Richard Hidalgo and Brad Ausmus also connected for the NL
Central-leading Astros. Jeff Bagwell hit a two-run double in the
first inning.Villone (4-2) gave up consecutive homers to Orlando Cabrera and
Wil Cordero in the seventh but allowed just four hits and a walk in
6 1-3 innings. He struck out five, sending the Expos to their 13th
loss in 15 road games.Brad Lidge struck out four in 1 2-3 hitless innings and Dan
Miceli finished it for Houston.Montreal's Scott Downs (0-1) made his first start of the season
after being called up from Triple-A Edmonton on Friday. Downs went
three innings and allowed five runs on five hits and three walks.
He struck out four.The Astros jumped on Downs immediately as Craig Biggio led off
the first with a single followed by Morgan Ensberg's double.
Bagwell doubled both in for a 2-0 lead.With the bases loaded two outs later, Downs appeared to catch
his spike on the pitching rubber and stumbled off the mound,
balking in Bagwell for a 3-0 Houston lead.Solo homers by Hidalgo, his 20th, and Ausmus, his third, made it
5-0 in the third.Meanwhile, Villone was cruising along, retiring 16 of 17 batters
from the second through seventh innings before Cabrera and Cordero
homered.It was Cabrera's 17th and Cordero's 13th, enough to chase
Villone.The Astros added three runs off Rocky Biddle in the eighth on
Kent's 15th home run, Berkman's 21st and an RBI triple by Adam
Biggio's single left him just one hit short of tying Mickey
Mantle for 94th on the career list. Mantle had 2,415 hits. ...
Downs' balk was only the fourth by an Expos pitcher this season.
Livan Hernandez, Javier Vazquez and Scott Stewart had the others.
... It was the third time this season Montreal has hit back-to-back
homers. The last was July 5 against Atlanta when Cabrera and Brad
Wilkerson did it.