Bagwell reaches 2,000 career hits

MONTREAL (AP) -- Jose Macias met Billy Wagner's 98 mph fastball
just right to give the Montreal Expos their latest game-winning
home run.

Macias hit his first homer of the season with one out in the
10th inning as Montreal extended their winning streak to three with
a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday.

The homer was the Expos' fourth to win a game, and third to end
one. Wagner (1-1) was working a rare third inning of relief when
Macias connected.

"I know he throws a pretty good fastball and I was looking for
it the whole time,'' Macias said. "I knew if I got it in a good
spot I could hit it hard. As soon as you hit a 98 mile per hour
fastball, when you hit it in a good spot the ball is jumping.''

Wagner went beyond two innings for the first time since July 14,
1997, when he pitched three innings for the win in a 9-7, 15-inning
victory in Chicago. It was his second blown save in six
opportunities this season.

"I knew that I was going to go back out there,'' Wagner said.
"For whatever reason, I just knew that I had to get through a
third (inning) and if I'd have got through that with a low pitch
count, I'd have probably pitched a fourth.''

Rocky Biddle (2-1) pitched the 10th for the win as the NL
East-leading Expos improved to 15-9, including a 4-1 mark at
Olympic Stadium.

Jeff Bagwell went 2-for-5 to reach 2,000 career hits. Bagwell
hit his ninth homer in the third off rookie Claudio Vargas. He beat
out an infield hit in the 10th to join Craig Biggio as the only
Astros players to reach the milestone.

The crowd of 8,492 -- the largest in four games since 36,879
attended Tuesday's home opener -- gave Bagwell a warm ovation when
the feat was announced to the crowd.

"You're talking about baseball fans, and those are the ones
that were out here today,'' Astros manager Jimy Williams said. "We
don't play that many games here, but certainly to be able to
recognize what the man has done and then show their appreciation
with basically a standing ovation from a lot of people, I have to
tip my cap to these fans here.''

The Astros, who are 3-9 on a 13-game road trip, lost their
fourth straight. Houston has lost 11 of 14 to fall three games
under .500 after getting off to a 7-2 start.

Bagwell was more concerned about the Astros' recent struggles
than savoring his achievement.

"Probably the biggest thing I'll remember about the 2,000th hit
is the fans showing their appreciation, so I thank them for that,''
he said.

Trailing 1-0, Montreal's Endy Chavez hit an RBI double in the
sixth and Vladimir Guerrero drove in the go-ahead run later in the
inning with a sacrifice fly.

Houston tied it in the eighth when Brad Ausmus beat the throw to
first on a potential inning-ending, double-play grounder to score
Lance Berkman.

Bagwell's homer was one of just two hits allowed in six innings
by Vargas, who was recalled from Triple-A Edmonton on Thursday.

Ron Calloway pinch-hit for Vargas with one out in the sixth
after Macias hit a leadoff single and stole second.

Brad Lidge relieved Scott Linebrink -- who allowed two hits
through five in his first career start -- and hit Calloway with his
first pitch to put runners at first and second.

Chavez fell behind 0-2 before hitting an RBI double to tie it at
1. After Jose Vidro was walked intentionally to load the bases,
Calloway scored the go-ahead run on Guerrero's fly.

The Eastern League's pitcher of the week last week with Double-A
Harrisburg, Vargas struck out seven and walked four in his major
league debut.

"I couldn't expect any more from him,'' Expos manager Frank
Robinson said. "He did a tremendous job after he got over the

Linebrink, whose 45 previous career appearances were all in
relief, faced the minimum 15 batters through five despite allowing
Chavez's leadoff single in the fourth and Orlando Cabrera's one-out
hit in the fifth.

Perfect through three, Linebrink allowed a clean single to
Chavez, who was caught stealing as the Astros pitched out on a 1-0
pitch to Vidro.

Linebrink got the next two outs to end the inning, and then got
Fernando Tatis grounded into a double play following Cabrera's
single to end the fifth.

Game notes
Biggio went 0-for-4 with a walk to remain at 2,320 career
hits. ... Ausmus' RBI grounder cost Vargas a shot at becoming the
first Expos pitcher to win his major league debut as a starter
since Dan Smith beat Boston on June 8, 1999.