Oswalt throws 1-hitter in Astros’ 2-0 win

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DENVER (AP)—Roy Oswalt threw a one-hitter and Hunter Pence hit a two-run home run to help the Houston Astros beat the Colorado Rockies 2-0 on Saturday night.

Roy Oswalt (14-9) struck out six, walked two and hit two batters. He threw 102 pitches and gave up only a leadoff single to Brad Hawpe in the fifth inning.

It was the third time in Coors Field history that a pitcher threw a one-hitter or better. Hideo Nomo of the Los Angeles Dodgers threw a no hitter on Sept. 17, 1996, and Pat Rapp of the Florida Marlins threw a one-hitter on Sept. 17, 1995.

Oswalt got his fifth career shutout, and first since a two-hitter on June 12, 2005, against Toronto. He extended his scoreless innings streak to 23 1-3 over three starts. After a tough start to the season, Oswalt has been untouchable recently, going 8-1 with an 2.12 ERA in his last 11 starts.

Reggie Abercrombie was 3-for-4 with two doubles for the Astros, who won for the ninth time in 10 games and remained seven games back of Milwaukee in the NL wild card race. The Brewers beat the Padres 1-0.

The loss slipped Colorado 5 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles. The Dodgers moved into first place with a 7-2 victory over Arizona.

Jeff Francis (4-9) allowed two runs and seven hits over 6 1-3 innings. Francis, who missed all of July with inflammation in his left shoulder, has put together five quality starts, but has one win to show for it.

Oswalt retired the first 12 Rockies he faced, striking out three over the first four innings. Hawpe lined a ball under Oswalt’s glove and into center for a single to open the fifth and two outs later he hit Chris Iannetta before getting Troy Tulowitzki to ground out to end the inning.

Francis worked out of trouble in the fourth and fifth innings. He retired Hunter Pence on a fly out after Loretta hit a one-out double to left and Lance Berkman walked with two outs in the fourth.

Jose Castillo walked and Abercrombie doubled to open the fifth. Brad Ausmus and Oswalt fanned and Darin Erstad popped out to end the threat.

Francis couldn’t escape trouble in the sixth after Miguel Tejada singled past shortstop with one out. Berkman lined out to second base, but Pence hit a 3-1 pitch into the left seats for his 21st home and give the Houston a 2-0 lead.

Notes

: OF Ty Wigginton left the game in the first inning, straining his left groin running out a ground ball. He is listed as day to day. … 3B Ian Stewart robbed Brad Ausmus of a hit with a leaping grab of a line drive in the third inning. … No timetable has been given for the return of Rockies C Yorvit Torrealba, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last Wednesday.

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