Final

Series: Game 2 of 4

Houston leads 2-0 (as of 5/13)

Game 1: Monday, May 12
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Pittsburgh4
Game 2: Tuesday, May 13
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Pittsburgh3
Game 3: Wednesday, May 14
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Game 4: Thursday, May 15
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Astros 6

(21-18, 9-11 away)

Pirates 3

(15-24, 5-15 home)

    7:05 PM ET, May 13, 2003

    PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

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    PIT 002100000 3 8 0

    W: P. Munro (3-1)

    L: M. Williams (0-2)

    S: B. Wagner (9)

    Williams is eighth active manager with 800 wins

    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- So much for the baseball axiom you can't win 'em all. When the Houston Astros play the Pittsburgh Pirates, they do exactly that.

    Richard Hidalgo hit a three-run double just out of the reach of right fielder Rob Mackowiak with two outs in the ninth, and the Astros came back to beat the Pirates for the 10th straight time, 6-3 Tuesday night.

    Jose Vizcaino also drove in three runs for Houston as the Pirates lost for the 10th time in 11 games overall and remained winless against the Astros since July 16. They lost their final four against them last season and are 0-6 this season.

    Houston's Jimy Williams got his 800th victory, the 61st major league manager and the eighth active manager to do so.

    "It means I'm still breathing," he said.

    Mike Williams (0-2) got the first two batters in the ninth, but Jeff Bagwell walked on a 3-2 pitch _ the Pirates thought it was strike three _ and Jeff Kent singled to right. Lance Berkman walked to load the bases before Hidalgo hit a drive to the base of the auxiliary scoreboard in right on a 2-2 pitch.

    Mackowiak, who entered the game in a double switch to start the inning, leaped for the ball but couldn't make the catch as all three runners scored.

    "As soon as I hit it, I thought, 'Is he going to catch the ball?'" said Hidalgo, who has 21 RBIs since April 16. ``When he jumped, I said, 'Oh, no, no, no.'"

    A fraction of a second later, Mackowiak was saying the same thing.

    "The ball kind of took off on me at the end, I'm not sure if it hit my glove or not," Mackowiak said. "I don't know what happened after I hit the wall. I gave it my best try ... but it seems like everything we're doing now goes wrong. If we're winning, I probably come up with that ball."

    The Pirates lost a similar game 4-3 to the Giants April 23 when Mackowiak, who also had just entered the game, couldn't make the catch on a three-run homer by Jose Cruz Jr. that bounced off the top of the left field wall and into the stands.

    Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon didn't blame Mackowiak and also wasn't unhappy that Williams pitched around Berkman, who has 17 RBIs this month, to face Hidalgo. Hidalgo was 0-for-6 with two strikeouts against Williams.

    "We had the matchup we wanted there,'' McClendon said. "It just didn't turn out the way we wanted. You'd rather face Hidalgo than Berkman."

    Pete Munro (3-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory, the 14th by an Astros bullpen that contributed three scoreless innings. Billy Wagner threw a perfect ninth for his ninth save in 10 opportunities.

    The bullpen has gotten the Astros' last six wins, two each by Munro and Ricky Stone, since Wade Miller beat the Pirates 8-1 on May 5.

    The Astros, who have a 57-17 scoring edge in the eighth and ninth innings this season, won their 10th in 12 games despite trailing 2-0 and 3-1.

    "We've got a good offense here, and we keep it together in the seventh, eighth and ninth," Hidalgo said.

    Pirates starter Jeff Suppan, trying to end a three-game losing streak, helped give himself a 3-1 lead with two key hits. He singled and scored on Brian Giles' infield single in a two-run third, the fourth consecutive single off Astros starter Tim Redding.

    Kenny Lofton also scored on Giles' single as Redding mishandled the throw from first baseman Bagwell, drawing an error.

    Suppan, who is hitting .294, also singled in the fourth and came home on Lofton's single. Lofton's two hits extended his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest by a Pirates player since John Vander Wal's 16-game streak in 2000.

    Vizcaino tied it at 3 with his third straight hit, a two-run double in the sixth that followed Kent's leadoff walk and Berkman's single. Vizcaino, 9-for-10 (.900) against Suppan, also had a run-scoring single in the fourth after Kent doubled with one out.

    The Pirates put two on with two outs in the eighth, but Munro got pinch-hitter Matt Stairs to pop up.

    Game notes
    Playing conditions (partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the high 50s) were much better than Monday night's rain, wind and cold. ... Redding, who gave up eight hits and three runs in six innings, failed to win for the first time in four starts. ... Craig Biggio went 0-for-5 to end his 10-game hitting streak. ... The Pirates are a season-low nine games below .500 (15-24) after losing their 15th in 20 games overall and their ninth in 10 home games. They have been outscored 48-24 at home during those 10 games. ... Lofton is 21-for-54 (.389) during his hitting streak. He had a 17-game streak with Cleveland in 1994.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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