Loss drops Houston into tie for first


HOUSTON (AP) -- Thanks to Dave Roberts, Eric Gagne's dominant
season is now a record-setting one, too.

Gagne earned his 44th straight save this season, setting a major
league record as he closed out the Los Angeles Dodgers' 6-3 win
Thursday night over the Houston Astros.

With two outs in the eighth, Gagne came on to protect a two-run
lead with a man on and gave up a long drive to Lance Berkman.
Roberts ran up the hill in center, and fended off a fan to come up
with the ball and end the inning and keep Gagne from blowing his
first save of the season.

"You know you're not going to have too many shots against
(Gagne)," Houston manager Jimy Williams said. "I want to talk to
that fan out in center field and tell him that you can take it out
of his glove when it's out of the park like that."

Gagne beat Tom Gordon's 1998 record of 43 in a row to begin a
season. Gordon still holds the record for consecutive saves
overall, with 54. It was Gagne's 52nd straight save, dating to last

"He's been so lights out," Roberts said, "that usually when
he's out there, we don't need gloves. But I guess we did tonight."

Jeromy Burnitz homered and drove in three runs as the Dodgers
ended a four-game losing streak.

Gagne has saved nearly two-thirds of Los Angeles' 68 wins

"It means nothing at all to me," Gagne said. "This is a team
game and all (the 44 saves) means is that we won all those games.
It's fun to win.

"The team has played eight good innings to get us there is all
that I see. We win as a team and we lose as a team."

Paul Shuey (5-4) entered in the fifth and pitched 1 1-3 hitless
innings for the win. He struck out two.

Wilson Alvarez lasted only 4 2-3 inning in his sixth start of
the season for the Dodgers. He allowed three runs on six hits and
two walks, striking out seven.

Tim Redding (8-13) allowed four runs on six hits and a pair of
walks in only three innings.

The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single
by Adrian Beltre and a run-scoring groundout by Burnitz.

Houston tied it in the bottom of the inning on a two-run double
by Berkman.

Burnitz doubled in the second to give Los Angeles the lead and
Alex Cora drove in another with an infield grounder to give Los
Angeles a 4-2 lead in the third.

Adam Everett's sixth home run of the year closed it to 4-3 in
the fifth.

Burnitz hit his 26th home run in the eighth.

Game notes
Gagne has blown a save this season, but it was in the
All-Star Game. ... Houston 2B Jeff Kent was pulled out of the
lineup just before game time so he could be with his wife, Dana,
who is delivering their fourth child. ... Jose Vizcaino took his
place in the lineup. ... The Astros have decided to slow down the
rehab schedule for Roy Oswalt, out since July 30 with a right groin
strain. Oswalt was scheduled to throw a simulated game Friday, but
now will only throw his third bullpen session. Plans now are for
him to throw the simulated game next Tuesday and officials will
then decide whether to send him on a minor league assignment before
coming off the disabled list.