Rodriguez allowed one run and five hits over six innings to pick up his career-best third straight win, and Morgan Ensberg homered in his franchise-record sixth straight game in Houston's 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
In the first inning, Rodriguez was confronted at the mound by plate umpire Rick Reed after he called a ball. Reed said he didn't like reactions he was getting from the pitcher. The incident led to Houston manager Phil Garner's ejection.
"The umpire was a little uncomfortable with me," Rodriguez said through a translator. "I just didn't pay attention to it. The pitch was inside and I thought it was a good pitch. My only reaction was 'Wow!' and he came running at and said, 'Don't do that again."'
Reed said Rodriguez shaking his head at some of the calls led to his action.
"In baseball, players don't like being shown up and umpires are professionals and we don't like to be shown up either," Reed said. "When he did it the second time I felt that he should be told in no uncertain terms it wasn't going to be tolerated."
Garner didn't have much to say about being ejected.
"I disagreed with the action," he said. "He obviously disagreed with my disagreeing."
Rodriguez (3-0) shook off the incident and didn't allow a run until Jason Bay homer with two outs in the sixth inning.
The 27-year-old pitcher, who made the opening day roster for the first time this season, said he is becoming increasingly self-assured.
"I've had really good location with my pitches," he said. "This year I feel so much more confident. I don't know if it's because I have a little experience under my belt, but when I get out there I feel really good."
Ensberg hit a two-run homer in the first, his seventh homer in the last six games and eighth of the season. He's hitting .411.
Ensberg blew off breaking the home run record and instead focused on the team's accomplishments.
"Doesn't mean anything to me," he said. "What I thought was really awesome was for us to get out in front and hold on to the lead...it was just nice to get it a lead and protect it."
Houston second baseman Craig Biggio's single to left field in the seventh inning put him in 42nd place on the career hits chart, ahead of George Sisler, with 2,813 hits. Biggio was 3-for-4 on Friday.
Duke, who is from Clifton, Texas, allowed five hits and three runs while striking out four in six innings.
"Duke did a fine job," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "It was a quality start and he gave an opportunity for the club to win. I don't know how much more you can ask."
Astros fans are getting restless at the hitting slump of Preston Wilson. When Wilson struck out in the fourth inning, for his 13th strikeout in 16 at-bats, scores of fans responded with loud boos.
|Brad Lidge is pumped after pitching his way out of a jam and securing his sixth save. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Nate McLouth, CF||4||0||2||0||0||0||2||.290|
|Jack Wilson, SS||3||1||1||0||1||0||2||.333|
|Jason Bay, LF||3||1||1||1||1||1||1||.316|
|Craig Wilson, 1B||4||0||2||1||0||2||1||.333|
|Chris Duffy, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.193|
|Joe Randa, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||1||3||.245|
|Jeromy Burnitz, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.232|
|Jose Castillo, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.286|
|Ronny Paulino, C||2||0||2||0||1||0||0||.375|
|Zach Duke, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.167|
|Matt Capps, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Freddy Sanchez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.314|
|Damaso Marte, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-hit into fielder's choice for Capps in the 8th|
|HR - Jason Bay (4, Rodriguez)|
|SH - Zach Duke (1)|
|RBI - Jason Bay (9), Craig Wilson (13)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jason Bay (2)|
|CS - Jack Wilson (1, 2nd base by Rodriguez/Munson)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - C. Wilson, J. Wilson-Castillo-C. Wilson, Castillo-J. Wilson-C. Wilson, Castillo-J. Wilson-C. Wilson|
|E - Jack Wilson (5, misplayed grounder)|
|Zach Duke (L,1-2)||6||5||3||3||4||5||2||4.50|
|HBP - Munson (by Zach Duke)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 107-62, Matt Capps 9-7, Damaso Marte 18-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 7-5, Matt Capps 1-0, Damaso Marte 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Zach Duke 27, Matt Capps 3, Damaso Marte 3|
|Craig Biggio, 2B||4||0||3||0||0||0||0||.300|
|Willy Taveras, CF||4||0||1||0||0||2||2||.284|
|Lance Berkman, 1B||3||1||0||0||1||0||1||.344|
|Morgan Ensberg, 3B||3||1||1||2||1||0||1||.411|
|Preston Wilson, LF||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.226|
|Jason Lane, RF||4||1||1||1||0||2||0||.196|
|Eric Munson, C||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||.125|
|Brad Ausmus, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.333|
|Adam Everett, SS||1||0||0||0||2||0||0||.315|
|Wandy Rodriguez, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||3||.125|
|a- Chris Burke, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.313|
|Chad Qualls, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Dan Wheeler, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brad Lidge, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Rodriguez in the 6th|
|2B - Craig Biggio (6, Duke)|
|HR - Morgan Ensberg (8, Duke), Jason Lane (4, Duke)|
|RBI - Morgan Ensberg 2 (16), Jason Lane (8)|
|2-OUT RBI - Morgan Ensberg 2 (11), Jason Lane (3)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Biggio-Everett-Berkman, Everett-Biggio-Berkman, Everett-Berkman, Biggio-Everett-Berkman|
|PB - Eric Munson (2)|
|Wandy Rodriguez (W,3-0)||6||5||1||1||2||4||1||2.52|
|Chad Qualls (H,2)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||8.38|
|Dan Wheeler (H,4)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||3.38|
|Brad Lidge (S,6)||1||2||1||1||1||2||0||3.72|
|Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 91-55, Chad Qualls 6-5, Dan Wheeler 8-6, Brad Lidge 25-16|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 6-5, Chad Qualls 2-0, Dan Wheeler 2-0, Brad Lidge 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 22, Chad Qualls 3, Dan Wheeler 3, Brad Lidge 6|
|Attendance - 31333|
|Game Time - 2:30|
|Temperature - 81|
|Umpires - Home - Rick Reed, First Base - Tim Tschida, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Laz Diaz|