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Padres slide into first without Nevin

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Brian Lawrence couldn't have been happier after outlasting a fellow Texan, especially since it was Roger Clemens.

Lawrence threw eight strong innings for his 10th win and Ryan Klesko singled in the go-ahead run with one out in the eighth inning to lead the San Diego Padres to a 2-1 win over the Houston Astros on Monday night.

Clemens tweaked his right knee in the fifth but stayed in the
game, getting his second straight no-decision.

Lawrence was thrilled to have gone against Clemens.

"It's something growing up and watching this guy, being from
Texas myself and knowing where he came from, and doing the things
he's done, it's almost an honor to be able to go up against a guy
like that," said Lawrence.

"To come out on the winning side, and knowing you battled with
one of the best ever, it was awesome."

Lawrence (10-5) held the Astros to one run and five hits in
eight innings, struck out three and walked three. He's won 10 games
for the third straight year. Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for
his 21st save in 23 chances.

Klesko, who moved into the cleanup spot after Phil Nevin went on
the disabled list on Monday, singled to right off Dan Miceli (3-4)
to bring in Sean Burroughs from second and break a 1-1 tie.

Burroughs hit a leadoff single to right and was sacrificed by
Mark Loretta. After an intentional walk to Brian Giles, Klesko hit
a grounder right between first baseman Jeff Bagwell and second
baseman Jose Vizcaino.

"It's one of those games it's nice to be a part of," Klesko
said. "Seeing Clemens go out there and pitch, and we got the win.
They both threw good games, and it's nice to get a hit to go
through the hole there and help my team win."

In winning for the 11th time in 14 games, the Padres leapfrogged
San Francisco to take over first place in the NL West by a half
game. The Padres haven't been in first since being in a virtual tie
with Los Angeles on June 14.

Clemens was facing San Diego for the first time, and held the
Padres to three hits and one run in seven innings. He struck out
six and walked four.

Clemens touched his right knee after throwing his final warmup
pitch in the fifth inning and manager Jimy Williams and the trainer
came out to check on him. He remained in the game.

"It got caught back in the rubber a little bit," Clemens said.
"It was a burning feeling. I was able to work through that
inning."

The Padres' run in the fourth was enough to leave the Rocket
with a no-decision.

After retiring 11 of the first 12 Padres batters, Clemens
allowed three straight baserunners with two outs in the fourth to
let San Diego tie it. Ryan Klesko walked, advanced on Terrence
Long's sharp single up the middle -- the Padres' first hit -- and
scored on Jay Payton's single to center.

"He's been very consistent all year long," Williams said. "We
haven't scored him a lot of runs but it doesn't seem to faze him
one bit."

Craig Biggio homered on Lawrence's third pitch of the game,
extending his NL record for career leadoff homers to 38.

Padres rookie shortstop Khalil Greene had another spectacular
game. He made a nice leaping catch of Lance Berkman's line drive to
end the first inning, and caught Biggio's liner in the seventh and
doubled Adam Everett off second.

Game notes
In his last four road starts, Clemens has allowed just
three earned runs in 27 2-3 innings, going 2-0. ... There are only
four teams Clemens hasn't faced in the regular season: Arizona, Los
Angeles, Philadelphia and, of course, the Astros. ... Petco Park is
the 32nd ballpark in which the Rocket has pitched. ... With Nevin
going on the DL following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee,
Klesko played 1B and batted cleanup, with Terrence Long starting in
LF.