gavin Floyd, making his second major league start, gave up one run and two hits in four innings. Floyd walked three, including two in the fourth, when the Braves took a 1-0 lead.

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.

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. Chicago has lost six of nine.

Marlins 3, Mets 0

MIAMI Josh Beckett pitched eight innings and blanked the Mets for his second start in a row, and the Marlins matched a franchise record with their ninth consecutive victory.

The Mets have lost 11 straight, including six since last week to Florida, and haven't had a lead in 58 innings. New York is on its longest losing streak since dropping 12 in a row from Aug. 10-23, 2002.

Giants 5, Rockies 3

DENVER Edgardo Alfonzo homered and Deivi Cruz hit a two-run double in a four-run eighth.

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.

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 5

LOS ANGELES Steve Finley doubled in the winning run in the ninth off Mike Koplove (3-4), scoring Cesar Izturis from first base with one out. Los Angeles maintained its 4 1/2-game NL West lead over the Giants.

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

Arizona (42-97) lost its sixth straight and dropped 55 games below .500 for the first time in franchise history.



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