Series: Game 3 of 3

San Diego won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, July 16
San Diego5Final
Game 2: Saturday, July 17
San Diego7Final
Game 3: Sunday, July 18
San Diego3Final

Padres 3

(49-42, 23-21 away)

Astros 5

(45-46, 23-22 home)

    2:05 PM ET, July 18, 2004

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    SD 000000201 3 5 0
    HOU 11000120 - 5 10 0

    W: R. Clemens (11-4)

    L: B. Lawrence (10-7)

    S: B. Lidge (8)

    Rocket gets first win in 3 weeks

    HOUSTON (AP) -- Roger Clemens was briefly reminded of better times this season, when the Houston Astros were rolling and the postseason seemed a certainty.

    The Rocket came through, once again, when the Astros really needed him to.

    Clemens won his first game in three weeks and Houston tied a season high with three homers in a 5-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Sunday, stopping a four-game losing streak and giving Phil Garner his first win as the Astros' manager.

    "Our guys jumped out there and gave me a lead, and that makes you want to hang on," Clemens said. "We scored some runs late, just like we used to when we were winning early this season."

    Clemens (11-3), rocked for six runs in the first inning during Tuesday's All-Star game in Houston, had been 0-1 in three starts since beating Pittsburgh on June 24.

    He retired 16 consecutive batters starting with the final out of the first and got his 321st win, moving three behind Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton, who share 12th place on the career list. Clemens allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings, striking out five to raise his career total to 4,225.

    Clemens had insisted that he quickly recovered from his miserable outing in the All-Star game. Then he went out and proved it.

    "I felt fine Tuesday ... there were a lot of distractions, but I had no excuses," Clemens said. "I don't concern myself with things like that. I was showcasing the city, and I would do it again. I have no regrets on that."

    Brad Lidge got three outs for his eighth save in 10 chances, allowing Ryan Klesko's homer before completing the five-hitter.

    The Astros remained a season-high 12 games behind NL Central-leading St. Louis. Houston faces its largest deficit in the division race since 2000, a big disappointment for a team that began this season with World Series hopes.

    "As bleak as our season has been going," Houston's Jeff Kent said, "obviously we're looking for some light at the end of the tunnel."

    Carlos Beltran, Kent and Craig Biggio hit solo homers, and Adam Everett went 3-for-4 with a two-run double as Houston avoided getting swept in the three-game series. Beltran's first-inning homer was his seventh since the Astros acquired him from Kansas City on June 24, but his first in Houston.

    Garner, who replaced Jimy Williams on Wednesday, got his first win since he was Detroit's manager in 2001. He was fired by the Tigers the following spring after an 0-6 start.

    "Just watching Roger Clemens pitch is something else. He's a surgeon," Garner said. "I've been watching him a long time now. But before, it's from the other side. It sure is nice to be on the other side."

    Brian Lawrence (10-7) allowed five runs and a season-high 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings.

    Kent's homer in the second and Biggio's in the sixth built a 3-0 lead.

    Brian Giles' single leading off the seventh gave San Diego its first runner since the opening inning, Lance Berkman misjudged Jay Payton's drive to right for an RBI double and Humberto Quintero followed with an RBI groundout that pulled San Diego to 3-2.

    But Everett rebuilt the lead with his two-out double in the bottom half.

    "I was glad, because it let everybody take a deep breath and relax," Everett said. "It's kind of like the beginning of the year for us now. We started out 0-2 and Roger came in and got a big win for us. I don't see anything different."

    Game notes

    The Astros have not been swept at home by San Diego since July 1999. ... Clemens faced the Padres for only the second time in his career. ... Biggio, who went 3-for-4, moved into second place on the Astros' career homer list with his 224th. ... San Diego dropped to 13-5 at Minute Maid Park. The Padres trail only San Francisco (15-3) as the road team with the best record.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press