Rockies 5, Astros 0
DENVER (AP)—After getting his second career shutout, Jason Jennings couldn’t help but think back to his last outing.
“I felt I threw the ball well, but realized we wouldn’t have won that game no matter how well I pitched,” Jennings said after pitching a seven hitter in the Colorado Rockies’ 5-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
“We ran into a tough guy in Tim Hudson,” he said, referring to a 2-0 loss to Atlanta on Monday. “All I wanted to do tonight was keep that going and build on what I did well.”
Jennings (2-2) struck out a season-high nine against Houston, walked one and retired 12 in a row during one stretch. He was 0-2 in his previous four starts and last won April 9 at San Diego.
“He got the ball past people and he never threw a ball over 90 mph because his off speed was so efficient,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “He was on and off the gas pedal, worked up and down and in and out. It was basic pitching.”
Houston manager Phil Garner agreed.
“Jennings pounded the strike zone and threw strikes,” Garner said. “It’s amazing what happens when you throw strikes and he did.”
Jennings had three previous complete games, the last coming April 22, 2005, against the Los Angeles Dodgers. His only previous shutout came in his major league debut against the New York Mets on July 23, 2001.
“This was probably my second most satisfying game, only behind my debut start,” Jennings said. “But I pitched better tonight than I did in my debut night and it came against a team that had really given me trouble.”
He had never beaten the Astros in three previous career starts.
Wandy Rodriguez (4-1) worked six innings, allowing a season-high five runs and seven hits.
“I felt good and nothing bothered my arm, but I wasn’t able to be as sharp as I wanted to be,” Rodriguez said. “I think my problem tonight was just my location.”
Jennings allowed a two-out double to Eric Munson in the second inning. After Munson’s double, Jennings retired 12 in a row before Willy Taveras reached on a bunt single with two outs in the sixth. Lance Berkman walked, but Jennings got Morgan Ensberg on a called third strike.
“The one jam he got into in the sixth inning he pretty much answered,” Hurdle said. “He got behind in the count when he got behind in the count, 2-0, and threw three straight sinkers to get Ensberg.”
Freeman and Helton had RBI singles in the first inning after the first three Rockies reached base.
In the third, Freeman beat out an infield single and moved to third on Helton’s single to center. Garrett Atkins hit a sacrifice fly to center to give Colorado a four-run lead.
Holliday hit a solo home run with one out in the sixth inning, a drive into the Houston bullpen in center.
“I’m still on a high and it will sink in until tomorrow,” Jennings said. “I’ll get back to work and get ready for Houston again at their place.”
Two jets from the USS Hornet were part of a pregame flyover. … Slumping OF Jason Lane, 1-for-18, was out of Houston’s starting lineup. … OF Chris Burke left the game in the sixth inning after crashing into the wall in right-center field while making the catch on a ball hit by Atkins. He suffered a shoulder injury. … Two of the hits Jennings gave up were bunt singles. … Colorado RHP Mike DeJean (right shoulder tendinitis) threw a simulated game without pain before Saturday’s game.