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Surging Astros launch six home runs, rout Pirates

HOUSTON (AP) -- When Houston ace Roy Oswalt returned to the
dugout after hitting his first career home run Wednesday night, his
teammates gave him the silent treatment.

No high-fives, no congratulations, no smiles.

Luke Scott was the first Astro to crack, and the rest of the
team finally let Oswalt in on the joke.

"They straight-faced me. It was pretty good," Oswalt said
after the Astros' 14-1 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates. "I knew
what was going on. It was pretty nice."

Oswalt's two-run shot off Pittsburgh starter Shawn Chacon was
the most notable of Houston's season-high six homers.

Aubrey Huff connected twice and drove in a career-high six runs,
and Jason Lane hit a two-run homer while pinch-hitting for Oswalt
in the seventh. Craig Biggio and Scott added solo shots for the
Astros, who have won six of eight. Huff also had a three-run
double, and Scott hit an RBI single.

The Pirates allowed six homers in a game for the first time
since Aug. 4, 2002, against San Francisco.

Oswalt said he's already asked the Astros to help him track down
the fan in the left-field seats who caught his second-inning drive.

"It was pretty exciting," Oswalt said. "It felt like winning
the first game in the big leagues. Pretty much the same thing. I
always wanted to get at least one."

Oswalt (9-7) won for the third time in four starts, allowing
four hits and striking out six in six innings. Freddy Sanchez
ruined the shutout bid with an RBI double in the sixth.

Russ Springer, Dave Borkowski and Fernando Nieve each pitched a
scoreless inning of relief for Houston.

"Today was just one of those days where we couldn't do anything
wrong," said Biggio, who homered for the second straight game.

Chacon (1-1), acquired from the New York Yankees for Craig Wilson on July 31, lasted only 1 2/3 innings, leaving with the
Astros up 6-0.

Houston came into the game with 24 homers since the All-Star
break, and Biggio started Wednesday's outburst in the first inning,
sending an 0-1 pitch into the left-field seats. His seventh homer
since July 26 was his fourth in five home games against Pittsburgh
this season.

Chacon walked Lance Berkman before Huff hammered his first home
run of the night to left, only a few rows from where Biggio's
landed.

Adam Everett led off the second with a double off the left-field
wall before Oswalt, a career .161 hitter, belted a 2-1 pitch over
the left-field wall for his first major league homer.

Oswalt didn't realize he homered until he rounded first base.

"I didn't know where it was going," he said. "I was looking
for the outfielders to start moving and finally, they started
moving back toward the wall, so I thought I might have a double off
the wall or something. I knew I hit it pretty well. I finally saw
it go into the stands."

Oswalt got a standing ovation as he circled the bases and the
crowd continued to cheer as he disappeared into the dugout. As
Pirates pitching coach Jim Colborn walked out to talk to Chacon,
Oswalt appeased the fans with a quick wave.

"They pushed me out," Oswalt said. "You run it through your
head what you're going to do on your first home run."

Chacon then continued his worst start since July 4, when he gave
up seven runs in the Yankees' 19-1 loss to Cleveland. He walked
Willy Taveras, got Biggio on a flyout, then walked Huff and
Berkman.

Scott, batting .413 since he was called up from Triple-A Round
Rock on July 12, followed with an RBI single to right, prompting
Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy to replace Chacon with Victor Santos.

"The ball was up in the zone when I did throw strikes. They
made me pay," Chacon said. "That's pretty much the bottom line --
I just stunk."

Santos walked Morgan Ensberg to score Huff and make it 7-0.

With two outs in the third, Taveras and Biggio singled to start
another rally. Santos walked Berkman before Huff doubled to the
fence in right-center, clearing the bases for a 10-0 lead.

"There's very little to say," Tracy said. "We didn't pitch
all that well, obviously.

"It's one of those nights," he added. "We just have to start
all over tomorrow."

With two outs in the fifth, Huff sent a 400-foot shot into the
upper deck in right, his fourth homer since the Astros acquired him
from Tampa Bay on July 12. Scott hit Santos' next pitch into the
lower deck in right, the fifth time this season the Astros have hit
back-to-back home runs.

Houston manager Phil Garner said Huff has been swinging the bat
well for a while with few results to show for it until Wednesday.

"He decided to hit it out of the park. They can't catch it out
there," Garner said. "He really has been hitting the ball well."

Nate McLouth singled in the sixth for Pittsburgh and scored on
Sanchez's 38th double.

Game notes
Oswalt's homer was the first by an Astros pitcher since
Brandon Backe connected off Aaron Harang in Cincinnati on Sept. 6,
2004. ... Garner earned his 900th career victory. ... Taveras beat
out an infield single in the third to extend his hitting streak to
12 games. ... Pittsburgh reliever Josh Sharpless twisted his right
ankle fielding a grounder in the sixth and left the game.