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NL: Willis, Lowell keep Astros in check

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Published May 13, 2004

HOUSTON - Dontrelle Willis pitched a six-hitter and Mike Lowell homered twice to lead the Marlins past the Astros 5-2 Wednesday night.

Coming off his first loss of the season against Los Angeles last week, Willis (4-1) bounced back with a strong performance facing the NL's top-hitting team.

Willis' herky-jerky delivery baffled the Astros, not surprising considering it was the first time Houston had faced the left-hander. The 2003 NL Rookie of the Year walked two and struck out one in his third complete game.

"When you're trying to pick up his release, you just can't get caught up in the motion," said Houston's Craig Biggio, who finished 0-for-4.

Wade Miller took the loss, leaving in the sixth because of tightness in his neck. He was listed as day to day. He missed eight starts in 2002 with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Lowell's second towering shot to leftfield in the sixth was the go-ahead run, and Jeff Conine followed with a run-scoring single to give the Marlins a 3-1 lead as the World Series champions ended a four-game road losing streak.

Trailing by two runs, the Astros loaded the bases with one out in the sixth. Willis retired Lance Berkman on a run-scoring grounder and then scooped up Morgan Ensberg's comebacker for the third out.

Lowell also hit a homer in the first. Adam Everett homered in the bottom half to tie it.

CARDINALS 5, BRAVES 2: Matt Morris pitched eight solid innings to help host St. Louis win its third straight.

So Taguchi and Jim Edmonds homered, and Edgar Renteria had two hits and two RBIs for the Cardinals.

Morris kept the Braves offbalance with offspeed pitches, allowing two runs on six hits. He beat the Braves for the first time in eight career starts after entering 0-5 with a 3.44 ERA against them.

Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his sixth save in seven chances.

BREWERS 4, EXPOS 3: Lyle Overbay extended his hitting streak to a season-high 13 games with a two-run double that helped host Milwaukee to a come-from-behind win over the Expos.

Overbay's big hit came during a four-run sixth inning that erased a 3-0 deficit. A night earlier, Milwaukee came back from five runs down in the ninth and won 8-5 in 14 innings.

Zach Day, whose three-hitter at Miller Park on May3 last year was his only major-league shutout, was cruising until the sixth.

Staked to a 3-0 lead thanks to his own solo homer, Day gave up just two hits through the first five innings and retired 11 straight batters until Craig Counsell's second double of the night with one out in the sixth. Keith Ginter followed with a bloop single, and Geoff Jenkins' single made it 3-1.

METS 1, DIAMONDBACKS 0: Kazuo Matsui's home run to start the game gave Tom Glavine and visiting New York the win over Randy Johnson.

Glavine and Johnson each allowed three hits in a duel between two of the game's best lefties.

Glavine, who has not thrown a complete game in two years, struck out three and walked two, one intentionally, in 72/3 innings. He left with a runner on first and two outs in the eighth. Braden Looper pitched 11/3 innings for his fifth save in six chances, finishing the three-hitter.

PADRES 2, REDS 1: Brian Giles hit a two-run homer in the first inning and host San Diego made the most of its six hits in beating Cory Lidle and Cincinnati. Lidle pitched efficiently after he got out of the first, but by then he was down 2-0 after allowing Mark Loretta's one-out double followed on the next pitch by Giles' homer to right-center.

GIANTS 4, PHILLIES 3: Jason Schmidt homered and allowed six hits over eight innings to lead host San Francisco. Pedro Feliz homered twice and Jeffrey Hammonds also connected for the Giants, who stopped Philadelphia's season-high, four-game winning streak. Barry Bonds failed to reach base for the first time in 31 games this season, going 0-for-4 with two flyouts and two groundouts.

DODGERS 4, CUBS 0: Wilson Alvarez held visiting Chicago scoreless into the eighth, Alex Cora hit a two-run homer and Los Angeles won its sixth in a row. Alvarez gave up five hits in 72/3 innings with his second impressive outing in a row since rejoining the starting rotation. He struck out eight and walked one.

PIRATES-ROCKIES POSTPONED: The game in Denver was postponed because of rain and snow. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader today.

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