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Houston hot, but still trailing Cards

9/10/2002

HOUSTON (AP) -- Mark Loretta got the game-winning hit in the 10th
inning. Craig Biggio's alert baserunning made it possible.

Loretta singled home Biggio with one out and the Houston Astros
beat the Colorado Rockies 6-5 Monday night.

Biggio led off with a walk and moved to second on a single by
Lance Berkman.

On Jeff Bagwell's flyout to medium deep center field, Biggio
tagged and moved to third, barely ahead of the throw. Loretta then
lined a hit through the left side.

"Biggio's play to go to third was a great play. It was the play
of the inning and it took some pressure off of me,'' Loretta said.

Said Astros manager Jimy Williams: "Biggio made a really good
play. That helped us plate the winning run. If he doesn't go, we
are not in that position.''

Williams has been impressed with Loretta since he was acquired
in a trade from Milwaukee on August 31.

"He's contributed everything we expected and then some. His
contributions with the bat have been big. That base hit in a
game-winning situation tonight couldn't have been bigger,''
Williams said.

Houston has won five of its last seven games and remains 5 1/2
games behind St. Louis in the NL Central.

Brad Lidge (1-0) got the win, pitching one inning. Randy Flores
(0-1) took the loss.

Houston scored four times in the fourth to tie it 4. Jason Lane
hit his first homer in the majors, a three-run drive, and Geoff
Blum hit his ninth home run.

Todd Helton hit his 28th homer, a solo shot in the fifth that
put the Rockies ahead 5-4.

The Astros made it 5-all in the sixth when Brad Ausmus singled
and scored on a double by pinch-hitter Richard Hidalgo.

"The sixth inning has been a black hole for us all season.
Unless we can get a starter past the sixth, we just aren't getting
it done,'' complained Colorado manager Clint Hurdle.

Colorado took a 1-0 lead in the second when Helton singled and
later scored on a single by Gary Bennett.

The Rockies increased their lead to 4-0 in the third on an RBI
double by Helton and a two-run single by Jose Ortiz.

Game notes
Since opening day of 2001, Houston is 145-3 when leading
after eight innings ... Berkman's next home run will make him only
the third different player in Houston franchise history to record a
40-home run season. The other two are Bagwell, who did it three
times, and Hidalgo. ... Helton is 7-for-13 against Houston this
season and .351 (47-for-134) for his career.