Astros 7, Rockies 5
The Houston Astros turned a sloppy start into a clean sweep.
Chris Carter and Matt Dominguez hit consecutive homers during a six-run sixth, Lucas Harrell won for the first time in six starts and the Houston Astros beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 on Thursday to sweep the two-game series at Coors Field.
Houston won despite committing a season-high four errors - three in the third inning - which normally leads to a bad fate at Coors Field. But Harrell pitched out of two jams and the Astros trailed by only three runs heading into the fourth inning.
''Normally when you make four errors, especially in a ballpark like this, you're probably looking at a bunch of crooked numbers,'' Houston manager Bo Porter said. ''We did a good job of minimizing the damage.''
It allowed Houston to rally to win its third in four games for the first time this year.
J.D. Martinez had a career-high four hits Houston, which swept a series for the first time this season and won three of four against Colorado this week. The Astros last won two straight four weeks ago against the Los Angeles Angels.
''It's always encouraging when you win a series. I've said we're going to start to win some of these ballgames we were finding a way to lose,'' Porter said. ''We're finding ways to win.''
Harrell (4-6) finally found a way to win after going 0-4 in his last five starts. He allowed four runs - three earned - in 5 2-3 innings to pick up his first win since beating the Yankees on April 29.
''I thought I got stronger and stronger as the game went,'' he said. ''I started off a little rusty and then as the game progressed I felt I got better and better.''
Hector Ambriz got his first save.
The Astros trailed 3-1 after five, but Juan Nicasio and the bullpen couldn't hold it. The first four batters in the sixth reached against Nicasio (4-2) to tie it.
Carter then greeted Wilton Lopez with a three-run homer to left on an 89 mph sinker.
''I was pretty much looking for that pitch because he threw me six straight,'' Carter said. ''It feels good to finally get one. It's been a couple of weeks since I've hit one so it was nice to get to 10.''
Dominguez followed with a solo shot to make it 7-3. It was the second time this season the Astros have hit back-to-back home runs, and the six-run inning matched Houston's season high for one frame.
''I think (Lopez) was pulling off a little bit today,'' said Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who had three hits. ''I'll talk to him tomorrow and hopefully he'll stay more on top of the ball so it will have that big sink at the end like he had in spring training.''
''I felt like we had an opportunity to put the game away early,'' Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. ''We didn't do it and it cost us. That's happened to us a few times this year. You have a team in trouble, or the starter in trouble, you need to put them away and win those games.''
Gonzalez reached four times for and stole three bases for Colorado, which couldn't manufacture a late-game comeback and lost for the fifth time in its last six games. The Rockies are now 15-22 since starting the season 13-4 and fell to third place in the NL West.
Harrell (4-6) survived a rough start and limited the damage despite his team's sloppy defense.
Colorado couldn't take advantage of the poor fielding. They managed single runs in each of the first three innings to take a 3-0 lead but left the bases loaded in the second and had four baserunners in the third.
''The Fowler double play was huge,'' Harrell said. ''It was a 2-2 count, my cutter was really good today so I thought I might as well throw a cutter in and maybe he'll roll it over to first. Fortunately he hit it back to me.''
NOTES: Martinez has three straight multi-hit games. ... The Rockies had five stolen bases for the first time since July 25, 2008, at Cincinnati. ... Houston's previous high in errors was three, done three times, the last coming on May 17 at Pittsburgh. ... Astros RHPs Edgar Gonzalez and Jose Veras were not available to pitch Thursday. Gonzalez was held out because of fatigue/soreness in his pitching shoulder and Veras was given the day off after pitching in four consecutive games. ... Rockies LHP Jeff Francis (groin) is schedule for his first rehab start Monday in Salt Lake City. He will throw 70-75 pitches and if all goes well will have a second start June 8 in Reno. ... The Astros will send LHP Dallas Keuchel (1-2) against Tommy Hanson (2-1) in the opener against the Los Angeles Angles in Anaheim Friday. ... Colorado's Jon Garland (3-6) will face Clayton Kershaw (5-3) in the first game against the Dodgers on Friday.