Houston rallies for 6-3 victory
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The Astros scored five runs in the seventh inning to defeat St. Louis.
ST. LOUIS -- Craig Biggio caught up with Hank Aaron and helped the Houston Astros stay above .500 in the process.
Biggio's two-run homer capped a five-run seventh and he tied Aaron for ninth place on the career doubles list in a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
"I don't think about the hits or the runs or whatever it is, I just think about the company and the clientele you're hanging with," Biggio said. "That is so overwhelming it's beyond belief for me."
The big inning rescued Andy Pettitte, who had left after six innings trailing 3-1, and kept the Astros from dropping below .500 for the first time all season. Houston is 9-17 on the road, 3-6 with one game left on a 10-game trip and 27-26 overall.
Houston is 11-18 this month, avoiding the franchise's worst May. The Astros were 10-19 last year and in 2000.
"We can always say, hey, we've got a better record than we did last year," closer Brad Lidge said after getting the last three outs for his 14th save in 17 chances. "We were 15-30 and we still went to the World Series.
"I don't think we ever think we're out of things no matter how bad we're playing."
The Astros won as talk intensified that they were close to signing Roger Clemens. Pettitte said he knows what's going on "but it's not my place to say anything about that, really."
"I've been talking to Roger and I'll leave it up to him to let him share whatever he's going to share, whenever it's time to share it," Pettitte said.
Pinch-hitters Mike Lamb and Orlando Palmeiro had RBI singles off Josh Hancock (1-1) in the seventh, and Lamb scored on Palmeiro's hit when center fielder So Taguchi's throw to third got past Scott Rolen and rolled into the camera well near the dugout.
"It's frustrating to blow a lead for anybody," Hancock said. "They were all mistakes. They might have hit good pitches, but in my mind they were all mistakes."
The homer was Biggio's fifth and he hit his 624th career double in the sixth to tie Aaron. He has 2,850 hits, moving two past Brooks Robinson for 40th place, and a day earlier became the 23rd player to reach 10,000 at-bats.
Rolen hit his sixth homer and doubled twice for the Cardinals, who lost for only the fourth time in 13 games.
Rolen and Juan Encarnacion homered on consecutive pitches against Pettitte (4-6) in the fourth, Encarnacion's 429-foot drive just inside the left-field foul pole, for a 3-1 lead. Rolen doubled and scored on Yadier Molina's double in the second.
Pettitte, who struck out four and had an intentional walk to Albert Pujols with one out and a runner on second in the fifth, won for the first time in five road starts this season. He allowed 21 earned runs in 19 innings in the first four road outings, and in his last two outings overall had given up 12 runs in nine innings in a pair of losses.
"Until we scored all the runs it was another scratching-my-head, frustrating start," Pettitte said. "It seems like I can't get away with anything and I'm just hoping we can grind out a couple of runs."
Rookie Anthony Reyes had seven strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings as the stand-in for Chris Carpenter, placed on the 15-day disabled list with bursitis in his right shoulder before the game. He allowed three runs and five hits with one walk.
"He pitched very effectively," manager Tony La Russa said. "It's a shame we couldn't bring it home for him."
The Astros had taken the lead in the first on Willy Taveras' leadoff double and Lance Berkman's one-out RBI single.
Notes: Reyes singled for his first career hit to start the third. ... The Cardinals have hit consecutive homers twice this season, also doing it April l6 against the Reds when Pujols and Rolen connected. ... Palmeiro has five hits in his last 12 pinch at-bats. ... A crowd of 44,732 kept the sellout string going at 27 games at new Busch Stadium.