Astros
Braves
12 - 11 Final/14
  for this game

Jennings delivers clutch hit to lift Astros over Braves

Aug 3, 2007 - 5:54 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) - An unlikely hero helped the Houston Astros avoid a sweep by the Atlanta Braves after both teams overcame four-run deficits.

Pitcher Jason Jennings' RBI single in the 14th inning lifted the Astros to a 12-11 victory over the Braves on Thursday in the finale of a three-game series.

Jennings, who came in as a pinch hitter because Houston had no position players left on their bench, smacked a 2-1 offering from Oscar Villarreal (1-1) into right field, plating Jason Lane.

"I went to put my spikes on in the ninth or 10th inning and it ended up being my turn in the 14th," Jennings said. "I was just trying to make solid contact, and put it in play. Just do anything and see what happened. I got into a good hitters count and was sitting fastball and that's what he threw."

The hit was bittersweet for the 29-year-old righthander, who was shelled for 11 runs in his start against the Padres on Sunday.

"It helps a little bit to do something for the team on a day I was not pitching," Jennings said. "I know I'm not that bad of a pitcher. It was a fluke game. But to be productive on a day when I wasn't pitching, helped out a little bit."

Lane was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and advanced to second on Mike Lamb's ground out. After Ausmus struck out swinging, Jennings, who was a lifetime .219 (66-for-302) hitter in six seasons with the Rockies, delivered a two-out base hit for his second hit and first RBI of the season.

"Jennings is not just a hitting pitcher," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "You try to pitch him like a seventh place hitter and we knew that. He's a good hitter. (Villareal) got behind 2-1 and threw him a heater and he hit it."

Rookie Mark McLemore (1-0) picked up the win after pitching around two hits in a scoreless 13th inning and Brian Moehler slammed the door in the 14th to register his first career save.

Atlanta seemed in control, leading 9-5, until Lamb hit a pinch-hit homer off Rafael Soriano to dead center field in the eighth inning to tie the contest. The blast was the seventh grand slam by the Astros this season, matching the franchise record set in 2001.

"I don't have center field home-run power," Lamb joked. "I need to learn to pull the ball."

"That was a big blow by Lamb," Houston manager Phil Garner said. "That was the turning point."

Two batters before the grand slam, the Braves also suffered a blow when shortstop Edgar Renteria sprained his right ankle on Ty Wigginton's hot shot single. The injury necessitated a juggling of the Atlanta defense. Chipper Jones moved to shortstop for the first time in seven years and left fielder Willie Harris made his major league debut at third base.

Renteria will miss the next three to four games according to Braves manager Bobby Cox.

"It was a pretty crazy game," Atlanta left fielder Matt Diaz said. "You think you have it under control and Edgar makes a great play and you're thinking, 'Why isn't he throwing it?' And then he can't even walk."

Lane gave the Astros the lead in the 12th with a sacrifice fly to deep center field, allowing Carlos Lee to score. Lamb's grounder then skipped past the glove of second baseman Kelly Johnson, bringing Wigginton around from second for an 11-9 edge. But Diaz answered in the bottom half with a two-run homer just over the left-center field wall off Astros closer Brad Lidge.

Prior to blowing a four-run advantage, Atlanta started a comeback from a 5-1 deficit in the third inning. Andruw Jones grounded out to plate Chipper Jones and Brian McCann followed with an RBI double to close the gap to 5-3.

Mark Teixeira blasted two-run homer off Astros starter Woody Williams into the right-center field bleachers in the fourth to knot the game at 5-5. The 27-year old Teixeira is 3-for-11 with two home runs and six RBI in two games since joining the Braves.

Atlanta speedster Willie Harris broke the tie in the fifth, plating Kelly Johnson and pinch hitter Yunel Escobar with a two-out triple. Jeff Francoeur padded the lead in the sixth by smashing a two-out, two-run double to give the Braves a 9-5 edge.

Williams allowed seven runs and a career-high 13 hits over five innings.

Atlanta rookie starter Jo-Jo Reyes allowed five runs - four earned - and four hits with four walks over three frames. The southpaw, who had allowed a gawdy 22 runs in 21 2/3 frames, was optioned to Class AAA Richmond after the game.

