The Houston Astros only had two real good swings against Ross Ohlendorf, and it was enough.
Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada had each had two-run homers, leading the Astros to a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night.
“Sometimes it only takes a couple of swings,” Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. “We had two of them and we made them count.”
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One of them came when Tejada hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh inning. Lee o connected in the fourth as Houston won for the seventh time in nine games. The Astros have won 12 of 16 at home.
Lee and Tejada agreed that neither of their homers were bad pitches by Pittsburgh’s Ross Ohlendorf (11-10).
“That guy was pitching real good,” Lee said. “I can’t say that he made mistakes with his pitches. The pitch he threw Miggy was (a fastball) down and in and the pitch that I hit out was a curveball that broke inside a little. Other than that, he kept us off-balance all night long.”
Tejada was also impressed.
“He pitched me great,” Tejada said. “The home run was low and away and I just went after it and got it. He was very tough.
“What I thought in my mind when I was up there was the situation just needed a single. I wasn’t trying to hit a home run. I was just trying to get a hit.”
The Pirates felt the same way.
“You can’t take away what he (Ohlendorf) did,” manager John Russell said. “He looked good except for two pitches. He deserved better.”
Ohlendorf was especially discouraged by the Tejada homer.
“It was a sinker down and he did a good job of hitting it,” Ohlendorf said. “It was frustrating. We were in position to get out of the inning.”
Pitching dominated the first four innings. Ohlendorf retired the first 10 batters of the game while Houston’s Brian Moehler set down 11 of the first 12 he faced.
There wasn’t a hit until Lastings Milledge hit a sharp single between third and short with two outs in the fourth inning.
The next batter, Steve Pearce, singled to the same spot. But Milledge made too wide a turn off second base and Ryan Doumit, who had walked, was caught off third base to end the inning.
Kaz Matsui broke up Ohlendorf’s perfect game with a bunt single with one out in the bottom of the fourth.
Two batters later, Lee hit his 25th home run of the season to make it 2-0.
Jeff Fulchino (6-4) pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, striking out one. LaTroy Hawkins worked a scoreless eighth and Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his 23rd save.
Ohlendorf gave up only four hits in 6 1-3 innings for the Pirates, who have lost five straight and 14 of 15. They also ran their road losing streak to 13 games.
Lance Berkman walked leading off the seventh and, an out later, Tejada hit his 11th homer to the Crawford Boxes in left field.
Ohlendorf allowed four runs. He struck out three and walked one.
Moehler lasted six innings. He allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out four. But it was the eighth start in a row that Moehler failed to make it to the seventh inning.
Moehler fell apart in the fifth, giving up four hits and two runs. An RBI double by Ramon Vazquez got the Pirates on the board and three batters later, Andy LaRoche‘s single drove in Vazquez to tie the game.
NOTES: Astros left-hander Mike Hampton has scheduled his left shoulder surgery for Tuesday in New York City. Hampton, who was placed on the disabled list Aug. 14 and decided Aug. 30 to have the season-ending surgery, has a partial thickness tear of his left rotator cuff. … Matsui’s stolen base in the fourth inning was the 100th of his major league career. … Jeff Keppinger started at third after missing seven straight games with lower back discomfort. … In Ohlendorf’s 11 wins, the Pirates have scored 75 runs but have only scored 11 in his 10 losses, three of them shutouts Matt Capps has not pitched in a save situation since earning his career high 24th save Aug. 27.