Clemens loses second game

HOUSTON (AP) -- The Anaheim Angels knew plenty about Roger Clemens. Houston was clueless about Ramon Ortiz.

Anaheim's right-hander put on a performance Saturday night that
the Astros will definitely remember next time.

Ortiz pitched six scoreless innings, Vladimir Guerrero homered
and drove in three runs and the Angels handed Clemens his second
straight loss by beating Houston 6-4.

"I have my confidence back now," said Ortiz, who had never
faced the Astros before Saturday. "Everything is fine."

Ortiz (3-5) easily outpitched Clemens, allowing only three hits
with five strikeouts in his best start of the season. In his
longest outing of the year and first start since April 30, Ortiz
virtually shut down the NL's second-best offense.

But Angels reliever Kevin Gregg nearly blew the victory, giving
up four runs in the seventh. Scot Shields replaced Gregg and got
the final out of the inning to thwart the comeback.

Shields pitched a scoreless eighth and Francisco Rodriguez got
three outs for his sixth save, helping Anaheim snap a three-game
losing streak.

"The fact that we pressured the Astros when we needed to every
inning, that was really good to see," Angels manager Mike Scioscia
said. "We really haven't been doing that."

Houston has now lost seven of its last nine games, continuing
its rapid descent down the NL Central standings. The Astros dropped
to 34-33, good for fifth place in the division and 6{ games out of

Even Clemens, who's won more games against the Angels than any
other pitcher, couldn't snap Houston out its month-long funk.

After starting the season with nine straight wins, Clemens (9-2)
looked nearly as bad in this game as he did last time out.

He lasted only 4 2/3 innings -- his shortest outing of the season
-- and gave up five runs on nine hits with only three strikeouts. In
his last outing, a 7-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs, Clemens allowed
five runs on a season-high 10 hits.

"I was trying to keep us within striking distance because I
figured our guys were going to score some runs," Clemens said.
"We got some late runs, but not enough."

Anaheim took an early lead in the second when Robb Quinlan
doubled and scored on a single by Adam Kennedy.

Chone Figgins led off the third with a triple and scored on a
sacrifice fly by Guerrero, and Jose Guillen hit his 12th homer of
the season to give the Angels a 3-0 lead.

The Angels really roughed up The Rocket in the fifth, though.

Darin Erstad hit a leadoff single, moved third on a double by
Figgins and scored when Guerrero grounded out. Garret Anderson
drove in Figgins with a single. Astros reliever Kirk Bullinger came
in for Clemens two batters later.

"You're going against one of the top pitchers of all-time, so
you take a little pride in that," Figgins said. "You really don't
think you're going to score a lot of runs, but you just want to try
to hit him."

Meanwhile, Houston couldn't get anything going against Ortiz,
who came in the game with a 5.32 ERA.

The Astros blamed their struggles on unfamiliarity with their AL

"We didn't know what to expect from him. We didn't have a clue
about him," said Lance Berkman, who struck out and walked three
times. "By the time you get a feel for a guy like that, it's the
sixth inning and you haven't done much."

Bagwell nearly sparked a late rally, though, leading off the
seventh with his 11th homer of the season. Craig Biggio later had a
two-run double and Morgan Ensberg added an RBI single to close the
gap to 6-4.

Game notes
Bagwell hit the 430th homer of his career, moving him one
behind Cal Ripken for 32nd place. ... Guerrero hit his 250th home
run in the seventh. ... The Angels had a season high five doubles
and eight extra-base hits. ... Houston RHP David Weathers, acquired
in this week's trade with the New York Mets, made his first
appearance with the Astros. He pitched two scoreless innings. ...
Anderson increased his hitting streak to 12 games with a
fifth-inning single.


David Knight contributed to this story.