Houston right fielder Lance Berkman hit a two-run homer in the third, his 19th of the season and fourth in four games. Lane, who entered with a putrid .175 batting average, smacked a three-run homer into the Atlanta bullpen in the third inning to give Houston a 5-1 lead.

Andruw Jones smashed his 21st homer of the season in the second for the Braves, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.






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    FINAL 14
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
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    HOUSTON 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 4 0
    ATLANTA 0 1 2 2 2 2 0 0 0
    10 11 12 13 14 R H E
    -- -- -- -- -- - - -
    HOUSTON 0 0 2 0 1 12 11 0
    ATLANTA 0 0 2 0 0 11 22 3 (FINAL 14)

    BATTERIES: HOU

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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JASON JENNINGS SCORED JASON LANE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J JENNINGS ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 12
    ATLANTA 11 TOP, 14TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C BURKE (.223, 1-FOR-6, BB)

    Astros vs. BravesAug 3 12:26 AM
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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY MATT DIAZ (6) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    12TH OFF BRAD LIDGE SCORED CORKY MILLER.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 11, ATLANTA 11
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: C JONES (.336, 1-FOR-5, BB)

    Astros vs. BravesAug 2 11:51 PM
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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY KELLY JOHNSON ALLOWED TY WIGGINTON TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M LAMB ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 11
    ATLANTA 9 TOP, 12TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: B AUSMUS (.238, 1-FOR-4, BB)

    Astros vs. BravesAug 2 11:37 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY JASON LANE SCORED CARLOS LEE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T WIGGINTON ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 10
    ATLANTA 9 TOP, 12TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M LAMB (.305, 2-FOR-2, HR, 4 RBI)

    Astros vs. BravesAug 2 11:34 PM
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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    GRAND SLAM BY MIKE LAMB (11) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    8TH OFF RAFAEL SORIANO SCORED CARLOS LEE, TY WIGGINTON AND JASON
    LANE.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 9, ATLANTA 9
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: B AUSMUS (.239, 1-FOR-2, BB)

    Astros vs. BravesAug 2 10:17 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JEFF FRANCOEUR SCORED CHIPPER JONES AND BRIAN
    MCCANN.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J FRANCOEUR ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5
    ATLANTA 9 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: K JOHNSON (.297, 1-FOR-3)

    Astros vs. BravesAug 2 9:48 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY WILLIE HARRIS SCORED KELLY JOHNSON AND YUNEL
    ESCOBAR.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, W HARRIS ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5
    ATLANTA 7 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: E RENTERIA (.337, 1-FOR-3)

    Astros vs. BravesAug 2 9:21 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY MARK TEIXEIRA (2) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH
    2 OUT IN THE 4TH OFF WOODY WILLIAMS SCORED WILLIE HARRIS.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5, ATLANTA 5
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: A JONES (.219, 1-FOR-2, HR, 2 RBI)

    Astros vs. BravesAug 2 9:01 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY BRIAN MCCANN SCORED MARK TEIXEIRA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, B MCCANN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5
    ATLANTA 3 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J FRANCOEUR (.302, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros vs. BravesAug 2 8:36 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY ANDRUW JONES SCORED CHIPPER JONES.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M TEIXEIRA ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5
    ATLANTA 2 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: B MCCANN (.262, 0-FOR-0, HBP)

    Astros vs. BravesAug 2 8:35 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY JASON LANE (5) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF JO-JO REYES SCORED CARLOS LEE AND TY WIGGINTON.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5, ATLANTA 1
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: E BRUNTLETT (.268, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros vs. BravesAug 2 8:24 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY LANCE BERKMAN (19) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 3RD OFF JO-JO REYES SCORED MARK LORETTA.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 2, ATLANTA 1
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.295, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros vs. BravesAug 2 8:16 PM


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    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ANDRUW JONES (21) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF WOODY WILLIAMS.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0, ATLANTA 1
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: B MCCANN (.262, 12 HR, 63 RBI)

    Astros vs. BravesAug 2 7:59 PM
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