Astros 6, Rockies 0

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DENVER (AP)—The Houston Astros ended one of baseball’s record runs.

For more than four years, a Rockies’ run—at least one—was a sure thing at Coors Field. Not anymore.

Wade Miller and the Astros handed Colorado its first shutout at home since 1999, increasing their NL Central lead Thursday with a 6-0 victory.

The Rockies had scored in 361 consecutive home games since San Diego’s Andy Ashby pitched a six-hitter on July 4, 1999. The previous record was 258 games by the Boston Braves from 1892-1896.

“I wasn’t aware of the streak,” Miller said. “They told me afterward. Sure, it’s nice. But the thing is, we needed a win here to go back up by a game over Chicago. We have only 10 games left now, so every one is important.”

Before Colorado, the post-1900 record was held by the New York Yankees. They scored in 233 straight home games from 1930-33, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, baseball’s statistician.

Miller, Octavio Dotel and Mike Gallo combined on a three-hitter. Jeff Bagwell homered and drove in three runs as the Astros moved a game ahead of the idle Cubs.

“We’re just trying to win games because we know what position we’re in,” Houston manager Jimy Williams said. “It’s tough to throw a shutout anywhere.”

Miller (14-12) gave up just a third-inning double to Todd Helton and a fourth-inning single to Jay Payton before departing after walking two straight batters with one out in the seventh.

Dotel promptly retired pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney on a double-play grounder, then worked a one-hit eighth. Gallo finished with a perfect ninth, securing Houston’s 11th win in 14 games.

Miller walked five and struck out seven, improving to 7-2 in his last nine starts. The three hits were the fewest for Colorado at home since May 1 against Cincinnati.

Bagwell hit a two-run homer off Jason Young in the ninth, his 36th of the season. Bagwell and Craig Biggio each had three hits for Houston.

“It’s nice to come in and get handshakes instead of always sitting in the dugout having to give handshakes,” said Bagwell, who entered the game in an 0-for-13 slide.

The Astros took two of three from the Rockies.

“It was very critical for us to win the series,” Bagwell said. “The last couple of weeks we’ve been talking about just winning each series we play. If we win all of our series and we don’t win the division, then we didn’t deserve it.”

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said his team has taken some pride in the home scoring streak.

“We’ve been able to put up at least a run at home every night, someway, somehow,” he said. “We don’t have to worry about that now, do we?

“You’ve got to give their pitchers some credit. We had shots in the first, the third and the seventh and we weren’t able to convert. Opportunities against good pitchers don’t come around very often.”

Jose Jimenez (2-9) couldn’t overcome a rough first inning. He went six innings, allowing three runs—all in the first—and eight hits.

The Astros got five hits to score three times in the first.

“The hitters put up a three-spot in the first inning,” Miller said, “and that was the key for me.”

Biggio led off with a triple over center fielder Preston Wilson and scored on Geoff Blum’s groundout.

Bagwell doubled into the right-field corner, and Jeff Kent singled. Lance Berkman followed with an RBI single. With two outs, Brad Ausmus added a run-scoring single.

Bagwell’s infield single off Denny Stark made it 4-0 in the seventh. Biggio led off with a single, went to second on a wild pitch and third on a fly ball. He scored on Bagwell’s high chopper over the mound.

Miller walked back-to-back batters with one out in the first but struck out Wilson and retired Greg Norton on a groundout.

With two outs in the third, Chris Stynes walked and went to third on Helton’s double, but Wilson grounded out.

Richard Hidalgo led off the Houston sixth with a single and went to second on a groundout. He was stranded, however, when Jimenez retired the next twobatters on grounders.

Notes

Biggio was hit by a pitch for the 240th time in his career, tops among active players. … Helton extended his hitting streak to 12 games. … Colorado lost its fourth straight home series for the first time since June 12 to July 22, 2001, when it lost five in a row. The Rockies are 2-10 in theirlast 12 home games.

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