Astros 1, Brewers 0, 10 innings
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 2 1/2 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 redeye 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 7 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 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.
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.
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.