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Astros edge Dodgers on wild pitch

Astros edge Dodgers on wild pitch
HOUSTON (AP) - Long-legged and speedy, Hunter Pence probably could have scored from second base.

Thanks to a wild pitch he didn't have to.

Ivan Rodriguez drove in the go-ahead run after a wild pitch on an intentional walk put Pence on third, and the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-5 on Wednesday night with native Texan Roger Clemens in attendance.

Clemens, a former Astro, attended the game with some of his children. He sat about 10 rows up behind home plate.

Pence doubled in the eighth inning before Los Angeles ran into some trouble trying to intentionally walk Geoff Blum. Ronald Belisario's throw to Russell Martin bounced off the edge of the catcher's glove, and Pence advanced a base as Martin rolled in the dirt trying to chase it down.

Pence wasn't sure if he could have made it from second and considered the wild pitch lucky.

"(Belisario) has of one of those unique arms, where it's tougher for some of those guys to not throw as hard as they can," he said. "I was just kind of anticipating and fortunately it happened and I was ready for it."

Manager Cecil Cooper was certain he could have made it without the wild pitch.

"Hunter is a very aggressive base runner and I think undoubtedly he would have scored there," Cooper said. "No question."

Dodgers manager Joe Torre didn't second guess having Belisario, a rookie, in the game at such a key time.

"The way he's been so aggressive we wanted him in there," Torre said. "He has certainly shown us that emotionally he can handle it. His ball just wasn't moving tonight, but we like his aggressiveness."

Said Belisario: "I (felt) pretty well. I had control of my pitches but they still got me. That happens."

Blum walked before Rodriguez singled to center, scoring Pence.

Lance Berkman tied it earlier in the inning with a solo home run off Belisario (0-1) that ricocheted off the wall in left field.

Pence had a two-run homer in the fourth inning to help the Astros win their second straight over the Dodgers, who came into the series with an eight-game winning streak.

Chris Sampson (1-0) gave up a run in two innings for the win.


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Astros reliever LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect ninth for the save in place of closer Jose Valverde, who is out with a leg injury.

"When you've got a guy down, you just try to pull your weight and then some," Hawkins said.

James Loney put Los Angeles ahead in the eighth with a run-scoring double that made it 5-4. Andre Ethier singled to start the eighth before Loney's hit, which rolled into the corner in left field.

Houston tied it 4-all in the sixth on a double by Jason Michaels that scored Berkman and Carlos Lee.

Manny Ramirez led off the sixth with a solo homer off Roy Oswalt that flew over the wall in left and made it 2-1. Ethier followed that home run with a tying shot that bounced off the railing in the left field Crawford Boxes, giving the Dodgers back-to-back home runs for the first time this season.

Casey Blake's two out, two-run homer that bounced off the wall in left and dribbled down the train tracks atop that wall later in the inning put Los Angeles ahead 4-2.

It was the first time Oswalt has allowed three home runs in an inning and the most home runs given up by a Houston pitcher since Jason Hirsh allowed three in 2006.

Oswalt got out of the inning by striking out Randy Wolf and was replaced by Sampson for the seventh.

Oswalt, who doesn't have a win this season in four starts, allowed eight hits and four runs with six strikeouts.

"It was a team win," Oswalt said. "It doesn't matter what I do. I could care less about my stats as long as the team wins."

Pence had a two-run homer to center field in the fourth inning that put Houston ahead 2-0.

Dodgers starter Randy Wolf, a former Astros starter, allowed eight hits and four runs with six strikeouts in seven innings.

"I kind of fault myself for today without a doubt," he said. "Giving up four runs like that, you can't do that ... this is just a win for us that I let slip away."


Torre said RHP Hiroki Kuroda is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Thursday and could be ready to pitch by the end of April. Kuroda went on the disabled list on April 10 with an oblique muscle strain. ... Astros 3B Jeff Keppinger had a single in the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to eight games. He is the second player in franchise history to start his Houston career with an eight-game hitting streak. The other player to do it was Roman Mejias, who did it for the Colt 45s in 1962, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 23, 2009

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