Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

San Francisco leads 2-0 (as of 9/23)

Game 1: Monday, September 22
San Francisco6Final
Houston3
Game 2: Tuesday, September 23
San Francisco10Final
Houston3
Game 3: Wednesday, September 24
San Francisco1Final
Houston2

Giants 10

(97-59, 43-36 away)

Astros 3

(84-73, 45-31 home)

    8:05 PM ET, September 23, 2003

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    SF 0100000000 10 10 0
    HOU 000000201 3 4 1

    W: J. Schmidt (17-5)

    L: W. Miller (14-13)

    Giants break it open with 10-run second inning

    HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Astros can see their chances of winning their fifth NL Central title in seven years slipping away.

    Edgardo Alfonzo hit a grand slam in a 10-run second inning as the San Francisco Giants knocked Houston out of first place with a 10-3 victory Tuesday night.

    The Giants roughed up Wade Miller (14-13) and sent the Astros to their fourth consecutive loss. Houston fell a game behind the Chicago Cubs, who beat Cincinnati 6-0, after holding at least a share of the division lead since Sept. 8.

    "We've been playing our hearts out trying to do something we've wanted to do since April," Jeff Kent said. "You're going to lose, you hope you don't lose enough to put you out. We're running out of time."

    Jason Schmidt (17-5) benefited from all the San Francisco offense. The right-hander, slated to start Game 1 of the playoffs for the NL West champion Giants, gave up only two runs and three hits in seven innings.

    He has won five straight decisions and 12 of his last 14.

    Jason Lane homered twice for Houston, the first multihomer game of his career.

    The Giants lead Atlanta by two percentage points in the race for the best record in the NL and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

    After Wednesday's series finale, Houston closes at home with four games against Milwaukee. The Cubs play at Cincinnati on Wednesday and Thursday, then go home for a three-game series against Pittsburgh.

    Roy Oswalt (9-5) will pitch for Houston against Sidney Ponson (3-5) on Wednesday.

    "We're up for this game for tomorrow," Astros manager Jimy Williams said. "You have to have a well-pitched game from your starter. The starter sets the tone of the game. That's what their starter did tonight, and that's what we need tomorrow."

    The Astros went down meekly against Schmidt, who retired 14 in a row at one point.

    The Giants tagged Miller and Ricky Stone in taking a 10-0 lead in the second. It was San Francisco's biggest inning since scoring 11 runs in the sixth at Milwaukee on May 21, 2000.

    The last time the Astros allowed at least 10 runs in an inning was Aug. 3, 1989, at Cincinnati, when the Reds scored 14 times in the first.

    "We're definitely not done yet," Miller said. "We've got five games left. Maybe we're a little tired, but we're not done. I just had a few location problems with my fastball and I got it out over the plate. I was just getting singled to death. It wasn't like I was getting hammered."

    It was the third slam of Alfonzo's career, his second this season. He hit one off Chicago's Kerry Wood on July 30. The Giants have six grand slams this year.

    "No matter how it looks, it's a home run," Alfonzo said. "You can't hit them that easy in our park. You have to enjoy every moment out of Pac Bell. It's not as easy to hit home runs there."

    Marquis Grissom started the rally with a solo homer. Benito Santiago and Alfonzo followed with singles, and Jose Cruz Jr. hit an RBI double, his first of two doubles in the inning.

    Schmidt walked, and Ray Durham's fielder's choice grounder forced Alfonzo at the plate for the first out.

    J.T. Snow's RBI single left the bases loaded again, and Miller walked Rich Aurilia to force in Schmidt. Barry Bonds hit a grounder to first baseman Jeff Bagwell, whose error on the throw home allowed Durham to score for a 5-0 lead.

    Grissom popped out for the second out, but Santiago walked to force in Snow and make it 6-0. That set the stage for Alfonzo's drive on the second pitch from Stone.

    Cruz then doubled and Schmidt struck out to end the inning.

    Miller, who went 7-2 in his previous nine starts, left with two outs in the inning. He allowed nine runs -- four earned -- and six hits. He walked three and struck out two.

    The Astros will face a diluted lineup in the series finale.

    "Everybody will get the day off, that will give us two days off," Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "Some of the guys really need it."

    The Giants are looking forward to going home.

    "We've played the same all year," Aurilia said. "We just want to continue to play well in this series. We can take at least two of three here and get home and rest for two days, then come out and play well this weekend."

    Game notes


    The Giants have been in first place for 177 straight days dating to last season, breaking the franchise record of 176 set by the 1971 team. ... Miller's shortest outing this season was one-third of an inning May 10 at Philadelphia.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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