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Chicago at Houston

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Chi. Cubs010100000260
Houston «20002300x770

Clemens wins first game since return, Astros drop Cubs

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Roger Clemens finally got some run support and won for the first time in his latest comeback.

"All in all, it was a good game," Clemens said. "The guys hit the ball, and that was a lot of fun to see."

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner allowed two runs and four hits and struck out five in five innings Monday night, leading the Houston Astros to a 7-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.

The 43-year-old earned his 342nd career victory, his first since beating the Cubs 3-1 in the second-to-last game of the 2005 regular season.

Lance Berkman homered twice and Preston Wilson had an RBI double as the Astros scored more than three runs for just the 13th time in Clemens' 35 starts since the beginning of last season.

The Astros still can't pinpoint why they struggle to score when Clemens pitches.

"It's not like we're trying to get shut out," Berkman said. "I guarantee you, if you take a poll of all the players in here, we don't care who's on the mound. We want to score runs every night."

Clemens (1-2) was hardly perfect -- he walked three, threw a wild pitch and gave up a home run to Jacque Jones -- but he still allowed two runs or fewer for the 19th time in his last 23 starts. He left after throwing 115 pitches.

"I know I'm on the fast track," Clemens said, "but I still expect certain results. I think that's the hardest thing I've got going right now."

The Astros failed to score in the 11 1/3 innings Clemens had pitched in his two starts since re-signing with the team on May 31. Houston was shut out nine times in 2005 when Clemens started.

Craig Biggio ended the threat of another blanking in his first at-bat, driving the first pitch from Cubs rookie Carlos Marmol (1-3) into the seats in left. It was Biggio's 48th leadoff homer, which trails only Rickey Henderson (80) on the all-time list. Berkman added a solo homer in the first.

"It's always nice to get a good start like that for someone we have had trouble scoring runs for," Biggio said. "It's hard to explain. It's not from lack of trying. It's just part of the game."

Clemens made his first mistake in the second inning, when Jones pounded a 2-0 fastball just inside the foul pole in right in the second.

Jones walked in the fourth after battling Clemens for nine pitches. He stole second and went to third when Clemens threw a wild pitch, a split-fingered fastball that skidded past Astros catcher Brad Ausmus.

Clemens walked Michael Barrett before Angel Pagan singled to center to tie it at two.

After a visit at the mound from pitching coach Jim Hickey, Ronny Cedeno grounded out on Clemens' 37th pitch of the inning. Clemens had a similarly exhausting 38-pitch inning in his first start, a 4-2 loss to Minnesota and rookie ace Francisco Liriano on June 22.

"He scuffled a little bit, but he got through it," said bench coach Cecil Cooper, who managed the team while Phil Garner served a one-game suspension.

Juan Pierre tripled off Clemens with one out in the fifth when Willy Taveras couldn't make a diving catch in right-center. Clemens got out of the inning when Aramis Ramirez grounded out, but he shook his head in frustration as he walked back to the dugout.

The Cubs sensed Clemens didn't have his top form.

"He was good, but he wasn't Roger," manager Dusty Baker said. "I can't ever recall him throwing over 100 pitches in five innings. So he was not as sharp, but he made the pitches when he needed them."

For a change, the Astros' bats bailed him out.

With one out in the fifth, Mike Lamb doubled and Berkman was intentionally walked. Wilson then smacked a double to left, scoring Lamb.

After Morgan Ensberg walked, Baker replaced Marmol with Roberto Novoa.

Ausmus then grounded to Todd Walker to start what looked like an inning-ending double play, but Cedeno's foot missed second base as he threw the relay to get Ausmus. Berkman scored on the play and Baker argued with umpire Mark Wegner. Replays showed that Cedeno's foot missed the bag by several inches.

Biggio singled and Taveras was hit by a pitch in the sixth. Baker then brought in Will Ohman and Berkman blasted his fifth pitch into the seats in left.

"You never really want to mess with Berkman," Baker said. "He's one of the most dangerous men in this league."

Berkman, the only Astro on next week's NL All-Star roster, homered twice in the same game for the third time this season and the 17th time in his career. He has 24 homers for the season.

