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Astros take 3-2 lead in Lone Star Series

HOUSTON (AP) -- Jeff Bagwell might still be able to shock a
sellout crowd, but not Houston Astros manager Larry Dierker.

Richard Hidalgo's sacrifice fly and a nimble slide by Bagwell in
the eighth inning gave the Houston Astros a 2-1 victory Saturday
over the Texas Rangers.

"Nothing Baggy does any more surprises me," Dierker said.
"He's a one in a million player who seems to always do the right
thing. When it seems impossible, he gets it done."

The second record crowd in as many days saw the Astros take a
3-2 lead in the Lone Star Series, with the Silver Boot Trophy going
to the winner. The series finale is Sunday.

With the score tied 1-1, Bagwell started the eighth with a
double off Tim Crabtree to right-center field. He went to third on
Lance Berkman's long fly out to right.

After Crabtree (0-5) intentionally walked Moises Alou, Hidalgo
hit a fly to Ruben Sierra in right field. Bagwell tagged and raced
home, sidestepping catcher Marcus Jensen before coming back to
touch home plate.

"I knew it was going to be a close play," Bagwell said.
"There was a little bit of daylight on the right side and I had to
make a decision. A lot of times, if you hit the catcher, if he
holds on, you'll be out.

"So I took a chance at going around him and it worked out. It
was a matter of I had a side to go to and I tried it."

Rangers manager Jerry Narron applauded Bagwell's effort.

"Bagwell did a good job of baserunning," Narron said. "I
thought Jensen was on the line. I think what happened, when he caught
the ball, he lost sight of where Bagwell was.

"He could have gone straight to the plate and tagged him out if
he'd seen him. The throw was good enough."

Nelson Cruz (1-1) pitched the eighth inning for the victory, and
Mike Jackson worked the ninth for his fourth save in seven tries.

A crowd of 43,245 saw the game, breaking the Enron Field record
of 43,205 for Friday night's game. The series in Arlington drew
138,659, a record for a three-game series there.

The game was costly for the Rangers as catcher Ivan Rodriguez
and third baseman Ken Caminiti had to leave the game in the seventh
inning with leg injuries.

Caminiti pulled his left hamstring at second base, while
unsuccessfully trying to extend a single. Rodriguez fell to the
turf, following a grounder by Craig Biggio, and was helped from the
field as a precaution with tightness in his left hamstring.

Tony McKnight made his 2001 debut and his seventh major league
start for the Astros. He went six innings, allowed four hits, one
earned run and struck out three. McKnight left with the score tied
at 1-1.

"I was still nervous but I had the experience from last year,"
said McKnight, 4-1 with the Astros last season. "I know I can do
it this year because I did it last year."

Joe Slusarski came on and didn't allow a run in the seventh
after yielding singles to Caminiti and Michael Young to start the
inning.

Caminiti was thrown out trying to reach second, on the play in
which he was injured, before pinch-hitter Scott Sheldon struck out
and Frank Catalanotto flew out.

Biggio extended his hitting streak to 16 games, tying a
career-high, with an infield single in the third. Julio Lugo
followed with a single, and Jeff Bagwell's single to center gave
the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Catalanotto's two-out double in the fifth made it 1-1.

Game notes
Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, who played for both teams, threw
out the first pitch. ... Rafael Palmeiro's homer Friday night gave
him homers in 36 major league parks, tying him with Devon White for
fourth on the major league list. ... The Rangers are 2-32 when
trailing after six innings. ... With six grand slams this season,
the Astros have tied a franchise record set in 1989. ... Saturday's
game was the first without a home run at Enron Field since Sept. 4,
2000 against Florida.