Astros open postseason with win

Posted: Thursday, October 06, 2005

ATLANTA — Morgan Ensberg had five RBIs, Andy Pettitte overcame a couple of homers for his record-tying 14th postseason win and the Astros got started on what they hope will be another October conquest of Atlanta, beating the Braves 10-5 Wednesday in Game 1 of their NL playoff series.

Ensberg, who tied a Houston postseason RBIs record, had a run-scoring single in the first, a two-run single in the third, another RBI single in the seventh and walked with the bases loaded in a five-run eighth, when the Astros sent 11 batters to the plate against Chris Reitsma, John Foster and Jim Brower.

Tied with Atlanta's John Smoltz for most postseason wins, Pettitte gave up three runs and four hits in seven innings. Loser Tim Hudson allowed five runs — the most off him since a June 13 defeat at Texas — seven hits and five walks in 6 2-3 innings.

Craig Biggio, at 39 the main leftover from the Killer B's, had two hits, a sacrifice fly, a sac bunt and a walk in six trips to the plate.

Atlanta got homers from Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones — usually a formula for success. The Braves went 44-6 when both connected during the regular season.

Smoltz is to start against Roger Clemens in Game 2 on Thursday night.

White Sox 5, Red Sox 4

CHICAGO — Tadahito Iguchi hit a go-ahead, three-run homer off David Wells after a costly error by Red Sox second baseman Tony Graffanino, and the Chicago White Sox rallied past Boston to take a 2-0 lead against the defending World Series champions in their AL playoff series.

The Red Sox, 14-2 losers in Tuesday's opener, took a 4-0 lead in the third, then were shut out on three hits for the final six innings by Mark Buehrle and Bobby Jenks.

Graffanino hit a one-out double in the ninth, but Jenks got the save by retiring Johnny Damon on a foulout to the catcher and Edgar Renteria on a groundout.

Games 3 and possibly 4 in the best-of-five series are at Fenway Park on Friday and Saturday. A fifth game, if necessary, would be at Chicago on Sunday.

After a 19-8 loss to the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the AL championship series a year ago, the Red Sox won eight straight games to capture their first World Series title since 1918. Boston has won eight of its last nine games when facing postseason elimination.

Wells dropped to 10-4 in postseason play.

Angels 5, Yankees 3

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Bengie Molina got two big hits, Orlando Cabrera had a go-ahead single and Los Angeles took advantage of a costly error by Alex Rodriguez to beat New York and tie their AL division series at one game apiece.

The Yankees went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position — 0-for-8 after Robinson Cano doubled in the first run — and made three errors that led to three unearned runs.

The Angels saved two runs with sparkling defense.

Now the series shifts to Yankee Stadium, where Randy Johnson starts for New York on Friday night against Paul Byrd.

With New York leading 2-0 on Cano's second-inning double and Gary Sheffield's RBI grounder, Angels third baseman Chone Figgins dived toward the foul line to make a backhanded stop on a hard-hit ball by Hideki Matsui to end the fifth with Jason Giambi on third.

Juan Rivera homered off Chien-Ming Wang leading off the bottom half. Then, with Bernie Williams on second in the sixth, Jorge Posada hit a grounder down the first-base line that Gold Glove first baseman Darin Erstad knocked down and flipped to pitcher John Lackey, who went to his knees at first to make the grab. Williams was stranded when Derek Jeter grounded out against Scot Shields.

Los Angeles tied the score in the sixth when Rodriguez let Cabrera's leadoff bouncer hit off the webbing of his glove, and Molina singled Cabrera home with two outs.

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