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Astros Rally Past Tigers

Todd Jones wanted to prove something against his former team. Instead, Detroit's closer ended up with a rare blown save.

Carl Everett hit a two-run double to cap a five-run ninth off Jones that rallied the Houston Astros over the Tigers 9-5 Monday night.

Everett also hit a two-run homer as the Astros won their third straight and remained tied with the Chicago Cubs for first place in the NL Central.

Jones (0-2) was part of an eight-player trade between the Astros and Tigers prior to the 1997 season. He blew a save for the just the third time in his last 35 chances by allowing five runs on five hits and two walks in just two-thirds of an inning.

"I wanted this one going out against a team you really want to prove something to," Jones said. "But even more than that, I wanted to pitch well because Seth (Greisinger) pitched good and was going for his first major league win. When you screw up, it's tough."

Greisinger, making just his second major-league start, gave up eight hits and four runs in 6 2-3 innings.

Doug Henry (4-2) pitched two innings for the win.

Trailing 5-4, the Astros tied it in the ninth on Derek Bell's RBI double after Craig Biggio's one-out single and a walk to Bill Spiers. After an intentional walk to Jeff Bagwell loaded the bases, Moises Alou drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Everett followed with his double. Everett then scored on catcher Paul Bako's throwing error to make it 9-5.

"He hung a curveball," Everett said. "I love being up in that situation because the pressure's all on the pitcher. He made a mistake and I took advantage of it."

Biggio, who was 3-for-5 and scored after each of his three steals, said he didn't think the Astros had any particular advantage against Jones.

"When a guy throws 95 (mph), he throws 95. We know Todd has good stuff," Biggio said. "We just had some things right tonight."

Detroit has lost seven of its last nine games.

"We've been playing better, and that's what's frustrating," Tigers manager Buddy Bell said. "We just can't seem to get on a roll. Stuff happens. We can't always recover, but that's part of being a young team. We're learning to deal with those things."

Former Tiger Sean Bergman allowed four runs on six hits in 4 1-3 innings. He struck out two and walked three.

Bell's sacrifice fly gave the Astros a 1-0 lead in the first after Biggio hit a leadoff single, stole second and moved up on Spier's infield single.

Detroit got that back without a hit in the second when two walks and a wild pitch set up Paul Bako's run-scoring groundout.

Tony Clark hit a one-hop RBI double off the center-field wall to put the Tigers ahead 2-1 in the third.

Houston regained the lead in the fourth hen Everett followed Alou's leadoff single with his fifth homer of the season.

After Brian Hunter hit a leadoff double in the fifth, Joe Randa and Clark had RBI singles to put Detroit up 4-3 and finish Bergman.

Hunter's speed set up the next Detroit run in the sixth after Bako singled and was bunted up by Deivi Cruz. Hunter beat out an infield single and was safe at second on Randa's hit-and-run grounder, which kept the Tigers out of an inning-ending double play as Bako scored.

Hunter, another player in the Detroit-Houston trade, threw out Dave Clark from center as Clark tried to score the tying run from second on Ricky Gutierrez two-out single in the eighth.

Notes: Bergman had more than two walks for the first time since his initial start of the season April 4 against Colorado. ... Detroit right-hander Brian Moehler, scheduled to start the second game of the series Tuesday, is just 5-5 for the season but 5-0 with a 1.87 ERA at home. ... Biggio, who has 291 career steals, moved ahead of Astros coach Jose Cruz Sr. for second place on Houston's all-time list. Cesar Cedeno is first with 487. ... The Astros have outscored their opposition 25-15 in ninth innings.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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