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Clemens wins No. 346 as Astros beat Brewers

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Houston Astros needed a good starting
pitching performance Sunday after they used five relievers Saturday
night. Luckily for them, they had Roger Clemens on the mound.

Clemens struck out seven in seven innings to get his 346th
career win, leading the Astros over the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1.

Clemens (5-4) gave up six hits and one run to improve to 3-0
with a no-decision in his last four starts. He allowed just one
runner past second base, lowering his ERA to 2.58, and threw 80 of
his 108 pitches for strikes.

Astros manager Phil Garner was most impressed with Clemens'
decision to pitch the seventh inning and save a weary, and
struggling bullpen.

"What can you say about this guy?" Garner said. "I am
continually amazed. ... There are just hundreds of pitchers out
there you can't get another inning. They'll go out there and try it
for you, but they don't get it done."

Clemens said he knew the significance of the seventh, in which
he allowed a leadoff single before retiring the side in order and
giving way to three relievers who did not allow another run. Dan
Wheeler pitched the ninth for his fourth save -- a day after Houston
pitchers combined to walk 11 and hit two batters in a 6-4 loss to
Milwaukee.

"I knew ahead of time our guys have been used a lot out there
in the bullpen," Clemens said. "I was just real fortunate to get
the seventh under our belt, so we didn't have to use the guys too
much."

Milwaukee's Doug Davis (9-7) yielded three runs and three hits
in six innings to lose for the first time since July 9. He was 4-0
with three no-decisions in his seven previous starts.

Davis struck out seven and walked four. Two of those batters,
Luke Scott and Jason Lane, scored in the third inning on Adam
Everett's two-out, two-run double.

Davis also walked Lane with the bases loaded in the first to put
Houston in front 1-0.

"Walks will kill you," Davis said. "They hurt me today. Other
than that, I threw pretty good. I got outpitched today. He pitched
a great game. He is Roger Clemens, one of the best competitors in
the game."

The Astros had lost seven of eight.

Clemens was coming off his worst outing of the season Tuesday,
when he gave up five earned runs in six innings in a no-decision
against the Chicago Cubs.

Against the Brewers, his only blemish came in the third, when
Corey Hart hit his fourth home run of the season.

Clemens improved to 18-12 in his career against the Brewers and
also singled in the seventh for his first hit of the season.
Clemens started the year 0-for-17.

"What he does is he doesn't beat himself," Brewers manager Ned
Yost said. "He makes you beat him with the bat. He was banging
strikes and keeping the ball down."

Clemens said he was unaware of his ratio of strikes to balls.

"If I was that aggressive in the strike zone with the number of
pitches, that's great," he said. "In a good game like this, the
type of game it was breaking down to be, you don't want to offer
any free passes."

The four walks hurt Davis, who entered play having given up the
second-most walks in the National League. He walked two batters in
the first and third innings.

Taveras led off the game with a single to center, extending his
hitting streak to 23 games. Two batters later, Lance Berkman
reached after Fielder dropped a chest-high throw from third baseman
David Bell. The Astros went on to load the bases and Davis walked
Lane to force in Taveras.

"That set up the whole inning," Yost said of Fielder's error.
"We catch that, that doesn't happen. Sometimes it's tough picking
up the ball with all the white shirts."

Both teams are 59-65 and five games behind NL wild-card leader
Cincinnati. Houston travels to Cincinnati for three games starting
Monday. The Brewers host Colorado for three.

"When we have a chance to get things done on the road, we need
to do it," Clemens said. "In one sense, we're pretty fortunate to
be where we're at. We're just like any other team right now. We're
looking for that 12 out of 15 [wins]."

Game notes
After the game, the Astros designated backup C Eric Munson
for assignment and recalled C J.R. House from Triple-A Round Rock.
... Astros RHP Roy Oswalt, scratched from his scheduled start
Saturday due to a bruised right hand, is listed as day to day and
will start Wednesday against the Reds, the team said. ... Brewers
2B Tony Graffanino had three hits to raise his average 20 points to
.333. ... Brewers relievers have thrown 22 straight scoreless
innings.