Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 4/9)

Game 1: Tuesday, April 8
Cincinnati2Final
in 10
Houston1
Game 2: Wednesday, April 9
Cincinnati3Final
Houston4
Game 3: Thursday, April 10
Cincinnati2Final
Houston4

Reds 3

(3-5, 1-1 away)

Astros 4

(5-2, 3-2 home)

    8:05 PM ET, April 9, 2003

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    CIN 000030000 3 - -
    HOU 00030010 - 4 - -

    W: B. Lidge (1-0)

    L: J. Manzanillo (0-2)

    S: B. Wagner (2)

    Astros win despite Miller's throw to nobody

    HOUSTON (AP) -- After an embarrassing error, Wade Miller just wanted to disappear.

    Miller
    Miller

    Jeff Kent and the rest of his Houston teammates bailed him out.

    Miller's throwing error to an uncovered third base allowed three runs to score, but Kent's tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the seventh inning sent the Astros to a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.

    "I wanted to dig a hole behind the mound and crawl in and hope no one would see me,'' Miller said. "I thought my best option was to throw to third base, but I had other options. I chose the wrong one.''

    The Astros pulled it out anyway by loading the bases in the seventh against Josias Manzanillo (0-2) on singles by Craig Biggio, Jose Vizcaino and Jeff Bagwell. Gabe White struck out Lance Berkman before John Riedling came on to pitch to Kent.

    The 2000 NL MVP hit a deep fly to center field, scoring Biggio easily with the go-ahead run.

    "I was trying to simplify the game a little bit,'' Kent said. "You just try to put one out there. That's all it was.''

    Billy Wagner worked the ninth for his second save. He walked the first two batters before retiring Jason LaRue, Felipe Lopez and Barry Larkin to end it.

    Brad Lidge (1-0), who replaced Miller in the seventh, went two scoreless innings for his second major league victory.

    "Wade pitched a good game and gave us a chance to win,'' Astros manager Jimy Williams said. "You are always trying to do the right thing and sometimes it doesn't work out. It wasn't from a lack of effort.''

    The Reds were trailing 3-0 in the fifth inning when Miller's mistake allowed them to tie it.

    After striking out the first two batters, Miller hit LaRue with a pitch, walked pitcher Jimmy Anderson and hit Larkin with a pitch to load the bases.

    Aaron Boone then hit a slow roller toward third and Miller threw without noticing that third baseman Morgan Ensberg also was trying to field the ball instead of covering the bag.

    Miller struck out Adam Dunn for the third time to end the inning.

    Reds manager Bob Boone agonized over bobbled balls by his own defense.

    "When you are playing against Miller, you have to make those plays, you can't be giving them extra outs and extra bases,'' he said. "When you don't hit, it means you've got to do some work or you've got to change some players.

    "I'm not ready to do that yet.''

    Miller, 4-0 lifetime against the Reds, pitched six innings. He allowed five hits, three runs -- none earned -- and one walk, striking out six.

    Richard Hidalgo hit safely in his seventh straight game to start Houston's three-run fourth inning off Anderson.

    "I got behind on a couple of hitters and I got the ball up some,'' Anderson said. "But that's a tough lineup. Anytime you walk the leadoff guy, you've got problems. I couldn't get the groundball to get me out of the inning.''

    Hidalgo singled to left field and Berkman scored from second when left fielder Dunn bobbled the ball for an error.

    Hidalgo went to second on the throw and scored on Brad Ausmus' triple. Ausmus scored on a sacrifice fly by Ensberg for a 3-0 lead.

    "We're not swinging the bats as well as we can,'' Larkin said. "But the pitching we're facing has a lot to do with it. Sometimes you run into a buzzsaw and you just have to deal with it.''

    Game notes


    All three of Cincinnati's victories have come in its last at-bat. ... The Reds ended a six-game homer streak in which they hit 12 home runs. ... Biggio needs eight at-bats to reach 8,000 for his career. ... Hidalgo is the only player to hit safely in Houston's first seven games. ... Lidge has thrown six scoreless innings this season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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