Wednesday, June 12, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 146



Astros are still not looking celestial

Astros Report
Aditya Godse

The road had already been cruel to the Astros on their nine-game trip, but Sunday's game had more than its share of painful twists to finish it off.
The Athletics served up a three-game sweep against the Astros.

The Astros lost the first two games of the series because they couldn't hit. 

They scored four runs, left 16 runners on base and went one-for-15 with men in scoring position. 

They scored some runs Sunday, but not enough to win, and were defeated in the final game 7-6.

At 26-35, the Astros are a season-low nine games under .500 and remain nine games behind Cincinnati in the National League Central. The
Astros, however, have also lost their last four games.

Since clawing their way back to .500 at 21-21 on May 18, the Astros have lost 14 of 19 and have seen everything go wrong.

Only Astro slugger Richard Hidalgo hasn't fallen off the deep end, with two or more hits in five games of the nine-game road trip. 

"I just feel comfortable and I'm just seeing the ball well," said Hidalgo. "Every time I go up there I go with confidence."

Despite Houston's overall batting troubles; Lance Berkman has hit safely in his past seven games. 

Once the other Astros start hitting in front of him, he should continue to be a fantasy machine.

The last time an inter-league team swept a series against the Astros was August 31, 1997 when the White Sox took three games in Chicago, Ill.

Oakland did not make an error for the seventh straight game, which is the longest such streak since they went 11 games without committing an
error in August of 1999.

The Astros returned home Monday to the newly re-christened Minute Maid Park to begin a six-game home stand.

This year's Lone Star Series against the Texas Rangers will begin Friday.

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