PHOENIX (AP) -- Andy Pettitte was especially pleased with his
"There's no doubt as far as my stuff," the Houston left-hander
said after beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 Wednesday night.
"My cutter was a lot better than it has been. It was going down
really good tonight. I felt like I could get guys out."Pettitte pitched a season-high eight innings, and the Astros
extended Arizona's losing streak to 10.Carlos Beltran and Craig Biggio each hit a solo homer for
Houston, which improved to 2-4 since Phil Garner replaced Jimy
Williams as manager last week.Arizona's skid is one shy of the team record set from June
18-29, and the Diamondbacks dropped to 2-15 since manager Al
Pedrique took over for Bob Brenly. Arizona extended its club record
for home losses to seven.Pettitte (6-3), who was 1-2 in his previous six starts, pitched
in Phoenix for the first time since losing Games 2 and 6 of the
2001 World Series for the New York Yankees. He took a five-hit
shutout into the eighth before allowing Scott Hairston's double and
Steve Finley's homer, which pulled Arizona to 3-2.Pettitte allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out seven,
including Luis Gonzalez and Danny Bautista twice each. Bautista had
five hits and six RBI in Pettitte's 2001 World Series starts."Horrible memories, and especially the way everything went down
in the World Series those two games," Pettitte said. "But it was
good to come back here and see this ballpark. It's a beautiful
place to come and play, and it was good to have a good outing."Brad Lidge pitched the ninth for his ninth save in 11 chances,
his eighth straight.Brandon Webb (3-11) allowed two runs, six hits and five walks in
seven innings along with a hit batter and two wild pitches. Webb,
who needed 90 pitches to get through four innings, is 0-6 in nine
starts since June 3."He worked in the count, kept the ball down," Pedrique said.
"The home runs were pitches up a little bit, but after that he
made some adjustments and went right after the hitters. We like his
body language on the mound; he showed some confidence, and that's a
good sign."Beltran homered on an 0-2 pitch in the third inning, his eighth
since Houston acquired him from Kansas City on June 24 and 23rd
overall. Biggio homered in the fourth.Brandon Villafuerte walked three straight batters on a total of
12 pitches in the eighth, forcing in a run with his walk to Adam
Everett. Brad Ausmus added a two-run single in the ninth off
Stephen Randolph."We got the key hits when we needed them," Garner said.
"Yeah, we would have liked to take advantage of their wildness
better than we did, but the bottom line is we needed a win."Biggio hit an inning-ending grounder with the bases loaded in
the second, and Beltran had an inning-ending flyout against Randy
Choate in the eighth as Houston stranded 14 runners."As long as you keep getting them on, sooner or later you start
driving guys in," Biggio said. "We got good pitching and played
good defense, a lot of things we did early on this season. We just
need to get a little momentum and get this thing rolling."Bautista (first inning) and Alex Cintron (fourth) both hit into
inning-ending double plays for Arizona."We've been in most all the games we've played," said Finley,
who tied J.D. Drew for sixth in the National League with his 23rd
homer. "It just comes down to a play in the field or an at-bat or
a pitch, and costs us the game. It's frustrating."
Bautista threw out Jeff Kent at third base to complete an
inning-ending double play in the fifth following Morgan Ensberg's
flyout. ... Pettitte has been on the DL twice this season, the
second time from May 27 to June 28 with a left forearm strain. ...
Finley went 3-for-4, homering in his second straight game.