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Friday, June 25, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Major League Baseball
NL notebook: Astros' Clemens becomes first 10-game winner


Roger Clemens earned his 320th career victory.
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Roger Clemens got back on track, Carlos Beltran is on the way and Brad Lidge looked good as a closer.

The Houston Astros sure had a big night.

Clemens became the first 10-game winner in the major leagues in the Astros' 3-2 victory last night over Pittsburgh.

During the game, Houston acquired Beltran from Kansas City as part of a three-team trade that also sent closer Octavio Dotel from the Astros to Oakland. Lidge saved last night's victory.

Clemens (10-2) earned his 320th win, four behind Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton for 12th place on the career list. He also had four strikeouts, giving him 4,200 for his career, second only to Ryan's 5,714.

"Those first nine wins weren't as easy as they looked to some people," Clemens said. "Tonight wasn't easy, either. It's a long road and sometimes you just try to stay the course."

Clemens bounced back nicely from a two-game skid during which he allowed 10 runs and 19 hits in losses to the Chicago Cubs and Anaheim.

He struggled early, loading the bases in the second inning. But opposing pitcher Sean Burnett struck out swinging, and the Rocket was never in trouble again.

Clemens' final strikeout of the night — a 95 mph fastball that had Bay swinging wildly — brought the crowd of 39,851 to its feet.

Atlanta : Chipper Jones' two RBI against Florida gave him 965 for his career and moved him into fourth place on the Braves' all-time list behind Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews and Dale Murphy.
 
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Chicago : RHP Matt Clement is 0-2 in his last three starts despite a 1.80 ERA during that span. His last victory was June 8.

Cincinnati : 1B Sean Casey, hitting .361, got his 100th hit of the season but left in the seventh inning against the Mets with a stiff left hamstring.

Colorado : The last-place Rockies have won three straight series for the first time since May 7-16, 2002.

Florida : LHP Dontrelle Willis is 11-10 with a 4.30 ERA since going to last year's All-Star Game. He started his career 9-1 with a 2.08 ERA.

Houston : LHP Andy Pettitte (strained forearm) is expected to come off the disabled list Tuesday to start against the Chicago Cubs.

Los Angeles : 3B Adrian Beltre's string of consecutive hits ended at six with a sixth-inning groundout against San Francisco, but he stayed hot with three more hits.

Montreal : LHP Scott Downs was recalled from AAA Edmonton, where he was 8-3 with a 2.89 ERA, including a seven-inning no-hitter. Downs will start tomorrow in Toronto.

New York : 2B Jose Reyes hit his first home run of the season, his third hit in 20 at-bats since coming off the DL.

Philadelphia : OF Ricky Ledee was placed on the 15-day DL after having hemorrhoid surgery.

Pittsburgh : The Pirates' loss in Houston left them 7-31 all-time at Minute Maid Park.

St. Louis : SS Edgar Renteria, a 1-for-24 career hitter against Cubs RHP Matt Clement, got a day off. San Francisco : RHP Brett Tomko returned from the DL to pitch six innings of three-hit ball for his first victory since April 28.

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