DENVER (AP)—A trip to Coors Field against their favorite pitcher was all the Astros needed to earn a rare road win.
Lance Berkman homered and drove in three runs, Wandy Rodriguez was strong into the seventh inning, and Houston beat Jamey Wright for the 12th straight time in an 11-5 victory Monday night over the Colorado Rockies.
“We got some guys on and put Jamey into the stretch and got some big hits when we needed them,” said Craig Biggio, who had two hits. “It was one of those nights.”
Houston hasn’t had many of them on the road.
At home the Astros have had no trouble. They’re 24-13 at Minute Maid Park, where they’re hitting .279—third-best in the NL—and have averaged nearly five runs per game.
Get the Astros on the road and they’re a different team.
Entering the game, Houston had the third-worst road record in the major leagues at 9-27. Just 19 of its 61 homers had come away from home, and it had the majors’ lowest road batting average at .206.
Everyone got involved against the Rockies, giving the Astros their first win to open a road series all year.
Every starter, including Rodriguez, had a hit by the fourth inning. The Astros matched a season high for runs and had 18 hits—their most since getting that many against the Dodgers on Sept. 1, 2003.
Houston has won eight of 11 overall and seven straight over Colorado.
“It’s just one game. If it means anything other than that, I don’t know,” Astros manager Phil Garner said. “We need wins and we got the win.”
Most of the offense came against Wright (4-8).
The right-hander allowed eight runs and a team record-tying 15 hits in seven innings, becoming the first pitcher to lose his first 12 decisions against one team since Don Sutton dropped 13 straight against the Chicago Cubs from 1966-69.
“They kick my (rear end) every time,” Wright said.
Rodriguez (3-3) didn’t have many problems in his first trip to Coors Field.
The rookie left-hander gave up an RBI single to Danny Ardoin in the second inning and not much else until Todd Helton’s RBI double in the seventh cut Houston’s lead to 8-2. Rodriguez was done after that, and Russ Springer stranded runners at second and third by striking out Preston Wilson and Brad Hawpe.
Rodriguez allowed eight hits and two runs in 6 1-3 innings, just the third time in seven starts he’s allowed less than four earned runs.
“He made good pitches and didn’t look like this place bothered him at all,” Berkman said.
Colorado at least made it interesting, scoring three runs with two outs in the eighth.
Luis Gonzalez knocked in one with a single off Chad Harville, then two more came in when third baseman Morgan Ensberg dropped Helton’s bases-loaded popup for an error. Harville walked pinch-hitter Cory Sullivan to load the bases, but Dan Wheeler struck out Hawpe to end the inning.
“You’ve got to play all nine innings here. There’s no such thing as backing off,” Garner said. “A lot of times you get in positions where you don’t run guys and kind of play gentleman’s ball, I guess you could say, but you can’t do that here.”
Wright just put the Rockies in too big a hole.
He entered with a 12 1-3 innings scoreless streak at Coors Field and the Astros took care of that in three pitches.
Willy Taveras hit Wright’s first pitch down the line in right for a double and Biggio followed with an RBI double down the opposite line. Berkman made it 2-0 two pitches later with a run-scoring single just over third base.
A two-out error by Rockies shortstop Desi Relaford led to a two-run single by Adam Everett in the third, then Chavez led off the fourth with a homer—the first off a Rockies starter at Coors Field in 59 innings. Berkman followed with a two-run shot, his sixth, to put the Astros up 7-1.
Wright matched his career high of 12 hits allowed by the fourth inning, but manager Clint Hurdle kept sending him out there. He gave up three more hits and a run in the seventh on Chavez’s sacrifice fly before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom half.
“I thought he was due,” Hurdle said. “I can’t keep him from pitching against the Astros when his turn came up. I thought this was the night he would stick it to them.”
Lane put the Astros up 11-2 in the eighth with his 12th homer, a three-run shot off Matt Anderson.
Taveras leads the majors with 31 infield hits after beating out a grounder to second in the third inning. … Chavez’s last homer was April 15, 2003, against San Francisco. … Colorado’s Jason Jennings also allowed 15 hits on July 20, 2004, against San Diego.