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Astros win in ninth, but fail to support Clemens

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Roger Clemens was victimized by poor run support again.

The Rocket allowed two runs in seven strong innings but didn't get a decision as the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Friday night on Morgan Ensberg's run-scoring double in the ninth.

Clemens, 4-0 in seven starts since May 30, gave up eight hits, struck out four and walked one. His ERA, the best in the major leagues, rose to 1.48 from 1.41 as he settled for his eighth no-decision of the year.

The 42-year-old right-hander, selected an All-Star for the 11th time, is 7-3 in 18 starts this year, and the Astros have scored three runs or fewer in five of his no-decisions. He had lost in his only previous appearance against the Dodgers, the only major-league team he had not faced at least twice.

"The disappointing thing earlier in the year was that I'd have to answer questions like this after we'd lose," Clemens said. "But this is a whole lot nicer. I've had a number of games in my career like this. That's just part of baseball."

Still, the Astros knew Clemens had given them another good start.

"I wouldn't put this up with his best games," Houston manager Phil Garner said. "But that just shows you how really good he is. He did not have his best location, but he still found a way to keep us in the game."

Willy Taveras led off the ninth with his 41st infield single, sliding headfirst into the base to beat the throw from first baseman Hee-Seop Choi to reliever Yhency Brazoban (2-3). Craig Biggio sacrificed, and the Dodgers chose to intentionally walk Lance Berkman, who was 3-for-3.

Ensberg, thus far omitted from the NL All-Star team, then doubled to deep right center, collecting his 10th game-winning RBI this season. Ensberg was inspired by the intentional walk.

"It always does," Ensberg said. "Even though you know it's the right strategy since Lance was really hot. But that still gives you a little bit more intensity."

Brad Lidge (3-2) pitched a perfect ninth for the Astros, who have won five of six and 14 of 18.

Los Angeles has lost five of seven.

Rookie D.J. Houlton, selected by the Dodgers from Houston in the winter meeting draft, gave up two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.

"We faced one of the toughest and possibly one of the greatest pitchers in the history of the game," manager Jim Tracy said. "We sent a young pitcher out there who matched him pitch by pitch, inning by inning. D.J. did a great job. We only had one offensive opportunity and we made the best of it."

Catcher Jason Phillips agreed.

"D.J. threw a great game," Phillips said. "We just couldn't score any runs. Tonight we faced one of the all-time greats and against him you have to take advantage of every opportunity. He didn't make many mistakes but he made one to me and I couldn't hit it out.

"We knew we were going to have to struggle for runs with him pitching. You hope you can just get a couple when he makes a mistake. And we were fortunate to do that."

Jason Lane's sacrifice fly put Houston ahead in the first inning, and Clemens helped preserve the lead in the third when he fielded Oscar Robles' grounder and trapped Mike Edwards in a rundown between second and third.

Taveras started a double play in the fourth when he caught Hee-Seop Choi's fly to center and doubled up Jeff Kent at second base.

Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Robles' hit an RBI grounder and Kent had a run-scoring single, the 2,000th hit of his major league career,

Berkman's RBI triple made it 2-2 in the seventh.

Notes

  • RHP Wandy Rodriguez was optioned to Double A Corpus Christi so he could get a start during the All-Star break. Garner said the team would recall Rodriguez for his regular start in the Pittsburgh doubleheader July 19. The Astros will announce a corresponding move before Saturday's game.
  • Biggio's single in the first left him two hits short of tying Barry Bonds for 49th on the career list at 2,728.
  • It was the first triple of the season for Berkman, who says his surgically repaired right knee still bothers him.
 
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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Roger Clemens has five no-decisions in which the Astros have scored no more than three runs.  (AP)
Roger Clemens has five no-decisions in which the Astros have scored no more than three runs. (AP)

Players of the Game
Houston

W. Taveras
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
Los Angeles

M. Edwards
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Los Angeles Dodgers
Oscar Robles, SS4001001 .324
Jason Repko, CF4010013 .228
Jeff Kent, 2B4021001 .297
    Antonio Perez, 2B0000000 .314
Jason Phillips, C4000014 .246
Jayson Werth, RF-LF3000110 .257
Hee Seop Choi, 1B4010012 .232
Jason Grabowski, LF4110001 .174
    Yhency Brazoban, P0000000 .000
Mike Edwards, 3B4120020 .311
Dennis Houlton, P2010002 .300
    Duaner Sanchez, P0000000 .000
    Cody Ross, RF0000000 .167
Totals332821614 
Batting
2B - Mike Edwards (6, Clemens), Dennis Houlton (1, Clemens)
SH - Dennis Houlton (1)
RBI - Oscar Robles (7), Jeff Kent (60)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Kent (21)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Jason Grabowski (1, Misplayed grounder)
Los Angeles Dodgers
Dennis Houlton 6.2622210 5.89
Duaner Sanchez (BS,4) 1.1200120 4.13
Yhency Brazoban (L,2-3) 0.1211100 5.09
IBB - Berkman by Yhency Brazoban
HBP - Ausmus (by Dennis Houlton)
WP - Duaner Sanchez (7)
Pitches-Strikes - Dennis Houlton 101-60, Duaner Sanchez 27-15, Yhency Brazoban 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dennis Houlton 6-13, Yhency Brazoban 1-0
Batters Faced - Dennis Houlton 29, Duaner Sanchez 7, Yhency Brazoban 4
Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF5230001 .296
Craig Biggio, 2B2110100 .289
Lance Berkman, 1B3031200 .294
Morgan Ensberg, 3B4021105 .290
Jason Lane, RF3001026 .233
Adam Everett, SS4000004 .247
Chris Burke, LF4000000 .228
Brad Ausmus, C3010000 .243
Roger Clemens, P1000000 .273
   a- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1000000 .309
    Dan Wheeler, P0000000 .000
   b- Mike Lamb, PH1000011 .209
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
Totals3131034317 
a-lined out for Clemens in the 7th
b-struck out for Wheeler in the 8th
Batting
2B - Willy Taveras (10, Houlton), Morgan Ensberg (19, Brazoban)
3B - Lance Berkman (1, Sanchez)
SF - Jason Lane (3)
SH - Craig Biggio 2 (3), Roger Clemens (3)
RBI - Lance Berkman (33), Morgan Ensberg (63), Jason Lane (40)
2-OUT RBI - Lance Berkman (15)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Willy Taveras 1
DP - Taveras-Biggio, Everett-Biggio-Berkman
E - Craig Biggio (9, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
Roger Clemens 7822140 1.48
Dan Wheeler 1000010 1.64
Brad Lidge (W,3-2) 1000010 2.57
Pitches-Strikes - Roger Clemens 115-69, Dan Wheeler 12-9, Brad Lidge 19-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roger Clemens 9-7, Dan Wheeler 1-1, Brad Lidge 2-0
Batters Faced - Roger Clemens 29, Dan Wheeler 3, Brad Lidge 3
Game Information
Attendance - 36176
Game Time - 2:56
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Sam Holbrook, First Base - Randy Marsh, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Jim Wolf