Friday, April 30, 2004

NL: Pettitte shines in return from DL

The Associated Press

PITTSBURGH - Just as he has during nearly all of his 150 career victories, Andy Pettitte stood at the clubhouse door and greeted his teammates as they left the field.

Only this was a first: Instead of shaking the hands of Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter, he was embracing Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. His uniform didn't have Yankees pinstripes, either, but rather the brick red of his hometown Astros.

Welcome back, Andy Pettitte.

Pettitte came off the disabled list to breeze effortlessly through the Pirates' lineup, allowing only one hit over six excellent innings before his bullpen finished Houston's 2-0 decision Thursday over Pittsburgh.

"It's exciting to be able to get my first win as an Astro and, obviously, it's a nice milestone to get No. 150 in my career," Pettitte said. "It's special, but I didn't think it would take this long to get one."

Pettitte (1-1) hadn't pitched in 23 days because of a strained left elbow yet looked just like the pitcher who won 21 games for New York last season and has averaged nearly 17 victories per season.

"That's the Andy that everybody knows," teammate Jose Vizcaino said.

The left-hander quickly settled into a rhythm, something he didn't do in a 7-5 loss to the Giants on April 6 in his Astros debut. Raul Mondesi was the lone Pittsburgh player to reach base against him, drawing a walk in the first and hitting a ground-ball single up the middle in the third.

"You don't win 20 games because you're lucky," said Mondesi, a teammate last season in New York. "He's tough when he makes pitches like he does today. When he's throwing that hard breaking ball and cutter and staying in the zone, he's real tough."

Cardinals 5, Phillies 4, 13 innings

ST. LOUIS - Jim Edmonds homered to lead off the 13th inning to give the St. Louis Cardinals a victory and avoid a three-game sweep.

Edmonds hit an 0-2 pitch from Amaury Telemaco, entering his fifth inning of relief, over the right-field wall for the sixth game-ending homer of his career.

Edmonds had struggled at the plate before that, going 1-for-5 with a single and three strikeouts.

The Cardinals raised their home record to 4-9 after going 48-33 last year. They avoided their worst start at Busch Stadium since going 2-11 in 1969.

Manager Tony La Russa became the second manager in major-league history to win 700 games with two teams, joining Sparky Anderson. La Russa also won 798 games with Oakland from 1986-95. Anderson won 863 with the Reds from 1970-78 and 1,331 with the Tigers from 1979-95.

Marlins 4, Giants 3

SAN FRANCISCO - Barry Bonds wanted to play Thursday, so manager Felipe Alou rewrote his lineup to include the star slugger. Bonds hit his 668th home run, giving the six-time NL MVP and his late father, Bobby, a total of 1,000.

But World Series champion Florida hit three homers of its own to defeat San Francisco.

Mike Lowell connected for a tiebreaking solo homer off Felix Rodriguez (1-1) in the top of the ninth inning.

Hee Seop Choi and Ramon Castro also homered for the Marlins, who began a four-game series against the team they beat in four games in last year's NL playoffs.

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