Toronto at Houston

W: B. Lidge (2-2) L: S. Schoeneweis (2-2)
HR: TOR - A. Rios (4)   HOU - M. Ensberg (14)

Ensberg's three-run blast pushes Astros past Blue Jays

CBS wire reports

HOUSTON -- For once, the Houston Astros had to save one for Brad Lidge.

Morgan Ensberg hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning Saturday night, leading the Astros over the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 for their fourth straight victory.

Lidge blew only his third save of the season and wasted another strong start by Roger Clemens, but Ensberg's 14th homer gave the Astros 10 wins in 15 games, as well as their first four-game winning streak since the first week of the season.

"It's OK, we saved him tonight, but he's going to save us a lot more times than we've save him," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "He probably wasn't as sharp as he has been. His fastball was a little up and they got on him quickly."

After wasting a two-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, the Astros got it back in the bottom half.

Chris Burke hit a one-out single and stole second. After Scott Schoeneweis (2-2) intentionally walked Craig Biggio, Miguel Batista came in and got Lance Berkman on a fly to center field before Ensberg's homer on a 3-0 pitch.

"Phil (Garner) has talked to me so much about 3-0," Ensberg said. "The credit goes to him. He talked to me so much about how I can hurt a team at 3-0 with a green light. That was a pitch where the swing worked with where the pitch was. It was a function of the ball being in the right place."

Clemens allowed three hits in seven innings, and the Astros took a 3-1 lead to the ninth. But Lidge's first blown save since May 24, cost Clemens his 333rd victory.

" I definitely made some bad pitches," Lidge said. "I didn't feel good about what I did, but I feel good about how the team came back. I was definitely giving Morgan a hug for saving me."

Shea Hillenbrand started Toronto's rally off Lidge (2-2) with a double to center. Eric Hinske singled him home, and after a sacrifice by Ken Huckaby, Alex Rios got his second RBI of the game with a single to left.

"We got to one of the best closers in the league and then we gave it away to them in the ninth, it was a tough loss," Huckaby said. "It was a cutter. You've got to tip your hat to Ensberg because he went down and got it and drove it. That's just like you're supposed to do."

At least Clemens reached a strikeout milestone.

Clemens finished with seven strikeouts and joined Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers to surpass 4,400 career strikeouts. Clemens now has 4,404, while Ryan is the all-time strikeout leader with 5,714.

Rios hit his fourth homer to start the fifth for the Blue Jays.

Facing the team he won Cy Young awards with in 1997 and '98, Clemens started the game with a strikeout, walk and single by Vernon Wells before he retired the next nine batters.

Clemens got the first two batters in the sixth and then walked Hillenbrand and Hinske. He got Gregg Zaun swinging at a 95-mph fastball to end the inning and then Zaun was ejected by home plate umpire Ted Barrett when the two got into a heated exchange.

"For him to give up a couple of runs like that, obviously, we're not used to that," Adam Everett said of Lidge. "The way they got four hits off him. That's uncharted territory for him. But when we can pick him up like that that's big for a ballclub."

Gustavo Chacin made his first start against the Astros and quickly got into trouble. Willy Taveras hit his first pitch just out of reach of diving right fielder Rios for a triple. Chris Burke followed with a shot near the same spot for a sacrifice fly.

A two-out double by Everett gave Houston another run in the fourth. Chacin intentionally walked Brad Ausmus to load the bases and then got Clemens to fly out on a full-count fastball to end the inning with a 2-0 deficit.

Lance Berkman hit an RBI single in the seventh.

Chacin pitched six innings, allowing seven hits and two earned runs.


