HOUSTON (AP)—Kaz Matsui closed out his first series against his former team with one clutch hit.
Matsui signed with the Astros in the offseason after helping Colorado reach the World Series last year. He missed the first 17 games of the year recovering from surgery for an anal fissure and went 3-for-11 in the three-game set against the Rockies.
“You’ve got to go out and just play the game regardless,” Matsui said through an interpreter. “At the same time, those are players I used to play with. So I was looking forward to this game.”
Hunter Pence led off the eighth with a single and Mark Loretta walked against reliever Brian Fuentes (0-1), who allowed a run for the first time in 10 appearances this season. Both runners moved up on an infield out to set up Matsui’s hit.
“We finally got some big two-out hits this game,” manager Cecil Cooper said. “This is the first time this year we’ve actually done that. We have to have that kind of hitting to win. We have to start doing that on a regular basis.”
Matsui went 2-for-5, drove in two runs and scored twice.
“He’s a good hitter,” Fuentes said. “Everybody’s a good hitter or they wouldn’t be here. It’s a situation where I was trying to locate my fastball and I didn’t do that and he took advantage of it.”
Colorado manager Clint Hurdle thought turning Matsui around to bat right-handed might help the Rockies.
“He’s a much better batter left-handed than right-handed, so we were looking for an advantage there,” Hurdle said. “But he threw a good at-bat up there. He fouled some pitches off. He stayed on Fuentes.
“They both know each other. I don’t think Brian got the ball located where he wanted to, but give (Matsui) credit. He got the barrel to it.”
Miguel Tejada followed Matsui’s hit with an RBI double. Tejada also went 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
“I feel like I did last year,” said Valverde, who led the majors with 47 saves for Arizona last year. “All of my stuff was working today. The emotion I had today was the same I had last year.”
Shawn Chacon allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings for Houston. He struck out three and walked one.
Troy Tulowitzki put Colorado in front 4-3 with an RBI single in the seventh inning.
Tejada tied it at 2 with a run-scoring single in the fifth. He went to third on Lance Berkman’s single and came home on a wild pitch by Jimenez.
Garrett Atkins’ third homer of the season tied it at 3 in the sixth.
Colorado, which won the first two games in this series, has never swept a series at Minute Maid Park. The Rockies had never won more than one game in a series before Friday. … Atkins’ homer was the 25th allowed by Houston this season, second in the NL.