The Astros were on the verge of getting swept by the San Francisco Giants on Thursday before Lance Berkman’s three-run homer sparked a five-run ninth, lifting Houston to a much-needed 7-3 victory at SBC Park.
Instead of falling four games back of the Giants, the Astros knocked San Francisco out of the wild-card lead and remained within 2 1/2 games of the Chicago Cubs, who took a half-game lead in the tight race.
Closing in on his seventh 20-win season and perhaps his record seventh Cy Young, Clemens has won six straight starts, including a 1-0 home decision over the Brewers on Sunday. The hard-throwing right-hander won his 18th game of the season and the 328th of his career, allowing two hits and striking out 10 in eight innings—his longest outing of the season.
“It was definitely the Roger Clemens show,” Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell said. “He’s amazing, he really is. I sit here every five days and say the same things. There’s almost nothing left to say.”
Clemens is 15-9 with a 1.98 ERA in 29 career starts, including 11 complete games and three shutouts, against the Brewers. In three starts against them this year, the 42-year-old Clemens is 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA. He is also hitting .375 (3-for-8) against the Brewers with an RBI and his lone double of the season.
The Brewers dropped three of four to the major league-leading St. Louis Cardinals, including Thursday’s 4-2 defeat. They have lost nine of 10 overall.
Geoff Jenkins homered Thursday, and is batting .370 (10-for-27) with two homers and four RBIs in his last seven games. He is hitting .344 (21-for-61) with three homers and eight RBIs against the Astros this year.