Rodriguez fans 11 as Astros hold off Rockies

BY foxsports • May 15, 2009

Wandy Rodriguez struck out a career-high 11 and Michael Bourn became the latest player to steal home, leading the Houston Astros to a 5-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

Carlos Lee homered in the eighth inning and swiped second base in the first on the front end of a double steal with Bourn, one of baseball's fastest runners.

Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury and Philadelphia's Jayson Werth recently pulled off straight steals of home. Ellsbury took off while Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte was in the windup, while Werth darted home on a return throw to the mound by Dodgers catcher Russell Martin.

Those type of thefts are much more rare than the way Bourn did it: a double steal.

Bourn also tied a career high with four hits and finished with two stolen bases.

Rodriguez (4-2) baffled Rockies hitters all afternoon by mixing his fastball with a biting breaking ball. He struck out the side in the fifth and fanned Matt Murton three times, a hitter who's historically given him trouble.

Despite allowing just two earned runs in seven innings, the left-hander saw his ERA climb slightly to 1.90 - still among the lowest in the majors.

Chris Sampson worked a perfect eighth and LaTroy Hawkins struck out Brad Hawpe to end it for his fifth save.

The Rockies committed three errors behind starter Jason Hammel, who gave up four runs - one earned - in 5 1-3 innings. Hammel (0-2) is still searching for his first win with Colorado since being acquired from Tampa Bay on April 5.

Lee had a rather adventurous day on the base paths, swiping his first base of the season and then getting thrown out at home trying to score from first on Hunter Pence's double. Lee appeared to beat the throw but he slid into Yorvit Torrealba's left foot, allowing the Rockies catcher to tag him out.

Bourn was credited with a steal of home when Torrealba threw down to second to try to nab Lee on a double steal in the first inning. With two outs, Bourn took off from third as soon as Torrealba released the ball and scored easily.

Garrett Atkins was hitless in 25 at-bats before an RBI single in the fourth, part of a three-run inning that pulled the Rockies to 4-3. Todd Helton also had an RBI double.

The Astros took advantage of two errors by Atkins at third base to score three times in the first inning. Pence hit an RBI single with two outs.

Colorado kept shortstop Troy Tulowitzki out of the lineup as a precaution, a day after he was hit on the left elbow by a pitch from Alberto Arias.

The smooth-fielding shortstop said he should be back for Friday night's game in Pittsburgh.

Notes: Astros RHP Brandon Backe gave up eight hits and four earned runs in seven innings during a rehab start for Double-A Corpus Christi on Wednesday night. Backe has been out since March 27 with a strained ribcage muscle. ... Houston RHP Geoff Geary (right biceps tendinitis) was placed on the 15-day disabled list. The team recalled RHP Jeff Fulchino from Triple-A Round Rock. ... The Rockies finished an eight-game homestand with a 3-5 mark. ... Houston C Ivan Rodriguez had the bat fly out of his hands on a strikeout in the first inning, his lumber landing six rows up in the stands. Fans were able to scurry out of the way of the twirling bat. ... Helton has 1,997 hits.

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