Yankees Come Back To Take Series From Houston

The Yankees came from behind twice in Thursday's game, finally getting to Houston's bullpen and putting up a 6-5 victory. Alfonso Soriano hit a bases-loaded single off of Octavio Dotel to plate Hideki Matsui for the go-ahead run. Matsui had a pair of hits on his 29th birthday, helping the Yankees take the series from Houston.

The Astros got to David Wells early. Craig Biggio doubled to open the game, followed by Morgan Ensberg's walk. The walk was the first one allowed by Wells in three starts. After Jeff Bagwell popped out and Biggio and Ensberg pulled off a double steal, Jeff Kent hit a single to right to put Houston up 1-0.

Richard Hidalgo then lifted a shallow fly ball to centerfield. Matsui came in to catch it, but thinking that it was too short for Ensberg to tag up on, tossed it in to Derek Jeter. Ensberg did tag up, and scored to give Houston a two-run lead.

The Yankees went back to basics in the bottom of the first. After being no-hit last night by Houston's pitching staff, the Bombers knew they'd have to play small ball and they did just that. Alfonso Soriano led off with a walk, and then went to second on Jeter's bunt single. Jason Giambi grounded sharply to shortstop, forcing Jeter at second and moving Soriano to third. Todd Zeile then hit a sacrifice fly to complete the manufactured run.

The Yankees took the lead in the fourth inning. Matsui hit an RBI single to right to tie the game, and then came around to score on Juan Rivera's sacrifice fly.

But Houston continued the back and forth, scoring three more runs off of Wells in the sixth inning to retake the lead. The inning was highlighted by Adam Everett's ground rule double to left that scored two runs.

Down by two, the Yankees had to face the same bullpen that completely shut them down on Wednesday night. Kirk Saarloos – who pitched 1 1/3 innings in the previous game's no-hitter – came in and immediately served up an RBI single to Juan Rivera.

Brad Lidge – the winning pitcher of the no-hitter – started off the seventh inning, and gave up three hits, including Raul Mondesi's game-tying RBI single. Finally, Octavio Dotel loaded the bases before allowing Soriano's RBI single to put the Yankees ahead for good.

Antonio Osuna (2-2) relieved Wells in the seventh and pitched two scoreless innings to pick up the win. Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth to grab his seventh save, and second in as many days.

Dotel (5-2) took the loss. He allowed an unearned run on two hits and a walk while striking out two batters.

The Yankees next play host to the St. Louis Cardinals in a hotly anticipated three-game series. Not only will Roger Clemens (6-4, 3.81) make his fourth attempt at 300 victories on Friday, but the game will also feature the Yankee Stadium return of two of the most popular former Yankees of the last decade, Joe Girardi and Tino Martinez. Jason Simontacchi (4-3, 6.56) will start the first game for the Cardinals, which will be played at 7:05 pm.

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