Oswalt blanks Blue Jays on 88 pitches

HOUSTON (AP) -- Roy Oswalt made quick work of the Toronto Blue

Oswalt pitched his first career two-hitter, leading the Houston
Astros over the Blue Jays 3-0 Sunday in the quickest game in Minute
Maid Park history.

Oswalt (7-7) retired 24 of the final 25 batters he faced and
needed only 88 pitches for his sixth straight home win. The game
took just 1 hour, 50 minutes.

"They just kept attacking and I just tried to keep the ball
down and today it worked," Oswalt said. "When you come into the
league and they haven't seen you, you can do things they haven't
seen before. I threw a lot of strikes. It's never easy. The best
thing is it was a short game."

Oswalt pitched his second complete game of the season and
seventh of his career. He struck out three and walked none in the
Astros' season-high fifth straight victory.

Jason Lane homered for the Astros, who completed their third
series sweep of the season and won for the 11th time in 16 games.

"Any time Roy throws like that, it's nice to be out there,"
Lane said. "It's nice to get right back in the dugout. When you
have to stay in the field a long time sometimes you get stale, but
Roy's tempo is just amazing. It was nice to get him one run early
because he was throwing great."

Craig Biggio also enjoyed Oswalt's fast work.

"When you work quick, it keeps guys in the game," Biggio said.
"It's an infielder's dream. When you work as quick as Roy does,
it's a lot of fun to play behind him."

Oswalt had lost five of his previous seven decisions overall,
but improved to 6-1 at home. His only loss at Minute Maid Park this
season was April 5 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

"I've never seen him before except for once in spring
training," Toronto's Eric Hinske said. "He's the nastiest guy
I've seen all year. No offense to the rest of the pitchers in the

Oswalt allowed a leadoff single to Shea Hillenbrand to start the
second inning, but didn't allow another runner until Alex Rios'
double with two outs in the ninth. He got defensive help in the
seventh from shortstop Adam Everett and first baseman Lance

With one out, Vernon Wells hit a grounder toward Everett, who
ran to his left, and threw leaping off his feet to first base,
where Berkman made a long stretch and stab to nip Wells.
Hillenbrand then hit a grounder to third baseman Morgan Ensberg,
whose high throw forced Berkman to leap off the bag and tag the

"That's as good of a game as you can pitch," Toronto manager
John Gibbons said. "He hit every corner, was throwing everything
for strikes. He had overpowering stuff. That's as good of a game as
we've had thrown against us. He hit every spot he wanted."

Josh Towers (5-5) allowed leadoff singles by Willy Taveras in
the first and Berkman in the second, but held the Astros scoreless
until the fifth, when Lane hit a full-count pitch for a homer and a
1-0 lead.

Houston added two more runs in the seventh on a two-run single
by Taveras, his third hit. Taveras also had three hits in
Saturday's 4-2 victory.

Towers allowed nine hits in seven innings. He struck out three
and walked two.

Lane also had three hits.

"This was one of his best games," Astros manager Phil Garner
said of Oswalt. "This is the kind of game Roy can pitch when he's
got his good stuff. When he can locate his pitches, he'll get a lot
of outs."

Game notes
Craig Biggio needs two hits to reach 2,700 for his career.
... Ten of Russ Adams' last 16 hits have been for extra bases. ...
Orlando Hudson is hitless in 16 at-bats. ... Taveras extended his
hitting streak to nine games with a first-inning single. ... The
Blue Jays finished their road trip 4-9.