Astros 14, Rockies 4

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DENVER (AP)—Richard Hidalgo’s power display should have come as no surprise. This is his time of year.

Hidalgo hit three homers and drove in five runs, leading the Houston Astros to a 14-4 romp over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.

Hidalgo ranks first among active players in career hitting during September with a .380 average.

“I can’t explain that,” Hidalgo said. “I saw the ball pretty good tonight. I just tried to see the ball and hit it. Three homers—I’m happy about that, and I’m happy we won the game.”

The Astros, who have won 10 of their last 12, remained 1 1/2 games ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. Chicago beat the New York Mets 3-2.

Adam Everett added a three-run homer as the Astros connected six times, and Jeriome Robertson pitched seven strong innings.

Robertson (15-7) set a Houston rookie record with his 15th win. He was tied with Roy Oswalt, who won 14 in 2001. Robertson allowed two runs, six hits and walked three and struck out two.

Hidalgo’s three homers matched a Houston record for homers in a game, and his five RBIs equaled a career high. He struck out in the ninth in his bid to become the 15th player to homer four times in a regular-season game.

“I don’t try to hit home runs,” he said.

Jeff Kent and Morgan Ensberg hit solo homers for the Astros.

“Hidalgo hit the ball extremely well, to say the least,” manager Jimy Williams said. “You don’t see that very often, when a guy has three home runs in one game. The way he’s hit, certainly of late, has been a big reason we’ve won some games.

“Robertson set the tone in that game by the way he pitched. Fifteen wins is pretty darn good, I don’t care what league you’re pitching in. Early in the year, he was sent down. And he’s really done an outstanding job for us since coming back.”

Greg Norton had a two-run homer for Colorado, which has lost nine of its last 10 at home.

Colorado starter Chin-hui Tsao (2-3), activated from the disabled list before the game, went four innings, allowing five runs—four earned—and four hits.

“Embarrassing? Yes,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “Sometimes you want to scream and you want to kick, but until we get to the point where we pitch better consistently, it’s hard to yell at the whole club. We have some young guys who are taking some lumps and getting taken to the woodshed on the mound. We didn’t do anything well tonight.”

The Rockies went ahead 1-0 in the first on Todd Helton’s RBI single.

Houston tied it in the second on Hidalgo’s solo homer, his 25th.

Everett’s three-run homer made it 4-1 in the fourth. Kent led off with a single and went to second on a groundout. Hidalgo walked, and Kent was out at third on Raul Chavez’s fielder’s choice. Everett followed with a 425-foot homer.

Kent’s RBI single and Hidalgo’s second homer, a three-run shot, increased the lead to 8-1 in the fifth.

Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch for a major league-leading 25th time. Ensberg reached on third baseman Chris Stynes’ fielding error, chasing Tsao. Aaron Cook came in and got Jeff Bagwell on a double-play grounder. But Kent followed with a run-scoring single, Lance Berkman walked and Hidalgo hit a 435-foot homer.

In the Rockies’ half, Ronnie Belliard hit a solo homer.

Houston scored two runs in the sixth, one of which came when Everett raced home from first as catcher Gregg Zaun threw wild to first on Robertson’s bunt.

The Astros made it 13-2 with three runs in the seventh. Kent led off with his 22nd homer and Hidalgo connected again. Everett, who reached on an error,scored on Robertson’s triple.

Notes

Tsao went on the DL on Aug. 24 with a strained left hamstring. … The six homers were the most for the Astros since they hit a franchise-record seven on Sept. 9, 2000, at Wrigley Field. … The teams hadn’t met in Denver sinceColorado’s opening homestand of last season.

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