Berkman also homered from both sides of the plate in the same game for the second time this season. He also did it in San Francisco.

Notes

  • Pierre leads the Cubs with six triples.
  • Ten of Jones' 15 homers this season are solo shots.
  • Clemens is tied for eighth on the all-time victories list with Tim Keefe.
  • Biggio's sixth-inning single was his 2,876th hit, tying him with Mel Ott for 36th on the all-time list.
  • Ausmus is in an 0-for-36 slump, the longest streak by a non-pitcher in Astros history.
 
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 allows two runs and four hits while striking out five in five innings for the win.  (AP)
Roger Clemens allows two runs and four hits while striking out five in five innings for the win. (AP)

Players of the Game
Houston

L. Berkman
AB 3
R 3
H 2
HR 2
RBI 4
Chicago

J. Pierre
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF4030000
Todd Walker, 2B4000003
Derrek Lee, 1B3000120
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4010002
Jacque Jones, RF3211100
Michael Barrett, C3000111
Angel Pagan, LF3011010
    Will Ohman, P0000000
    Scott Williamson, P0000000
   a- John Mabry, PH0000100
Ronny Cedeno, SS4000023
Carlos Marmol, P2000010
    Roberto Novoa, P0000000
    Matt Murton, LF2000010
Totals32262489 
a-walked for Williamson in the 9th
Batting
2B - Juan Pierre (, Clemens)
3B - Juan Pierre (, Clemens)
HR - Jacque Jones (, Clemens)
RBI - Jacque Jones (), Angel Pagan ()
2-OUT RBI - Angel Pagan ()
SB - Jacque Jones (, 2nd base off Clemens/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Cedeno-Walker-Lee
Chicago Cubs
Carlos Marmol (L,-) 4.1544712
Roberto Novoa 1122010
Will Ohman 1.2111001
Scott Williamson 1000000
IBB - Everett by Carlos Marmol, by Berkman
HBP - Taveras (by Roberto Novoa)
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Marmol 90-45, Roberto Novoa 20-13, Will Ohman 22-13, Scott Williamson 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Marmol 6-5, Roberto Novoa 1-1, Will Ohman 2-3, Scott Williamson 2-1
Batters Faced - Carlos Marmol 24, Roberto Novoa 5, Will Ohman 6, Scott Williamson 3
Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B5221005
    Eric Bruntlett, 2B0000000
Willy Taveras, CF4100000
Mike Lamb, 1B4110002
Lance Berkman, RF3324100
Preston Wilson, LF4021010
Morgan Ensberg, 3B1000300
Brad Ausmus, C3001101
Adam Everett, SS3000114
Roger Clemens, P0000100
    Russ Springer, P0000000
   a- Chris Burke, PH1000000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000
    Fernando Nieve, P1000000
Totals297777212 
a-flied out for Springer in the 6th
Batting
2B - Mike Lamb (, Marmol), Preston Wilson 2 (, Marmol, Marmol)
HR - Craig Biggio (, Marmol), Lance Berkman 2 (, Marmol, Ohman)
SH - Roger Clemens ()
RBI - Craig Biggio (), Lance Berkman 4 (), Preston Wilson (), Brad Ausmus ()
2-OUT RBI - Lance Berkman 4 ()
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Ensberg-Bruntlett-Lamb
Houston Astros
Roger Clemens (W,-) 5422351
Russ Springer (H,) 1000000
Chad Qualls 1100010
Fernando Nieve 2100120
WP - Roger Clemens ()
Pitches-Strikes - Roger Clemens 115-68, Russ Springer 10-8, Chad Qualls 13-8, Fernando Nieve 29-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roger Clemens 5-5, Russ Springer 1-2, Chad Qualls 2-0, Fernando Nieve 3-0
Batters Faced - Roger Clemens 22, Russ Springer 3, Chad Qualls 4, Fernando Nieve 7
Game Information
Attendance - 41655
Game Time - 2:53
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Ed Montague, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Mark Wegner, Third Base - Marvin Hudson