for this game

Matsui drives in two to lift Astros over Rockies

Apr 20, 2008 - 11:26 PM By Gene Duffey PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) - Kaz Matsui singled in two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to boost the Houston Astros to a 6-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.

Rookie lefthander Wesley Wright (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the win and struggling closer Jose Valverde collected his second save.

Matsui, who was activated Thursday after missing the first 17 games of the season due to anal fissure surgery, earned his first two RBI of the season on a 3-2 pitch in the decisive frame.

"It wasn't that much of a problem," Matsui said through an interpreter of waiting an extra three weeks to make his debut with the Astros.

But beating his former teammates was special.

"Those are the players I used to play with and I was really looking forward to this," he said. "For the situation, I just wanted a single. The fans were really loud and that helped me a lot."

Matsui also singled, stole a base, scored in the fifth inning and made an excellent defensive play on a hard grounder in the eighth.

Hunter Pence opened the eighth for Houston with a single off reliever Brian Fuentes (0-1) and was sacrificed to second by J.R. Towles. Pinch hitter Mark Loretta walked and both runners advanced on a groundout by Michael Bourn to set up Matsui.

Miguel Tejada followed Matsui's hit with a RBI double to give Houston a two-run lead to prevent a Colorado sweep and end the Astros' three-game losing streak.

"We battled," Tejada said of the comeback. "Everybody on the team believed we could come back and win. I think we'll have more opportunities to drive in runs with Matsui back."

"We finally got some big, two-out hits," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "That's what we've got to have. That's the only way we're going to be a winner.

"Our offense hasn't come to the party yet. I like our lineup one through eight. We need to collectively come together and start hitting."

The Astros also got what they needed from Valverde, another offseason acquisition.

Valverde had already blown two save opportunities this year, including a three-run lead earlier in the week in Philadelphia, and entered Sunday's game with an ugly 12.27 ERA.

"He was his old self again, being aggressive and going after it," Cooper said of the guy who saved 47 games last season for Arizona. "He threw the ball well, made some good pitches. He threw 96 (miles-per-hour) today.

"He's had problems with his split (finger fastball). He made one mechanical change. I've got confidence in him. He's our closer. We're not going to change."

It meant a lot to Valverde that Cooper handed him the ball to protect a one-run lead in the ninth. Cooper had called on veteran Doug Brocail to close Wednesday's 2-1 win at Philadelphia the day after Valverde blew up.

"I felt like last year my fastball and split finger were working," said Valverde, who showed plenty of emotion after getting each out in the ninth. "This is the best I've thrown this year. This is the emotion I had last year."

Houston starter Shawn Chacon, who gave up three runs in six innings, pitched well for the fourth time yet still does not have a decision this season.

"It happens," Chacon said. "My previous three starts we lost the game, so it was good to get a win on a day I started. That's a pretty good team (Colorado) over there, very strong offensively. The goal is to keep the team in the game, so we have a chance to win late and that's exactly what happened today."

Brad Hawpe and Matt Holliday pounded out three hits apiece and Garrett Atkins homered for Colorado, which completed a successful road trip at 5-4 despite Sunday's loss.

"I look at that as a marked improvement from where we were," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.

Colorado starter Ubaldo Jimenez, working with a 2-0 lead, walked a pair of batters with two outs in the fourth, leading to Houston's first run, then gave up three successive singles and threw a wild pitch to allow two more Astros runs in the fifth.

"That's the challenge, to finish off for a young pitcher at this level," Hurdle said of Jimenez. "You have to continue to work with him, and he has to be receptive to the instruction."

"I'm trying to do what I (did) the first three innings," Jimenez said. "I tried to be focused."

Kip Wells, who was born in Houston, played at Baylor and still lives in the city, pitched 1 1/3 innings of no-hit relief for Colorado to put himself in position for the win until the Astros rallied off Fuentes in the eighth.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    COLORADO 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 4 12 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 3 x 6 8 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: COL - UBALDO JIMENEZ, KIP WELLS (6TH), BRIAN FUENTES (8TH), RYAN
    SPEIER (8TH) AND YORVIT TORREALBA
    HOU - SHAWN CHACON, DAVE BORKOWSKI (7TH), WESLEY WRIGHT
    (8TH), J

    Apr 20 5:27 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MIGUEL TEJADA SCORED KAZ MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, M TEJADA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 4
    HOUSTON 6 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: L BERKMAN (.284, 1-FOR-2, 2 BB)

    Rockies 4, Astros 6  Bot 8, 0 OutsApr 20 5:09 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY KAZ MATSUI SCORED HUNTER PENCE AND MARK LORETTA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, K MATSUI ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 4
    HOUSTON 5 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M TEJADA (.300, 1-FOR-4, RBI)

    Rockies 4, Astros 5  Bot 8, 0 OutsApr 20 5:03 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TROY TULOWITZKI SCORED CLINT BARMES.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T TULOWITZKI ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 4
    HOUSTON 3 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: T HELTON (.275, 1-FOR-3, RBI)

    Rockies 4, Astros 3  Top 7, 0 OutsApr 20 4:14 PM
  • 5
    roots
    BIGDAWG Added 5 roots

    Rockies 3, Astros 3  Bot 6, 0 OutsApr 20 4:09 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY GARRETT ATKINS (3) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF SHAWN CHACON.
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 3, HOUSTON 3
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: B HAWPE (.236, 2-FOR-2, RBI)

    Rockies 3, Astros 3  Top 6, 0 OutsApr 20 3:43 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    WILD PITCH BY UBALDO JIMENEZ ALLOWED MIGUEL TEJADA TO
    SCORE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, L BERKMAN ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 2
    HOUSTON 3 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.270, 1-FOR-1, BB)

    Rockies 2, Astros 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsApr 20 3:36 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MIGUEL TEJADA SCORED KAZ MATSUI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M TEJADA ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 2
    HOUSTON 2 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: L BERKMAN (.273, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Rockies 2, Astros 2  Bot 5, 0 OutsApr 20 3:33 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY GEOFF BLUM SCORED LANCE BERKMAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, G BLUM ON FIRST, C LEE ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 2
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.203, 0-FOR-1)

    Rockies 2, Astros 1  Bot 4, 0 OutsApr 20 3:09 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TODD HELTON SCORED WILLY TAVERAS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T HELTON ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 2
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: M HOLLIDAY (.323, 1-FOR-1)

    Rockies 2, Astros 0  Top 3, 0 OutsApr 20 2:44 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BRAD HAWPE SCORED MATT HOLLIDAY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B HAWPE ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: COLORADO 1
    HOUSTON 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR COLORADO: Y TORREALBA (.214, 1 HR, 6 RBI)

    Rockies 1, Astros 0  Top 2, 0 OutsApr 20 2:24 PM