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Updated: Saturday, June 21, 2003 12:48 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
Houston Astros
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
12 16 1
Texas Rangers
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
3 9 0
W Miller (5-7)
L Thomson (4-9)
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HOUSTON 12, TEXAS 3
 

ARLINGTON, Texas (Ticker) -- The Houston Astros had little trouble scoring without Jeff Kent .

Jose Vizcaino hit a two-run triple in place of the injured Kent and Craig Biggio matched a season high with four hits as the Astros rolled to a 12-3 interleague victory over the Texas Rangers .

Houston has played its last two games without Kent, who is being held out of the lineup due to a sore left wrist. He is batting .313 with 11 homers and a team-leading 50 RBI this season, but Vizcaino filled the void Friday at second base.

"Every time I get a chance to help the team win, I'm going to go out there and do my best," Vizcaino said. "I'm not going to do the same job he is doing. I'm not going to hit the ball out. I just have to prepare myself mentally and go out there and try to do my job."

Vizcaino gave the Astros the lead for good at 3-2 on his triple with two outs in the fifth and scored on a wild pitch by Rangers starter John Thomson .

"His hit was big at the time with us being down 2-1," Houston coach Jimy Williams said. "Jose's been good in that situation for us."

Lance Berkman scored on a wild pitch by Thomson (4-9) in the sixth and Houston pulled away in the ninth, when they had seven runs and eight hits.

Biggio, who had his second four-hit game of the season, had an RBI single and Jeff Bagwell , Morgan Ensberg and Orlando Merced each had two-run hits in the inning.

"It was a close game up until the eighth," Biggio said. "It was a team contribution. The difference tonight was big hits when we needed them and a lot of key two-out hits."

Wade Miller (5-7) gave up just two runs and six hits in six innings as the Astros won for just the second time in eight games.

"He pitched a strong game for us throughout," Williams said. "He came through with big pitches when he needed to. A lot of guys contributed tonight. Miller was the key, he set the tone."

Texas has lost 20 of its last 24 games, including five in a row, and is just 2-15 in June.

"It's a tough stretch right now," Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez said. "When your back's against the wall, you can either bow your head or pick your head up and come out fighting."

"Our efforts have been good," Texas manager Buck Showalter said. "It's frustrating for all of us. We just can't get all phases of the game clicking."

Miller allowed an RBI double to Rodriguez with one out in the first inning but escaped further damage. Houston forged a 1-1 tie on Adam Everett 's third homer of the season in the third.

Texas took a 2-1 lead on rookie Mark Teixeira 's single in the fourth inning, but Thomson could not hold the lead.

Brad Ausmus singled with one out in the fifth and Biggio singled two batters later. Vizcaino lined a 3-1 pitch down the right-field line for his first triple since August 20.

Texas pulled within 5-3 in the eighth inning on Rodriguez's 18th homer of the season. But the Rangers had little chance to rally in their last at-bat after a disastrous top of the ninth.

Texas reliever Aaron Fultz started the ninth and Orlando Merced started the inning with an infield single. Ausmus had a base hit with one out and Everett reached on an infield single to load the bases.

Biggio drove in a run with a single and, after Vizcaino flied out, Bagwell's base hit plated Ausmus and Everett for an 8-3 cushion.

Berkman walked to load the bases before Fultz was replaced by Victor Santos , who surrendered a two-run single Ensberg. Merced followed with a double, scoring Berkman and Ensberg for a 12-3 advantage.

All four runs allowed by Santos were credited to Fultz, who was charged with six runs and six hits while recording just two batters.


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