Series: Game 3 of 3

Houston won 2-1

Game 1: Monday, June 10
Chicago 2Final
Houston 4
Game 2: Tuesday, June 11
Chicago 9Final
Houston 5
Game 3: Wednesday, June 12
Chicago 4Final
Houston 5

Cubs 4

(26-38, 16-21 away)

Astros 5

(28-36, 17-14 home)

    4:05 PM ET, June 12, 2002

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    CHC 103000000 4 - -
    HOU 20000030 - 5 - -

    W: R. Oswalt (7-4)

    L: J. Cruz (1-8)

    S: B. Wagner (11)

    Biggio's two-run single keys three-run seventh

    HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Astros got a boost when Mark Prior left the game after the sixth inning.

    Craig Biggio

    Craig Biggio hit a two-run single, and Jeff Bagwell had a go-ahead sacrifice fly in a three-run seventh inning, rallying the Houston Astros to a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.

    "Maybe it was fortunate for us that they took him (Prior) out,'' Astros manager Jimy Williams said. "We had some good at-bats after that. He threw his breaking ball on 3-2 counts. He threw his change-up when he was behind in the count.''

    Prior, making his fifth major league start, pitched six strong innings and left with a 4-2 lead.

    Sammy Sosa hit a three-run homer, his league-leading 24th, off Roy Oswalt in the third inning after Corey Patterson and Bill Mueller singled, giving Chicago a 4-2 lead.

    But in the seventh, the Astros loaded the bases off Juan Cruz (1-8) on singles by Gregg Zaun, Orlando Merced and Jose Vizcaino before Biggio tied the game.

    After Lance Berkman got an infield hit off Jeff Fassero to load the bases again, Bagwell hit a fly to deep left field for a sacrifice fly scoring Vizcaino with the go-ahead run.

    "He (Prior) was dominating at times out there and it was really nice for us to get to their pen,'' Bagwell said. "Biggio had a huge hit off a guy that made a mistake and tied the game for us."

    Prior faired better this time against Houston than his start June 1 against them when he allowed seven runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

    Prior walked Jose Vizcaino to start the game and then allowed Bagwell's 11th homer for a 2-1 Astros lead. Prior finished allowing three hits, two earned runs and 10 strikeouts, giving him three double-digit strikeout games in his brief major league career.

    "It took me two or three innings to find my stuff,'' Prior said. "They have some great hitters over there. Bagwell and Biggio have been around a long time. I felt really comfortable, even after that got that first inning home run.

    "I felt like I could come back and do what it took to win the game.''

    Prior's pitch count finally forced him from the game.

    "He threw a lot of pitches,'' Baylor said. "In the sixth, he had 120 pitches. I wanted to milk seven innings out of him but his pitch count was too high.''

    Patterson doubled off Oswalt to start the game and scored on a single by Fred McGriff.

    Oswalt (7-4) pitched seven innings, allowed eight hits and four earned runs. He struck out seven and didn't walk a batter.

    "Early in the game I was trying to overthrow it a little,'' Oswalt said. "It seems like every game lately, I'm kind of erratic in the first, second and third innings. But then I settled down and I was able to focus on throwing the ball where I wanted to. I felt good in the late innings.

    Billy Wagner loaded the bases in the ninth inning before getting his 11th save in 12 opportunities.

    Game notes

    RHP Shane Reynolds will miss his start Saturday against Texas with weakness in his right leg, believed to be related to the lower back ailment he had two years ago. RHP Tim Redding (3-3) will start for the Astros. Reynolds experienced the weakness on the last road trip. ... Former Astros OF Moises Alou has a seven-game hitting streak (10-for-26, .385) for the Cubs. ... The Astros, who have won the season series against Chicago nine straight seasons, took this series 2-1 and lead the Cubs 5-4 this season with 10 games remaining.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press