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In the Bags

Bagwell breaks his own team HR record

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Latest: Friday September 15, 2000 02:32 AM

  Jeff Bagwell Jeff Bagwell launches homerun number 44. Bagwell came over from the Red Sox to open up room for then prospect Mo Vaughn. AP

HOUSTON (AP) -- Jeff Bagwell wasn't impressed by his 44th homer, which broke the Astros' record he set three years ago.

"It's nice but it's kind of weird to break your own record," he said after the Astros rallied past Pittsburgh 8-7 Thursday night. "The good thing is it put a couple or runs on the board. I'm happy about it, but it's just another day in the baseball season."

Houston built a 3-0 lead on Mitch Meluskey's RBI single in the second and Bagwell's two-run homer in the third.

"I've always said home runs are an overrated stat," Bagwell said. "I'd just as soon have a two run single as a two run homer. My job is to produce runs anyway I can do it."

While the previous mark was set when Houston played in the Astrodome, this year Bagwell gets to play half his games at Enron Field, the home run-hitting haven.

"I knew it was inevitable and he will probably hit some more this year," Astros manager Larry Dierker said. "If we can get the guy signed in the offseason, he's liable to hit a lot more in this park."

Statitudes: Team Home Run Records Keep Falling
Home runs are being smashed at mind-boggling rates. As a result, broken home run records are sounding just like that -- a broken record.

It's no different for individual single-season team records ... with one exception: If they haven't been broken in the past five years, chances are they haven't been touched for a long time.

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    Bagwell's home run came off Bronson Arroyo, who gave up three runs and five hits in three innings. It was Bagwell's fourth homer in his last eight games.

    "He was aggressive his first time up," Arroyo said, referring to a groundout. "The first pitch in his second at-bat was a cutter away and he swung aggressively again. We figured he was going to by impatient, so I threw him an 0-1 changeup. I thought he would be out in front, but he reached down and got it."

    Chris Truby hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to drive in the winning run, extending Pittsburgh's losing streak to six, which matched its season high. Houston stopped a three-game skid.

    Matt Skrmetta (1-1) walked Richard Hidalgo with one out in the ninth, Moises Alou singled and Brian O'Connor walked Meluskey, loading the bases. Truby then lofted a sacrifice fly to center, and Meluskey scored easily.

    "I was just worrying about getting a pitch to hit in the air," Truby said. "I think our bullpen deserves a lot of the credit for keeping us in the game."

    Joe Slusarski (2-6) struck out two in two-thirds of an inning.

    Astros starter Chris Holt allowed six runs -- five earned -- and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. John Vander Wal's two-run homer and Abraham Nunez's RBI grounder tied the score in the fourth, and the Pirates went ahead 6-3 in the fifth on a three-run homer by Kevin Young, who missed the previous 16 games with a groin injury.

    Adrian Brown's RBI single in the sixth off Jason Greene made it 7-3, but Houston closed within a run in the bottom half on Truby's RBI single and pinch-hitter Bill Spiers' two-run double.

    Meluskey tied it with a sacrifice fly in the seventh off Rich Loiselle.

    Notes: Meluskey has thrown out only 15 of 74 runners attempting to steal this season. ... Houston is a major-league worst 13-29 in one run games and 6-13 in two-run games. ... Pittsburgh had won its previous six road games. ... It was only the second time in 22 games since Aug. 22 that Houston's starter didn't get a decision. The other was in Monday's 8-7 loss to San Francisco.


     
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