  • Clemens had a 41-13 record and 2.33 ERA in his two years with Toronto.
  • The Astros have agreed to terms with 15 of their picks in the first-year player draft, including their second-round selection, catcher Ralph Henriquez of Key West, Fla.
  • The Blue Jays are 7-6 when Chacin starts. Chacin has allowed four homers this season, fewest among Toronto starters.
Copyright 2017 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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Roger Clemens allows just three hits, but Brad Lidge's blown save spoils his bid for his 333rd win. (AP)
Roger Clemens allows just three hits, but Brad Lidge's blown save spoils his bid for his 333rd win. (AP)

Players of the Game

A. Everett
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0

M. Ensberg
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1

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February 24, 2017
2017 AL East Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (3:22)
Toronto Blue Jays
Orlando Hudson, 2B5000022 .245
Frank Catalanotto, LF2000120 .314
   a- Reed Johnson, PH-LF1000010 .287
Vernon Wells, CF3010100 .253
Shea Hillenbrand, 3B3120101 .308
Eric Hinske, 1B3111100 .265
Gregg Zaun, C3000014 .254
    Ken Huckaby, C0000000 .118
Alex Rios, RF4122010 .283
Russ Adams, SS4000011 .231
Gustavo Chacin, P2000000 .000
   b- Frank Menechino, PH1000010 .182
    Vinnie Chulk, P0000000 .000
    Jason Frasor, P0000000 .000
   c- Aaron Hill, PH1010000 .352
    Scott Schoeneweis, P0000000 .000
    Miguel Batista, P0000000 .000
a-struck out for Catalanotto in the 8th
b-struck out for Chacin in the 7th
c-singled for Frasor in the 9th
2B - Shea Hillenbrand (11, Lidge)
HR - Alex Rios (4, Clemens)
SH - Ken Huckaby (3)
RBI - Eric Hinske (27), Alex Rios 2 (27)
Team LOB - 7
Toronto Blue Jays
Gustavo Chacin 6722250 3.04
Vinnie Chulk 1311010 3.72
Jason Frasor 1100000 3.24
Scott Schoeneweis (L,2-2) 0.1122100 6.63
Miguel Batista 0.1111001 2.10
IBB - Ausmus by Gustavo Chacin, Biggio by Scott Schoeneweis
Pitches-Strikes - Gustavo Chacin 100-59, Vinnie Chulk 14-11, Jason Frasor 11-7, Scott Schoeneweis 8-2, Miguel Batista 8-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gustavo Chacin 4-8, Jason Frasor 1-2, Scott Schoeneweis 1-0
Batters Faced - Gustavo Chacin 26, Vinnie Chulk 6, Jason Frasor 4, Scott Schoeneweis 3, Miguel Batista 2
Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF5130001 .288
Chris Burke, LF4111024 .207
Craig Biggio, 2B4210113 .276
Lance Berkman, 1B4011113 .252
Morgan Ensberg, 3B5113024 .283
Jason Lane, RF4000001 .232
Adam Everett, SS4031000 .249
Brad Ausmus, C3010102 .228
Roger Clemens, P2010003 .280
   a- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1110000 .309
    John Franco, P0000000 .000
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
   b- Mike Lamb, PH1000001 .199
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
a-doubled for Clemens in the 7th
b-grounded out for Springer in the 8th
2B - Adam Everett (16, Chacin), Orlando Palmeiro (5, Chulk)
3B - Willy Taveras (3, Chacin)
HR - Morgan Ensberg (14, Batista)
SF - Chris Burke (2)
RBI - Chris Burke (6), Lance Berkman (13), Morgan Ensberg 3 (36), Adam Everett (23)
2-OUT RBI - Lance Berkman (6), Morgan Ensberg 3 (17), Adam Everett (10)
SB - Chris Burke (2, 2nd base off Schoeneweis/Huckaby)
CS - Adam Everett (5, 2nd base by Chacin/Zaun)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Everett-Biggio-Berkman
PB - Brad Ausmus (2)
Houston Astros
Roger Clemens 7311471 1.64
John Franco (H,5) 0.1000000 6.00
Russ Springer (H,6) 0.2000010 6.75
Brad Lidge (BS,3; W,2-2) 1422010 3.10
Pitches-Strikes - Roger Clemens 104-66, John Franco 1-1, Russ Springer 13-8, Brad Lidge 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roger Clemens 10-3, John Franco 1-0, Brad Lidge 1-1
Batters Faced - Roger Clemens 27, John Franco 1, Russ Springer 2, Brad Lidge 7
Game Information
Attendance - 34925
Game Time - 2:58
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Ted Barrett, First Base - Alfonso Marquez, Second Base - Rick Reed, Third Base - Terry Craft