Last-Place Astros Lose Biggio

The Houston Astros were hit with another big loss on a night when the last-place team actually won.

Star second baseman Craig Biggio will be lost for the season after he tore knee ligaments in a collision with Florida's Preston Wilson on Tuesday night.

"Winning isn't much fun on a night like this," Astros manager Larry Dierker said after a 4-3 victory. "You always like to win, but this really takes away from it."

Houston won its second straight game against the Marlins behind Scott Elarton's strong performance.

Biggio was injured when Wilson slid into second in an attempt to break up a double play in the seventh. Biggio landed hard on his left leg and left under his own power.

However, X-rays revealed he tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee.

Houston general manager Gerry Hunsicker said Biggio will have an MRI on Friday in Houston, but he wasn't sure when surgery would take place.

"It's been that kind of year for us," said Hunsicker, whose club is in last place after winning the division three straight years.

"It seems like there has been one thing after another. It has been a year to forget, and this just adds to it," Hunsicker said.

The Astros won behind another strong game from Elarton (11-4), who won for the seventh time in eight starts.

Elarton worked 8 1-3 innings, allowing six hits and three runs while striking out seven.

"Even though I didn't have my best stuff, I was able to bear down on each hitter and each situation and throw the right pitch," Elarton said. "That's the one thing I've been able to do lately."

Elarton was locked in a pitchers' duel with Chuck S way to first. That loaded the bases and kept the inning alive, and Smith then walked Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman for the first two runs.

Moises Alou then delivered what proved to be the game-winning hit, a single to left that drove home Biggio and Bagwell, putting the Astros ahead 4-0.

Elarton was the more consistent pitcher. He didn't allow a runner to reach second until walking Dave Berg in the seventh, which advanced Lowell to second.

Elarton escaped that inning when Castro flied out to center, but he couldn't quite finih, narrowly missing what would have been his first complete game.

"He was outstanding," Dierker said. "I probably left him out there for an inning longer that I should have, but I was hoping to get him through. His velocity started falling off in the ninth when he was getting tired."

The Astros were more concerned about how to move beyond Biggio's injury.

"We have to get over any feeling of being doomed or feeling sorry for ourselves," Dierker said. "We can't give up on the season. We have to keep going forward."

Notes

  • The Astros will start Brian Powell on Thursday against the Marlins in place of Shane Reynolds, who is recovering from tightness in his lower back. Powell will be called up from Triple-A.
  • The Astros, the NL Central winners last year, didn't win three in a row this year until their 98th game.
  • After their current road trip, the Astros will return home and play 16 of 19 games at Enron Field.
  • The Marlins have had four rain delays this year, plus one rainout. Last year, the team had eight rain delays and two rainouts by Aug. 1.
  • Newly acquired OF Henry Rodriguez is expected to join the Marlins before Wednesday's game.

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