HOUSTON - As Houston fashioned a serious scoring threat for a second consecutive inning in the bottom of the 12th, Astros manager Bo Porter figured that the time had come for his club to post its first walk-off win.
Right on cue center fielder Brandon Barnes, who entered the game as a pinch runner in the 11th, delivered an RBI double to lift the Astros to a 3-2 interleague win over the Colorado Rockies Monday at Minute Maid Park.
Barnes' game-winner tailed away from Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer and took one bounce before going over the wall and out of play. Pinch-runner Ronny Cedeno scored from second base to cap the Astros' comeback and touch off a jubilant celebration near the middle of the diamond.
"It was probably the best time I've had on a baseball field," Barnes said. "It was true joy, true emotion. It was awesome. It was a blast."
Right-hander Paul Clemens (2-2), the fourth reliever out of the Houston bullpen, earned the win after pitching a scoreless 12th. Wilton Lopez (1-2), who was dealt by Houston to Colorado in the offseason, took the loss.
Astros right-hander Bud Norris weaved in and out of trouble throughout his seven-inning stint, setting an elusive tone in the first inning by retiring Troy Tulowitzki and Wilin Rosario after Carlos Gonzalez drove home Eric Young Jr. with an RBI double. Norris retired the side in order only once, against the bottom third of the lineup in the sixth.
He struck out Jonathan Herrera with Charlie Blackmon at second to close the second. Rockies first baseman Jordan Pacheco lifted a harmless fly ball to center field to cap the third, leaving the bases full.
And, with Dexter Fowler and Tulowitzki in scoring position in the fifth, Norris fanned Rosario and induced an inning-ending groundout from Pacheco.
When Norris retired Gonzalez, Tulowitzki and Rosario in order after Young and Fowler reached to open the seventh, it was hardly a surprise.
The Rockies (27-24) finished 3-for-18 with runners in scoring position and left 15 runners on base, nine in scoring position.
"I thought that our guys made really good pitches when they ran into jams," Porter said. "A lot of times you get into those situations and pitchers have a tendency to go faster. What I liked today was all of our guys took a step back, took a deep breath, and they made quality pitch after quality pitch.
"It started with Bud early in the game and it continued throughout the rest of the game with all the guys that came out of the bullpen as well."
The Rockies' Gonzalez lamented so many missed opportunities.
"It's difficult to win that way, when you leave over 10 runners on base and not being able to get the big hit. It's frustrating."
Houston (15-36) trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the fourth.
The Astros took advantage of the Rockies' lack of clutch hitting, erasing that two-run deficit in the fourth when Carlos Pena plated Jose Altuve and Jason Castro with a double to center field.
That was the lone notable mistake for Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who allowed those two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out a season-high nine batters over seven-plus innings. Chacin threw just 82 pitches before exiting with Marwin Gonzalez on second in the bottom of the eighth.
He pitched well enough to leave with a lead. But the Rockies failed time and again to provide Chacin the run support he deserved, their offensive woes leaving Colorado manager Walt Weiss unsure of what went wrong.
"I don't know if you can pin it on anything specific," Weiss said. "You take your at-bat according to the situation and you try to drive runs in.
"I think we had a lot of hard outs."
NOTES: Norris has posted a 2.04 ERA over seven home starts this season. ... Last week, Astros catcher Castro led the American League in batting (.579, 11-for-19), home runs (three), on-base percentage (.636) and slugging percentage (1.105). ... Tulowitzki has hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games against the Astros. ... Rockies first baseman Todd Helton was not in the lineup Monday. His 213 interleague games rank 10th among active players.