Padres 7, Astros 2
HOUSTON (AP)—Woody Williams likes being home on the road.
The San Diego right-hander pitched seven strong innings in another successful homecoming, leading the Padres over the Houston Astros 7-2 Sunday.
“I feel comfortable here,” said Williams, whose home is about 25 minutes from Minute Maid Park. “There’s nothing like being at home.”
Williams (5-4), who was born in Houston and went to the University of Houston, scattered eight hits, struck out three and walked none.
Just six days before his 40th birthday, Williams, who lives in nearby Fresno in the offseason, upped his career record against the Astros to 11-6, his second most wins against any team. He has 12 against Milwaukee.
Williams improved to 9-3 at Houston’s current home, which is the most victories by an opposing pitcher.
“I know I’ve always felt this way when I have pitched here,” Williams said. “It’s always nice to sleep in your own bed and be with your family.”
Manager Bruce Bochy has noticed Williams’ comfort level at Minute Maid.
“He just has pitched great here,” Bochy said. “I guess he likes that home cooking.
“I know it’s always a busy time for him when he’s here. But it seems he’s always pitched well here and he manages to stay focused.”
The Astros won’t argue that.
“We just couldn’t put anything together against him,” Eric Munson said. “It was just one of those days. Woody really pitched good. You have to give him credit. He’s a good veteran pitcher and he’s got a pretty good idea of what he’s doing out there.”
Mike Cameron hit a two-run homer and finished with three hits for the second straight game for San Diego, which won two of three in the weekend series.
“I like it here,” Cameron said. “I hate the grass, but otherwise this place has always treated me well.
“Winning these last two games couldn’t have been better for us, especially after losing the first four on this trip. Now we can go home for two weeks against teams in our own division. We can only build on these two wins.”
It was bad for the Astros, who had won four straight and eight of 10 before dropping these two.
“We’ve still got a lot of good things going on right now,” manager Phil Garner said. “We’d at least like to have won the series while we’re at home, but we couldn’t seal the deal. Now we’ve got to get back on track.”
Brandon Backe (3-2) lasted five innings for Houston, allowing three runs and nine hits. He walked two, hit a batter with a pitch and struck out three just 11 days after beating the Padres 7-1 in San Diego.
“I didn’t actually think Backe pitched poorly,” Garner said. “They had a couple of bloop hits and they battled pretty good at the plate and actually hit some good pitches that they probably shouldn’t have hit. It was a good day for them.”
In the first inning, Mike Lamb and Lance Berkman had back-to-back hits that were dropped by Padres outfielders Dave Roberts and Cameron respectively on difficult plays. Berkman’s was a double that moved Lamb to third, setting up Aubrey Huff’s sacrifice fly to center for a 1-0 lead.
“I was just battling every inning,” Backe said. “That’s pretty much the toughest five innings I’ve ever pitched. I gave up some hits that were hard hit and not very hard hit. They put the ball in play and they found the holes.”
Geoff Blum drew a bases-loaded walk against Backe in the fifth and Cameron hit a two-run drive off reliever Dan Wheeler in the sixth for his 17th homer. Cameron went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and four RBIs in San Diego’s 6-3 win Saturday.
One out later, Josh Bard hit his seventh homer to make it 6-1.
Dave Roberts’ sacrifice fly drove in the Padres’ final run in the seventh off reliever Trevor Miller.
Adam Everett hit his third home run of the season in the seventh for Houston.
A day after Astros OF Preston Wilson was designated for assignment, the Colorado Rockies had expressed interest in reacquiring him through a trade. … Cameron finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs Sunday. … Willy Taveras extended his career-high hitting streak to 16 games with a single in the third inning. It’s the longest Astros streak since Jeff Kent’s club-record 25 straight in 2004. … SS Greene left the game with a contusion of his left hand after being hit by a pitch from Backe in the fifth inning. He was taken for precautionary X-rays. … It was Williams’ first win since July 7 at Washington. He had gone 0-3 with two no-decisions in five starts since then.