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Updated: Sunday, June 15, 2003 1:33 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
Houston Astros
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
4 9 1
Boston Red Sox
Team Page | Schedule | Injuries
Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
8 12 0
W Lowe (7-3)
L Redding (4-5)
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BOSTON 8, HOUSTON 4
 

BOSTON (Ticker) -- To say Derek Lowe grounded the Houston Astros ' offense would be an understatement.

Lowe recorded 20 of 22 outs on the ground and David Ortiz drove in three runs as the Boston Red Sox posted an 8-4 triumph over the Astros.

Lowe (7-3) won his third straight start, coasting after being staked to a 6-2 lead. The 29-year-old righthander had his sinker working, recording 20 groundouts - 10 fielded by rookie third baseman Freddy Sanchez . Lowe allowed four runs and nine hits in 7 1/3 innings with a walk and a strikeout.

"It was awesome," Sanchez said of all the action. "Probably the greatest feeling - moment in baseball that I've ever had. Every ball is coming to you. That's what I've said all my life. You've got to stay on your toes, especially when Derek is pitching. He gets a lot of ground balls and tonight he did. I felt good and I wanted more and more to come."

"He made every play," Lowe said. "It was fun to watch him make every play, play after play."

Houston manager Jimy Williams acknowledged the rookie's job on defense.

"He had a lot more plays and he certainly came through on every one," Williams said. "Lowe just got a lot of ground balls. His sinker was really working. I kept seeing our hitters come up there in their previous at-bats with a ground ball here and a ground ball there."

After a two-run triple by Trot Nixon in the fourth inning erased Boston's 2-0 deficit, Ortiz gave the Red Sox the lead for good an inning later with a three-run double. Ortiz is batting .385 (35-for-91) over his last 27 games, raising his average from .188 to .321.

Houston starter Tim Redding (4-5) was tagged for six runs - just two earned - and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked three and threw just 50 of 89 pitches for strikes.

Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell , a former Boston farmhand, hit his first homer in 140 at-bats - the longest drought of his career.

"It was cool at the time," Bagwell said. "I'm glad my family got to see it, but that's when we were up 2-0. As I've said, once you get between the lines, it's a game. It's about the Houston Astros getting wins not about me hitting a home run. I would rather have had a win because we needed a win and we didn't get one."

Geoff Blum staked the Astros to a 1-0 lead with his sixth homer, a one-out shot just inside the right field foul pole in the opening inning.

After Bagwell extended the lead to 2-0 with his 12th homer of the season, Boston got even on Nixon's triple over the head of right fielder Richard Hidalgo .

After Houston left a runner at third in the fifth, Boston scored four times in the fifth against Redding.

Jason Varitek opened the inning with a double off the left field wall but Redding got the next two batters. Nomar Garciaparra walked and Manny Ramirez chopped a ball to Bagwell at first base that took an awkward hop and went for an error that loaded the bases.

Ortiz then made it 5-2 with a ball into the left field corner that Lance Berkman misplayed into a three-run double. Kevin Millar capped the four-run outburst with a double into the right-center field gap.

"The ball took a bad hop, a funny hop," Redding said of Ramirez's grounder. "It was a good pitch. Manny hit it off the end of the bat. I could have been out of the inning but I wasn't."

"I'd like to see who could catch that, especially a right-handed first baseman," Bagwell said. "I almost kicked it right to ( Jeff Kent ) and we could have gotten the guy out. I was in front of it and it bounced directly (right). I just put my hand up and it bounced off my hand."

Boston tacked on two runs in the sixth on an RBI triple by Todd Walker and a soft base hit to center by Garciaparra.

An RBI groundout by Kent and and a run-scoring double by Berkman capped the scoring.


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