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Pirates Drop Astros From 1st


The Houston Astros threw a game away, as well as their stay in first place.

Houston committed two errors in the 13th inning, allowing Brian Giles to score the winning run as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Astros 6-5 Friday night.

The Astros' fourth straight loss dropped Houston three percentage points behind Cincinnati in the NL Central.

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  • "We made errors that cost us runs and cost us the game, period," manager Larry Dierker said.

    "This is a very difficult time for us. We need to step up and play better and we need to do it soon. This is no fun to watch or play. Everybody is hustling, it's just a rough time."

    Giles led off the 13th with a walk off Trever Miller (1-2). After Brian Williams relieved, third baseman Bill Spiers mishandled a grounder by Kevin Young, putting runners on first and second.

    "The breaks just aren't going our way," said Spiers, who committed two errors on the day. "There are certain times of the year that are like this. You don't want to dwell on it because if you do you get in a slump," Spiers said.

    John Wehner then bunted toward third and Spiers' throw bounced off the glove of second baseman Craig Biggio. Giles scored the go-ahead run and the error was charged to Biggio. It was the fourth error of the game and seventh in the last three games for Houston.

    "This is probably the first time that I remember this team having critical breakdowns like this," Pittsburh manager Gene Lamont said.

    "With Bagwell and Biggio making mistakes that's unusual. This is usually a team that makes you make mistakes. They usually play a clean game with no physical or mental errors, but tonight they made them and we capitalized."

    Joe Oliver followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 6-4.

    "They have a good offense," Giles said. "But this team is in first place because of pitching and defense. It's unusual to see their defense not make the big plays."

    Carl Everett hit two homers for the Astros, a three-run shot in the sixth inning and a solo homer in the 13th. Everett has a career-high 16 homers.

    "It wasn't enough to win. We needed two or three runs. It was basically a voided home run," Everett said.

    Brad Clontz (1-3) pitched a scoreless 12th for the victory. Mike Williams pitched the 13th for his 18th save. He allowed Everett's homer and walked two before getting Randy Knorr to ground out to end the game.

    Houston starter Mike Hampton was seeking to become the first 17 game winner in the major leagues this season. He went allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings.

    Hampton left trailing 4-3, but the Astros tied the game on an RBI infield single by Craig Biggio in the seventh inning.

    Pittsburgh starter Francisco Cordova was looking for his fifth victory in his last six decisions. He allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings.

    Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead in the first when Giles hit his 25th home run of the season. It is the first home run this season by a left-handed hitter against Hampton.

    Young hit his 17th home run of the season to lead off the Pirates' fourth, making it the first time since July 21, 1998 that Hampton has given up more than one homer in a game. Hampton had given up only seven home runs this season entering the game.

    The Pirates increased their lead to 3-0 in the sixth on an RBI double by Wehner.

    Notes

  • Everett has three multihomer games this season and eight for his career.
  • Pittsburgh activated Keith Osik from the 15-day DL and optioned Chris Tremie to Triple-A Nashville.
  • The Astros plced OF Richard Hidalgo on the 15-day DL inflammation of the patella area in his left knee and recalled Lance Berkman from Triple-A New Orleans.
  • Pittsburgh ended a seven game losing streak in Houston and is 3-11 in its last 14 games in the Astrodome.
  • Derek Bell's second-inning single snapped an 0-for-18 streak against Francisco Cordova.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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