<
>

Biggio's single buoys Astros

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Roger Clemens was denied a victory, but helped
the Houston Astros keep pace in the NL wild-card race with another
impressive outing.

Craig Biggio's sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning
lifted the Astros to a 1-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday
night. Houston remained 2½ games behind the Chicago Cubs, who beat
the New York Mets, in the NL wild-card standings.

The Astros, who beat San Francisco with a five-run ninth inning
Thursday night, took the red-eye flight to Milwaukee and got to
their hotel at 7 a.m -- except for Clemens, who arrived the previous
day and was ready to go.

"This is a situation where I'm the last person that should
complain about being tired," he said after allowing five hits in
seven 1-3 innings and lowering his ERA from 3.00 to 2.89.

"I knew my guys were tired," Clemens said. "I had my eyes set
on nine innings. I wasn't about to complain about getting tired."

Clemens was denied his 19th victory and took a no-decision, but
struck out a season-high 12, giving him 210 strikeouts for the
season. He surpassed 200 for the 12th time in his career.

The Brewers had at least one runner in scoring position in each
of the first four innings and the eighth, but failed to capitalize
each time.

"With the guys somewhat spent, I just felt runs were going to
be hard to come by," Clemens said. "And I couldn't make a
mistake, either."

In the top of the 10th, Brad Ausmus surprised the Brewers with a
bunt single down the third-base line off Mike Adams (2-3). Adams
fielded the ball and threw wildly to first, but Ausmus looked at
where the ball rolled and stayed put before he was replaced by
pinch-runner Willy Taveras.

Orlando Palmeiro, pinch hitting for Brad Lidge (6-5), blooped a
single into short left field and Taveras, watching where the ball
fell, raced to third. Biggio followed with his sacrifice fly to
right and Taveras scored easily as the throw from Chris Magruder
was up the third-base line.

"Their offense consisted of an infield bunt, a blooper barely
out of the infield and a sacrifice fly," Brewers manager Ned Yost
said. "It's still more than we could muster."

Lidge pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings for the win, and Dan Miceli
worked the 10th for his second save.

Biggio was 0-for-4 until his second sacrifice fly of the season.

"It's all about getting it down," he said. "And obviously
tonight, 1-0 was all you really needed."

The Astros were without second baseman Jeff Kent and reliever
Dan Wheeler, who began serving their suspensions. Kent received a
two-game suspension for arguing with an umpire on July 25. Wheeler
is out three games for hitting the Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee on
Aug. 29.

The Brewers, who have lost 10 of their last 11, had a chance to
take the lead against Clemens with the game scoreless in the
eighth.

Scott Podsednik and Keith Ginter singled with one out and
Clemens threw one more pitch, a ball, to Lyle Overbay before
manager Phil Garner took out the right-hander.

Lidge came in and struck out Overbay and got Geoff Jenkins to
ground out to get out of the jam.

Doug Davis matched up against Clemens for the second time this
week in his career-high 33rd start of the season and sixth against
the Astros. He took the loss five days ago despite allowing just
one run and four hits with three walks and five strikeouts in seven
innings.

This time, Davis allowed five hits in seven innings, struck out
eight and walked two before Luis Vizcaino took over to start the
eighth.

The Astros had several chances to take the lead, but couldn't
score.

In the first, they had runners at the corners with one out, but
Jason Alfaro hit into a double play. Houston had the bases loaded
and two outs in the fourth, but Alfaro struck out on a high
fastball. In the seventh, with runners at first and second and two
outs, Clemens struck out swinging.

Brady Clark suffered a high ankle sprain when he tripped while
rounding third in the bottom of the fourth. He was replaced in
right field by Magruder to start the fifth and is day-to-day.

Game notes
With a crowd of 34,890, the Brewers' season total is
2,021,074, surpassing the 2 million mark for just the third time in
club history. The record is 2,811,041 -- set in 2001, the inaugural
year of Miller Park. ... The Brewers claimed 23-year-old
left-hander Sam Narron off waivers from the Texas Rangers. He made
one start against Oakland this season, allowing four runs in 2 2/3
innings. ... Overbay's double in the Brewer third, his 49th, tied
Robin Yount for the franchise record set in 1980.