Originally created 09/10/04

Houston rebounds, earns split



PITTSBURGH - Jeff Bagwell, Brad Ausmus and Lance Berkman drove in two runs each and the Houston Astros shook off Pirates starter Oliver Perez's dominance in the opener, beating Pittsburgh 9-2 for their 13th victory in 14 games and a doubleheader split.

In the first game, Perez ended the Astros' 12-game winning streak with the most dominating start of his short career, striking out 14 in a 3-1 victory - the Astros' only loss since Aug. 26.

Pirates second game starter Josh Fogg (9-10) didn't offer nearly the challenge Perez did, giving Houston a gift run with a balk while allowing eight runs and eight hits in 6w innings.

It was a quick return to form for the Astros, who averaged nine-plus runs per game during their franchise-record tying winning streak. The Astros won their 16th in 18 games and 21st in 25 games and are tied with the San Francisco Giants for the National League wild-card lead.

METS 4, MARLINS 0

In Miami, former Clemson pitcher Kris Benson took a shutout into the seventh inning, Eric Valent homered and New York ended three streaks by beating Florida.

The Mets snapped an 11-game losing streak while stopping the Marlins' franchise record-tying nine-game winning streak. New York also ended a run of 10 consecutive losses to Florida.

Benson (11-11), who skipped his last turn with a sore shoulder, limited Florida to five hits and a walk in six-plus innings.

He improved to 3-3 since joining New York, with an ERA of 6.43.

BREWERS 7, REDS 2

In Cincinnati, Wes Helms hit a grand slam, and Brady Clark had four hits against his former team, leading Milwaukee to victory.

Doug Davis (11-10) tied his career high for wins with his first victory in seven starts since July 30. He allowed six hits and two runs with no walks in six innings. He was 0-1 with a 2.81 ERA and five no-decisions since his last win. Davis also had 11 wins for Texas in 2001.

YANKEES 9-10, DEVIL RAYS 1-5

In New York, Gary Sheffield and Tony Clark each drove in two runs during a seven-run second inning as New York completed a doubleheader sweep of sinking Tampa Bay.

Mike Mussina threw eight sharp innings in a victory in the opener, which started with just a few hundred fans in the stands. Yankee Stadium filled up a bit more for the nightcap, with the paid attendance of 41,230 fans.

The Yankees won all four games in the rain-shortened series and have won five in a row overall. They extended their American League East lead over Boston by at least a half-game, the first time they've increased the margin at all since Aug. 23.

The Red Sox, trailing by three games, were scheduled to play at Seattle on Thursday night.

WHITE SOX 7, RANGERS 3

In Arlington, Texas, Mark Buehrle pitched a three-hitter for his second complete game of the season, leading Chicago to a victory over slumping Texas.

Paul Konerko and Joe Crede homered for the White Sox, who have won six of seven.

Texas lost for the ninth time in 11 games.