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Atlanta at Houston

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Atlanta «000000000001190
Houston000000000000060

Rookie Langerhans decides pitchers' duel with 12th-inning homer

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

HOUSTON -- Tim Hudson pitched longer and better than Roger Clemens -- and it still wasn't enough. An Atlanta rookie, by way of Texas, came through in the clutch to decide this pitcher's duel.

Hudson outpitched the seven-time Cy Young award winner, and Ryan Langerhans had a pinch-hit homer in the 12th inning Monday night to lead the Braves to a 1-0 victory over the Houston Astros.

"I figured there wouldn't be much offense," Hudson said of his showdown with Clemens. "I was getting more excited as the game went on. It was a fun game to watch, if you're a baseball fan."

After Julio Franco struck out to lead off the 12th, Langerhans homered deep to right off Astros reliever Dan Wheeler (0-2) for the first run of the two-game series between last year's NL Division Series adversaries. Houston advanced to the NL Championship Series in five games.

Danny Kolb, the fourth Braves pitcher, earned his fourth save in five opportunities a night after giving up both runs in a 2-1, 10-inning loss to Philadelphia. Chris Reitsma escaped a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the 10th and Jorge Sosa (1-0) pitched a perfect 11th for the win.

The Astros have lost six of seven since starting 4-1. Houston has lost five games by one run this season, and seven of the Astros' first 12 games have been decided by a run.

"Our pitching is good," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "They can pitch with pressure but you can't ask them to come in every night and pitch 12 shutout innings."

Not surprisingly, Clemens and Hudson combined for a stirring pitchers' duel in a game between the 24th (Atlanta) and 26th-ranked (Houston) scoring offenses in the majors.

But it was Langerhans, a 25-year-old who grew up in Round Rock, Texas -- the site of Houston's Triple-A club -- who decided the game with his first career homer.

Langerhans swung at Wheeler's first pitch, sending the ball 396-feet, just over the right-field fence. The homer quickly quieted the crowd except for a smattering of Braves fans that included Langerhans' parents, grandparents, fiancee and friends.

"It was really special," Langerhans said. "I couldn't ask for it to happen in a better situation."

Hudson, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Oakland, continued his strong start with the Braves, pitching a four-hitter through nine innings for his longest start since a complete-game shutout against Baltimore on Aug. 17. He had nine strikeouts and only one walk.

"Hudson was dynamite, and so was Clemens," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "You couldn't tell the difference between them."

Indeed -- Hudson also received little offensive support. The Braves have scored just two runs in his 22 innings over three starts.

Atlanta endured a scary moment in the bottom of the fifth, though, when Morgan Ensberg's comebacker ricocheted off Hudson's right foot to Franco for the easy out. Hudson limped around for a minute or two before getting back on the mound to scattered applause.

Houston's Jason Lane singled in the next at-bat, breaking Hudson's streak of 12 consecutive outs. Hudson quickly recovered, striking out Luke Scott and Brad Ausmus to end the inning.

It was Clemens' turn to struggle in the seventh, allowing a lead-off single to Marcus Giles and a line-drive double down the left-field line to Chipper Jones.

After Andruw Jones grounded out to first, Clemens intentionally walked Johnny Estrada to load the bases. The Rocket then quickly worked himself out of the jam by striking out Franco on a 94-mph fastball and forcing Brian Jordan to ground into a forceout at second.

Walking back to the dugout, Clemens let out a yell and pumped his fist as the crowd of 31,672 burst into cheers. He was removed after Raul Mondesi singled to leadoff the eighth.

The Astros wasted another stellar performance from their 42-year-old ace: they've scored just one run in his 21 innings on the mound this season.

"It's tough when you battle so hard," said a subdued Clemens, who's ERA dropped to 0.43. "You expect something good to happen ... but it didn't work out."

The Rocket finished with five hits and eight strikeouts, increasing his career total to 4,345. He remained tied with Steve Carlton for ninth on the wins list with 329.

