Reds continue to plummet

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 14, 2002

HOUSTON -- Pete Munro finally got his second major league win, and he had to work a lot longer for this one.

Craig Biggio hit a go-ahead RBI double in the seventh inning, and Munro pitched the Houston Astros past the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 Saturday for their fifth straight victory.

Munro's only other win came in a one-inning relief stint for Toronto against Boston on May 16, 2000.

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''Sure I remember that,'' Munro said. ''I can't forget it. I came in and got us out of a bases-loaded situation and got the victory. It's been a long time since then, and hopefully I'm here to stay this time.''

Munro spent time with four minor league teams in the Toronto and Texas organizations the last two seasons before being released and signing a minor league contract with Houston last November. He was 7-0 with a 2.13 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A New Orleans this year before being called up June 27.

''Of course, I was discouraged a few times,'' Munro said. ''But I pitched pretty well in New Orleans and I thought I'd get another chance. I guess it was my time.''

Munro (1-0) gave up just an unearned run and six hits in seven innings. Pedro Borbon pitched a hitless eighth, and Octavio Dotel struck out two in a perfect ninth for his third save.

''To me, Munro set the tone for the whole game,'' Astros manager Jimy Williams said.

Munro's only trouble came in the second inning, when the Reds loaded the bases and scored one run with the help of his error. Munro fielded a bunt and bobbled it, allowing all runners to advance safely.

''I got rattled a little in that inning,'' Munro said. ''Fortunately, I was able to settle down.''

Lance Berkman got his major league-leading 82nd RBI for the Astros, who have won eight of their last nine and 11 of 13.

The loss was Cincinnati's fourth in a row and seventh in nine games.

''He pitched us tough,'' Aaron Boone said of Munro. ''It was frustrating for us early on because we had chances to take control of the game. But he made his pitches. He mixed it up and moved the ball in and out. It was tough to recognize his slider. I had trouble picking up the spin on the ball. He beat us. That's all you can say.''

Brad Ausmus led off the seventh with a double against Scott Sullivan (5-3) and moved to third on a single by Julio Lugo. Biggio then lined a double down the left-field line to score Ausmus.

Lugo was thrown out at the plate on a relay throw from shortstop Boone, a controversial call by plate umpire Brian O'Nora. Replays showed Lugo was safe, with his hand getting under the tag.

Cincinnati starter Jimmy Haynes pitched six innings, giving up one run and six hits.

The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the second on Todd Walker's RBI groundout.

Houston tied it in the fifth when Lugo singled, advanced to second on a single by Biggio and scored on Berkman's single.

Corky Miller, the Cincinnati catcher, turned an unusual double play in the eighth with pinch-runner Brian Hunter on third and Richard Hidalgo on first.

Geoff Blum hit a groundball to second baseman Walker, who threw home to Miller. Miller ran Hunter back to third, tagging him out three feet from the bag, as Hidalgo was approaching third. Miller then tagged out Hidalgo for a double play.

''I'm not sure what happened there,'' Williams said with a chuckle. ''But I think we're going to have to practice that a little.''

Reds manager Bob Boone was just as surprised.

''I've never seen it before,'' he said. ''I certainly never did it. That was a special play. Too bad it didn't play a role in the outcome of the game.''


Biggio started for the first time in three games, after suffering from migraine headaches. … Cincinnati is the only team in the major leagues with a winning record on the road (24-21) and a losing record at home (22-23). … Aaron Boone has hit four of the Reds' last eight home runs. The Associated Press