HOUSTON (AP)—When Houston ace Roy Oswalt returned to the dugout after hitting his first career home run Wednesday night, his teammates gave him the silent treatment.
No high-fives, no congratulations, no smiles.
Luke Scott was the first Astro to crack, and the rest of the team finally let Oswalt in on the joke.
“They straight-faced me. It was pretty good,” Oswalt said after the Astros’ 14-1 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates. “I knew what was going on. It was pretty nice.”
Oswalt’s two-run shot off Pittsburgh starter Shawn Chacon was the most notable of Houston’s season-high six homers.
Aubrey Huff connected twice and drove in a career-high six runs, and Jason Lane hit a two-run homer while pinch-hitting for Oswalt in the seventh. Craig Biggio and Scott added solo shots for the Astros, who have won six of eight. Huff also had a three-run double, and Scott hit an RBI single.
The Pirates allowed six homers in a game for the first time since Aug. 4, 2002, against San Francisco.
Oswalt said he’s already asked the Astros to help him track down the fan in the left-field seats who caught his second-inning drive.
“It was pretty exciting,” Oswalt said. “It felt like winning the first game in the big leagues. Pretty much the same thing. I always wanted to get at least one.”
Oswalt (9-7) won for the third time in four starts, allowing four hits and striking out six in six innings. Freddy Sanchez ruined the shutout bid with an RBI double in the sixth.
“Today was just one of those days where we couldn’t do anything wrong,” said Biggio, who homered for the second straight game.
Houston came into the game with 24 homers since the All-Star break, and Biggio started Wednesday’s outburst in the first inning, sending an 0-1 pitch into the left-field seats. His seventh homer since July 26 was his fourth in five home games against Pittsburgh this season.
Chacon walked Lance Berkman before Huff hammered his first home run of the night to left, only a few rows from where Biggio’s landed.
Adam Everett led off the second with a double off the left-field wall before Oswalt, a career .161 hitter, belted a 2-1 pitch over the left-field wall for his first major league homer.
Oswalt didn’t realize he homered until he rounded first base.
“I didn’t know where it was going,” he said. “I was looking for the outfielders to start moving and finally, they started moving back toward the wall, so I thought I might have a double off the wall or something. I knew I hit it pretty well. I finally saw it go into the stands.”
Oswalt got a standing ovation as he circled the bases and the crowd continued to cheer as he disappeared into the dugout. As Pirates pitching coach Jim Colborn walked out to talk to Chacon, Oswalt appeased the fans with a quick wave.
“They pushed me out,” Oswalt said. “You run it through your head what you’re going to do on your first home run.”
Chacon then continued his worst start since July 4, when he gave up seven runs in the Yankees’ 19-1 loss to Cleveland. He walked Willy Taveras, got Biggio on a flyout, then walked Huff and Berkman.
Scott, batting .413 since he was called up from Triple-A Round Rock on July 12, followed with an RBI single to right, prompting Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy to replace Chacon with Victor Santos.
“The ball was up in the zone when I did throw strikes. They made me pay,” Chacon said. “That’s pretty much the bottom line—I just stunk.”
Santos walked Morgan Ensberg to score Huff and make it 7-0.
With two outs in the third, Taveras and Biggio singled to start another rally. Santos walked Berkman before Huff doubled to the fence in right-center, clearing the bases for a 10-0 lead.
“There’s very little to say,” Tracy said. “We didn’t pitch all that well, obviously.
“It’s one of those nights,” he added. “We just have to start all over tomorrow.”
With two outs in the fifth, Huff sent a 400-foot shot into the upper deck in right, his fourth homer since the Astros acquired him from Tampa Bay on July 12. Scott hit Santos’ next pitch into the lower deck in right, the fifth time this season the Astros have hit back-to-back home runs.
Houston manager Phil Garner said Huff has been swinging the bat well for a while with few results to show for it until Wednesday.
“He decided to hit it out of the park. They can’t catch it out there,” Garner said. “He really has been hitting the ball well.”
Nate McLouth singled in the sixth for Pittsburgh and scored on Sanchez’s 38th double.
Oswalt’s homer was the first by an Astros pitcher since Brandon Backe connected off Aaron Harang in Cincinnati on Sept. 6, 2004. … Garner earned his 900th career victory. … Taveras beat out an infield single in the third to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. … Pittsburgh reliever Josh Sharpless twisted his right ankle fielding a grounder in the sixth and left the game.