Oswalt fires one-hitter as Astros blank RockiesSep 7, 2008 - 5:43 AM By Brady Delander PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
DENVER (Ticker) -- Roy Oswalt will settle for a one-hit shutout, but he was about three inches of leather away from a no-hitter.
Oswalt hurled a sparkling a one-hitter as the Houston Astros posted a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.
"I look back now and wish I had got my glove down on the ball that (Brad) Hawpe hit back up the middle," Oswalt said. "I thought it was going to jump up, but it stayed down and went right under my glove."
Oswalt (14-9) extended his scoreless-innings streak to 23 1/3 frames for the Astros, who banged out 10 hits.
"That was electric stuff, there's no doubt about it," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's on top of his game. I mean from 94 (miles-per-hour) with the fastball to 66 with a slow breaking ball - good stuff. Just quality, inning after inning."
The righthander dictated the action from the start, hurling strikes on 28 of his first 32 pitches. He was perfect through the first four innings before allowing a leadoff single to Hawpe in the fifth. The weak roller through the middle of the infield was the only hit of the game for the Rockies.
"For at least two months he's been dominant every time he steps on the rubber," said catcher Brad Ausmus. "You don't ever know what's going to happen until you get in the flow of the game. But we were through five innings pretty quickly, and I looked up and he only had 40-something pitches."
The only smudges on Oswalt's outing were two hit batters. He struck out six, walked two and forced 15 groundball outs. It was the fifth shutout of Oswalt's career. Oswalt, who is 6-1 with a 1.84 ERA in nine starts vs. the Rockies, holds the lowest ERA against Colorado of any pitcher in history. He continued that trend, as well as his dominant pitching of late.
"My fastball was just getting on guys," Oswalt said. "I didn't really have any great breaking pitches. I had a few that I threw down in the zone and got them to chase, but overall the fastball was just running to both sides of the plate."
The hard-throwing Oswalt, who has won 11 of his last 15 starts, tossed 8 1/3 scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Monday and six clean frames after yielding a first-inning run in a 4-1 triumph over the Cincinnati Reds on August 27.
"That was just an outstanding, overpowering performance by Roy," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "He really went after them in the ninth when they had their big boys come up."
Rockies lefthander Jeff Francis made it a pitchers' duel early, retiring the first 10 batters in order before working out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings.
But the Astros caught up with Francis in the sixth. Hunter Pence hit his 21st home run of the season, breaking the scoreless tie with a two-run blast over the fence in left field. That proved to be as much cushion as Oswalt needed.
"I was looking for a ball over the plate and trying to get a piece of wood on it," Pence said. "It was just a great team effort. We jumped on the back of Roy O. and found a way to win."
The 31-year-old Oswalt nearly drove in a run of his own in the eighth. With Reggie Abercrombie on second base, Oswalt lined to right field and Hawpe charged the ball, caught it and fired toward home plate. The throw arrived on target to catcher Chris Iannetta, who was barreled over by Abercrombie but managed to hang onto the ball.
Abercrombie had three-hit game, including two doubles, Mark Loretta added a double and three hits and Miguel Tejada delivered a single and scored a run for Houston.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 10 0
COLORADO 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: HOU - ROY OSWALT AND BRAD AUSMUS
COL - JEFF FRANCIS, JASON GRILLI (7TH), LUIS VIZCAINO
(9TH) AND CHRIS IANNETTA
HOME RUNS: HOU - HUNTER PENCE (21) OFF JEFF FRANCIS
Sep 6 10:37 PM
AT COLORADO - SCORING UPDATE
TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY HUNTER PENCE (21) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
THE 6TH OFF JEFF FRANCIS SCORED MIGUEL TEJADA.
CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 2, COLORADO 0
DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: J CASTILLO (.238, 0-FOR-1, BB)
Astros 2, Rockies 0 Top 6, 0 OutsSep 6 9:23 PM
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