Extra MustardSI On CampusFantasyPhoto GalleriesSwimsuitVideoFanNationSI KidsTNT
Updated: Wednesday, May 14, 2003 11:33 PM EDT
Houston Astros
Team Page | Schedule | Injuries
Stats: Batting | Pitching
2 7 0
Pittsburgh Pirates
Team Page | Schedule | Injuries
Stats: Batting | Pitching
3 7 2
W D'Amico (3-4)
L Miller (1-5)
S Williams (10)
Recap | Box Score | Lineup | ScoreCast | Game Log | How They Scored | Today's Scoreboard

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Thanks to the streaking Kenny Lofton , the Pittsburgh Pirates finally found a way to defeat the Houston Astros .

Lofton belted a two-run homer and extended his hitting streak to 14 games as the Pirates snapped a 10-game skid against the Astros with a 3-2 triumph.

Jeff D'Amico yielded just four hits and tied a career high with 10 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings for Pittsburgh, which had lost 10 of its last 11 overall.

"It was probably the best that I've pitched," D'Amico said. "You'd even have to go back to last year."

"D'Amico really pitched a strong game," Houston manager Jimy Williams said. "He changed speeds, he was getting his breaking ball over. He was really working out there tonight."

D'Amico (3-4), who entered with a 1-3 record and a 6.38 ERA in five games against Houston, surrendered five runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings Friday in a loss to Arizona.

"I can't say enough about Jeff D'Amico today," Lofton said. "He kept them off-balance. All we had to do was give him some run support."

Neither team scored until the bottom of the fifth inning, when D'Amico drew a one-out walk from Astros starter Wade Miller (1-5) and Lofton followed with a home run that barely cleared the wall in left field.

Lofton's hitting streak is the Pirates' longest since John Vander Wal hit in 16 straight games in 2000.

"It's not a surprise that I hit to the opposite field," Lofton said. "I've done it before."

The Pirates made it 3-0 one inning later when Jack Wilson plated Randall Simon with a single.

Houston finally scored in the eighth, when Jeff Bagwell delivered two-out double off Brian Boehringer and Jeff Kent homered in the first row of seats beyond the left field fence.

After Lance Berkman reached on an error by third baseman Aramis Ramirez and Richard Hidalgo singled off Julian Tavarez , Jose Vizcaino flied to left to end the threat.

Mike Williams pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 10th save.

"Maybe we can get on a streak now," Mike Williams said. "We had to win the first win, and I guess the way we've been playing, you can call one win a streak."

It was the Pirates' ninth victory in 30 games, while Houston lost for just the third time in 13 contests.

"In a month, you guys will be saying, `I told you so,'" beleaguered Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon told reporters. "We have some quality people in that locker room. They play their (butts) off. Before the game today, I told them to stand up. This was a very hard ballgame against a very good team against a very good pitcher. We had some quality at-bats."

Houston nearly scored first as Miller led off the third with a single and Craig Biggio doubled him to third. But D'Amico struck out Geoff Blum and, after intentionally walking Bagwell, struck out Kent and got Berkman to pop out.

"Blum's a pretty tough hitter," D'Amico said. "I was able to get him, walked Bagwell and Kent swung at a bad pitch and then was able to get Berkman to pop up. That inning was the key to the game."

"(Intentionally walking Bagwell) was a risky thing to do, but Bagwell has had some success against Jeff," McClendon said. "You're picking your poison. Tonight Jeff D'Amico was pretty good."

Miller allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.

"Miller pitched good," Jimy Williams said. "The guy gives up an opposite-field, inside-the-foul-pole home run ... you tip your hat to (Lofton)."

"I thought that I threw well," Miller added. "I was a little wild early, going in a tough game with a pitcher who was throwing well as well. Lofton just went to the opposite side. It barely made it in. Outside of that, we're still playing."

© 2005 STATS, Inc