Wednesday, September 29, 2004

NL: Bagwell hit lifts Astros to victory



The Associated Press

HOUSTON - Jeff Bagwell drove in two runs, and Brandon Backe pitched five solid innings to help the Houston Astros gain ground in the NL wild-card race with a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday night.

The Astros moved within a half-game of the Chicago Cubs, who lost to the Reds 8-3. San Francisco (87-69) was also a half-game back, percentage points ahead of Houston (88-70). The Giants played at San Diego late.

St. Louis third baseman Scott Rolen went 0-for-3 in his return after missing 16 games with a strained upper left calf and bruised left shin. Houston has won five of its last six and tied a franchise record with its 14th straight home win, equaling a mark set in 1980.

Backe (4-3) allowed five hits, struck out three and walked three. Dan Haren (3-3) took the loss.

Chad Qualls pitched two scoreless innings, Dan Miceli got two outs in the eighth and Brad Lidge got four outs for his 26th save in 30 chances.

Marlins 5, Expos 2

MONTREAL - Jeff Conine homered and Mike Lowell drove in two runs to lead Florida over Montreal in what might prove to be the Expos' second-to-last game at Olympic Stadium.

A crowd of 5,416 was on hand, probably the last tiny baseball crowd at the stadium.

The Expos are expected to be relocated for 2005, and about 20,000 to 25,000 fans are expected to attend the team's final home game of the season - and probably ever - in Montreal today.

Ismael Valdez (14-8) held the Expos to one hit - Juan Rivera's double in the second - through five scoreless innings before leaving after allowing Rivera's two-run homer with two outs in the sixth.

Armando Benitez set a Marlins record with his 46th save in 50 opportunities.

Mets 2, Braves 1, Game 1; Braves 5, Mets 2, Game 2

ATLANTA - Johnny Estrada's sixth-inning single broke a 2-2 tie and started a three-run rally that carried the Atlanta Braves to a 5-2 victory over the New York Mets for a split of a doubleheader.

The Mets got strong pitching from starter Steve Trachsel to win the opener 2-1 on a pair of solo home runs by Gerald Williams and Eric Valent.

The Braves trailed 2-1 in the nightcap when Nick Green opened the sixth with a single off Tom Glavine. Green moved to second on Eli Marrero's sacrifice and Chipper Jones was walked intentionally before Estrada broke the tie with a single to center.

After Adam LaRoche walked to load the bases, Wilson Betemit had a run-scoring single and Dewayne Wise followed with a sacrifice fly.

Pirates-Phillies, ppd.

PHILADELPHIA - The game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday was postponed because of rain.

The game was called off more than two hours before the scheduled first pitch at 7:05 p.m. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader today, with the first game starting at 5:05 p.m.




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NL: Bagwell hit lifts Astros to victory
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