Notes

  • Clemens was denied another victory against the Braves, one of only two teams, along with the Los Angeles Dodgers, that he's never beat in the regular season. He's 0-2 in five career starts against Atlanta.
  • Fans gave three-time All-Star Jimmy Wynn, who played in Houston for 11 of his 15 major-league seasons, a standing ovation before the third inning. The Astros announced earlier Monday that they will retire Wynn's No. 24 jersey number during a ceremony before the July 8 game against the Dodgers.
  • Cox earned his 2,009 victory, moving him past Hall of Famer Leo Durocher for sole possession of eighth place.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Ryan Langerhans 'couldn't ask for (his first career homer) to happen in a better situation.'  (AP)
Ryan Langerhans 'couldn't ask for (his first career homer) to happen in a better situation.' (AP)

Players of the Game
Houston

R. Clemens
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 0
BB 1
K 8
Atlanta

T. Hudson
IP 9.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 1
K 9
 
Atlanta Braves
Rafael Furcal, SS5000011 .190
Marcus Giles, 2B5020021 .273
Chipper Jones, 3B4030110 .380
Andruw Jones, CF5000036 .204
Johnny Estrada, C4010113 .257
Julio Franco, 1B5000015 .316
Brian Jordan, LF4010013 .196
    Pete Orr, PR0000000 .273
    Ryan Langerhans, LF1111000 .300
Raul Mondesi, RF5010031 .222
Tim Hudson, P2000010 .143
   a- Adam LaRoche, PH1000001 .270
    Chris Reitsma, P0000000 .000
    Jorge Sosa, P0000000 .000
   b- Wilson Betemit, PH1000000 .000
    Danny Kolb, P0000000 .000
Totals4219121421 
a-grounded into a double play for Hudson in the 10th
b-flied out for Sosa in the 12th
Batting
2B - Marcus Giles (4, Wheeler), Chipper Jones 2 (6, Clemens, Lidge)
HR - Ryan Langerhans (1, Wheeler)
SH - Tim Hudson (1)
RBI - Ryan Langerhans (1)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Estrada-Giles, Giles-Furcal-Franco
Atlanta Braves
Tim Hudson 9400190 0.82
Chris Reitsma 1200100 1.29
Jorge Sosa (W,1-0) 1000020 2.25
Danny Kolb (S,4) 1000110 9.00
IBB - Scott by Chris Reitsma
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 114-77, Chris Reitsma 15-10, Jorge Sosa 18-14, Danny Kolb 22-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 10-6, Chris Reitsma 2-1, Danny Kolb 1-1
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 30, Chris Reitsma 6, Jorge Sosa 3, Danny Kolb 4
Houston Astros
Adam Everett, SS4010010 .159
Craig Biggio, 2B5000011 .326
Jeff Bagwell, 1B5000031 .244
Morgan Ensberg, 3B2000110 .308
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
   a- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1010000 .429
    Raul Chavez, C1000000 .308
Jason Lane, RF4020111 .340
Luke Scott, LF4000120 .200
Brad Ausmus, C3010011 .133
   b- Jose Vizcaino, PH-3B2000004 .400
Willy Taveras, CF4000014 .282
Roger Clemens, P2000010 .167
    Mike Lamb, 3B1010000 .231
    Eric Bruntlett, PR-3B1000003 .000
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
Totals3906031215 
a-doubled for Qualls in the 10th
b-lined out for Ausmus in the 10th
Batting
2B - Orlando Palmeiro (2, Reitsma), Mike Lamb (1, Hudson)
SH - Adam Everett (1)
SB - Jason Lane 2 (3, 2nd base off Hudson/Estrada, 2nd base off Kolb/Estrada)
CS - Adam Everett (1, 2nd base by Hudson/Estrada)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Everett-Biggio-Bagwell, Biggio-Everett-Bagwell
Houston Astros
Roger Clemens 7500180 0.43
Brad Lidge 2100030 0.00
Chad Qualls 1100010 2.08
Dan Wheeler (L,0-2) 2211121 2.70
IBB - Estrada by Roger Clemens, Jones by Dan Wheeler
Pitches-Strikes - Roger Clemens 105-64, Brad Lidge 27-19, Chad Qualls 10-6, Dan Wheeler 25-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roger Clemens 9-3, Brad Lidge 3-0, Chad Qualls 1-0, Dan Wheeler 2-2
Batters Faced - Roger Clemens 26, Brad Lidge 7, Chad Qualls 3, Dan Wheeler 9
Game Information
Attendance - 31672
Game Time - 3:35
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Mark Carlson, First Base - Brian Gorman, Second Base - Mike DiMuro, Third Base - Tom Hallion