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Wagner Returns In Astros' 11-2 Win


Randy has arrived and Billy is back.

Billy Wagner pitched for the first time since being hit in the head by a line drive and Shane Reynolds got his 14th victory Sunday as the Houston Astros completed a three-game sweep with an 11-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

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  • "I never got this much press when I was just saving games," said Wagner. "I know this is all based on my getting hit in the head but all I wanted to do was get back out there."

    Wagner's appearance in the ninth was his first since suffering a concussion when he was nailed by a vicious liner on July 15 at Arizona.

    Newly acquired Randy Johnson made his first home appearance against the Phillies on Friday and Wagner capped the Astros' first three-game sweep this season with his return.

    "So much was made of this, I wanted to prove to the team that I could go back out there," Wagner said. "I know the front office was a little scared. I just wish it could have been a closer situation, but I was glad to get back."

    Wagner received a standing ovation when he came to the mound for the ninth inning. He struck out Bobby Estalella for the first out, gave up a double to Jon Zuber and hit 100 mph on the radar gun with a pitch to Doug Glanville.

    "They kept telling me in the bullpen `you're not pitching today, Shane's going for a complete game,' but I kept saying had to pitch to get it over with," Wagner said.

    The Astros rushed to congratulate Wagner on the mound after he got the final out.

    "Shane could have gone out there for the ninth because he was throwing harder in the eighth than earlier," Astros manager Larry Dierker said. "But we all knew that we had to get Billy back out there. He had a nice inning and he'll be available tomorrow."

    Estalla said Wagner threw as hard as ever.

    "I faced him once in spring training so I knew him a little," he said. "He was not holding it back at all. He was really letting it go."

    Moises Alou drove in four runs for the Astros with a two-run homer and a two-run double, giving him 30 homers and 101 RBI this season.

    "When you have guys get on base as much as this team, you can put up numbers like that," Alou said. "It becomes more of a team accomplishment. I'm having a good year but it's a lot because of this team. I'm not doing anything different."

    Derek Bell had a two-run triple in a five-run fourth off Matt Beech (3-9). Beech, who has lost six straight decisions, allowed eight runs -- five earned -- in 3 1-3 innings.

    Reynolds (14-7) improved to 5-1 lifetime against the Phillies and won for the seventh time in his last nine decisions. He allowed seven hits in eight innings, and doubled and scored on Craig Biggio's double in the fifth.

    Zuber homered in the seventh for the Phillies.

    Leading 3-0, the Astros got five runs in the fourth, highlighted by Bell's triple to the gap in right-center. The other runs scored on a single by Richard Hidalgo, a sacrifice fly by Tony Eusebio and Beech's wild pitch.

    Bell walked to start the third and scored on Alou's 30th homer to make it 3-0.

    Notes

  • Wagner pitched twice in the minor leagues before being recalled.
  • Phillies reliever Jerry Spradlin got an assist the hard way to end the sixth inning. A hard liner bounced off Spradlin's ankle to third baseman Scott Rolen , who completed the double play.

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