Clemens hopes for more help as the Astros shoot for their fourth straight win in the middle game of an interleague series with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Clemens leads the National League with a 1.67 ERA, but struggled to get it together in his last outing against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner gave up four runs and nine hits in five innings, but the Houston hitters pulled him through with a 6-4 win.
The veteran right-hander, who’s been pitching through a minor groin strain, had not allowed more than two earned runs in his previous six outings.
“Rocket wasn’t what he has been. He struggled a little,” Houston manager Phil Garner said. “But you’re going to have games like that. We put some runs on the board for him and that’s good.”
“They’ve been getting beat up all over town,” Clemens said of the Astros’ offense. “They really picked me up.”
Clemens won two of his Cy Youngs while pitching for Toronto from 1997-98, going 41-13 with a 2.33 ERA. He is 20-11 with a 3.55 ERA in 39 career starts against the Blue Jays.
While the Astros entered the weekend series with major league-lows in batting average (.243) and runs scored (212), they have won nine of their last 14 games since a seven-game skid.
Ensberg and Lane homered again to help the Astros to their third straight win in a 4-2 victory Friday. Willy Taveras, who missed the last three games with a strained left hamstring, also homered for Houston, which won a season-high four straight from April 6-10.
Vernon Wells drove in a run for Toronto, which slipped to 4-7 on its 13-game road trip.
“We had opportunities with men on base but we didn’t take advantage of them,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.