Astros 7, Dodgers 4

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HOUSTON (AP)—Craig Biggio started his long goodbye with a grand slam.

Hours after announcing his plan to retire at the end of this season, Biggio capped a six-run sixth inning with a tiebreaking grand slam that led the Houston Astros over the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-4 on Tuesday night.

“Emotionally, it was a tough day,” Biggio said. “To have this happen is amazing. I still think I’m going to die early with all that has happened this season.

“I didn’t even feel like I was touching the bases as I ran around them. It was just magical. It was a special, special night.”

Biggio, a 20-year veteran who reached 3,000 hits on June 28, connected off Rudy Seanez (6-2) for his fourth career slam and second this season.

Biggio, who also hit a slam at Milwaukee on April 20, was given a standing ovation before he came to the plate leading off the bottom of the first inning. The applause went on for nearly two minutes before Biggio backed out of the batter’s box and took his helmet off to acknowledge the fans.

“It was about as exciting as it could get,” manager Phil Garner said. “It was vintage Biggio. This year has been a lot of fun with him. He has been the most relaxed I’ve ever seen him. Even when he got five hits away from 3,000, he was relaxed.”

Biggio also singled in the fifth and went 2-for-5. With 3,016 hits, he moved within four of Rafael Palmeiro for 23rd place.

The performance impressed the Dodgers.

“It was typical Biggio,” said Luis Gonzalez, a former teammate of Biggio. “It was kind of meant to be for him today. He’s a great ambassador for the city of Houston.

“All the things he does on the field and off the field, he’s been first-class his entire career. … It was only fitting that he hit a grand slam tonight. I just wish it hadn’t been against us.”

Manager Grady Little added: “It was a special day for (Biggio). I have a lot of respect for what he’s accomplished. He’s made the difference in a lot of games throughout his career and he made the difference tonight.”

Jason Jennings (2-6), who had lost his previous five starts, allowed three runs and three hits in six innings to win for the first time since June 19 at the Los Angeles Angels.

“He had that rough inning, but then he settled down after that and started making better pitches,” Garner said. “He forced himself to get the ball down in the zone after that.”

Jennings had been on the longest losing streak of his big league career and had just one win in his previous seven starts against the Dodgers.

“I’m making good strides,” he said. “I gave up three runs early, but I kept us close. I pitched a lot better after the runs were given up and I gave the offense a chance.”

Brad Lidge pitched the ninth for his fourth save—all since he came off the disabled list July 12. He has three blown saves this year.

Mark Hendrickson, making his first start against Houston, gave up three runs and six hits in five-plus innings. Los Angeles has lost five of its last eight.

Hendrickson’s run-scoring wild pitch put Houston ahead in the first, but Los Angeles built a 3-1 lead in the second on Jeff Kent’s leadoff homer, James Loney’s RBI double and Andre Ethier’s run-scoring groundout.

Lance Berkman’s single and Carlos Lee’s double chased Hendrickson in the sixth, and Morgan Ensberg tied the score with a two-run double off Seanez.

Russell Martin hit a one-out RBI double in the eighth against Dan Wheeler, who then retired Kent and Luis Gonzalez on grounders.


Kent has 333 homers as a second baseman, best in the majors. Ryne Sandberg is second at 277. … The Astros have six grand slams this season, one short of the club record set in 2001. … Kent has reached base safely in 35 straight games, best in the majors this season. Loney ran his string of reaching base safely to 28 games with his second-inning double.

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