Astros win 6-3 to avoid sweep by Reds

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 25, 2003

HOUSTON -- Houston manager Jim Williams and the rest of the Astros couldn't stop talking about Richard Hidalgo.

''He's doing it for us on both sides. I don't know of any other guy in our league playing that well,'' Williams said after Hidalgo homered, tripled and hit a go-ahead single in the Astros' 6-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

Hidalgo also drove in three runs and picked up his 20th assist, most among major league outfielders, to help the Astros remain tied with St. Louis for the NL Central lead.

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''It's been a long time since I've seen a guy play outfield like him,'' Williams said. ''He drove in three runs and really had a big day. That throw was big. They only had one out and Freel (Ryan) can run. The thing about Richard is his quickness and his arm strength and his accuracy.''

Hidalgo's teammates are equally impressed.

''If Richard doesn't get the Gold Glove this year, something is wrong with the system,'' Craig Biggio said. ''He's had an unbelievable year defensively. The minute it gets in his glove you are out and he's having a monster year offensively.''

Jeriome Robertson (12-6) stayed unbeaten against Cincinnati and tied the club record for victories by a rookie set by Jim Deshaies in 1986, but only wanted to talk about Hidalgo.

''The guy is awesome. He's been doing it all year,'' Robertson said. ''Why they keep running on him, I don't know, but he keeps throwing them out, so I say keep running.''

Robertson has won all four of his starts against the Reds this season, and had a 2.42 ERA in those games.

Robertson went seven innings and allowed two runs on four hits and five walks. He struck out five.

''We are playing like we should be playing now,'' Robertson said. ''We got the hits, we were aggressive on the base paths and we played good defense. It's like we wanted to go out and win today.''

Billy Wagner pitched a scoreless ninth for his 36th save.

Reliever Brian Reith (1-3) took the loss, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk while getting only two outs.

''I made a couple of bad pitches,'' Reith said. ''I'm not feeling real confident out there.''

John Bale went 4 2-3 innings and allowed two runs and six hits in his fourth start for the Reds.

Sean Casey hit his 12th homer in the Reds' second and Hidalgo connected in the bottom half.

Biggio's RBI double put the Astros ahead 2-1 in the third, but the Reds tied it in the fourth on Ruben Mateo's double and Jason LaRue's single.

Hidalgo had an RBI single in the sixth and Jason Lane hit his first homer, a two-run shot, later in the inning.

D'Angelo Jimenez led off the Reds' eighth with a home run off Octavio Dotel.

Hidalgo's RBI triple in the bottom half made it 6-3.

Notes: Jeff Bagwell got the 2,100th hit of his career in his 7,000th career at-bat in the eighth inning. … Houston pinch-hitters have gone 0-for-11 since Tuesday. … Casey's homer snapped his string of 84 at-bats without a home run.