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Houston at Arizona

Scoreboard
Houston (13-16)4200010007110
Arizona (20-8) «20120300x8131

In a pinch: D-Backs rely on Owings' bat to complete rally over Astros

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHOENIX -- Micah Owings isn't a good hitter for a pitcher. He's a good hitter, period.

Owings proved it again Wednesday with an opposite-field, pinch-hit home run that tied the game in the sixth and helped the Arizona Diamondbacks rally from four runs down to beat the Houston Astros 8-7.

"I've been blessed to be able to swing it," Owings said, "so every time I get in the box I do my best to help this team."

Owings, 4-0 as a starter and arguably the best-hitting pitcher in the game, hit the first pitch of the game from reliever Dave Borkowski to the right field seats, a two-run shot with two outs that tied it at 7.

Chris Young followed with a double, then scored the go-ahead run on Eric Byrnes' single.

Owings raised his season average to .421 (8-for-19). A silver-slugger winner last year when he hit .333, Owings has five home runs in 79 at bats over his two big league season.

"I don't think you've seen a guy like this," teammate Conor Jackson said. "I mean, Babe Ruth? That's really all that comes to mind. It's pretty impressive."

Comparisons with the Bambino might be a bit of a stretch, but Owings has proven to be another tough out in the prolific Diamondbacks' batting order.

"You have your bench and then you have an extra guy to pinch hit, and a guy you don't mind running up there against righties, lefties, in between," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "The way he's been swinging, it wasn't even a tough decision."

The Astros knew to be ready for Owings.

"We rarely go over a pitcher in the meeting when we talk about how to approach the opponent's hitters, but we went out of our way to discuss how we'd pitch to him," catcher Brad Ausmus said. "It was a slider that didn't break like we wanted, but give the guy credit.

"He hit it to the opposite field. You don't see a lot of opposite field homers hit by position players, let alone pitchers."

Owings limped around the bases because he sprained his right ankle Saturday stepping on second after doubling in San Diego. The last pitcher to hit a pinch-hit homer was Brooks Kieschnick on April 22, 2004, for Milwaukee against Arizona.

Arizona (20-8) became the season's first 20-game winner, with a franchise-record 19 of them in April. Arizona won its eighth series out the last nine. The exception was a split of a two-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Diamondbacks' lone series loss came in the season opening games at Cincinnati.

The Astros led 6-2 after two innings against Randy Johnson. Houston scored four in the first, three on Carlos Lee's sixth home run of the season.

Astros manager Cecil Cooper called it "by far, by far" the worst loss of the season.

"I mean, we can't even get the stinkin' pitcher out, we're in trouble," he said. "My goodness, a two-run lead and we can't even get out of the stinkin' inning. That's unacceptable, and it won't happen again."

Johnson, in his fourth start of the season after rehabilitating from his second back surgery in two years, allowed six runs on nine hits in four innings. He struck out two. Brandon Medders (1-0) gave up an unearned run in two innings to get the victory.

Chad Qualls, Tony Pena and Brandon Lyon each threw a scoreless inning to wrap up the victory. Lyon earned his ninth save in 11 tries.

Lyon gave up a single to Kazuo Matsui and a one-out walk to Lance Berkman, but Lee and Jose Cruz Jr. flew out to center to end the game.

Arizona's comeback started with Jackson's solo home run off starter Shawn Chacon to cut it to 6-3 in the third. The Diamondbacks scored two in the fourth to cut it to 6-5, including an RBI double by pinch-hitter Jeff Salazar.

Chacon, in his shortest outing of the season, allowed five runs on seven hits. He struck out seven and walked one.

Houston made it 7-5 in the sixth when Medders walked pinch-hitter Darin Erstad. Erstad took third when shortstop Stephen Drew muffed Hunter Pence's grounder. Pence scored on Matsui's sacrifice fly.

Drew started the Diamondbacks' three-run sixth with a double to left-center. After two outs, manager Bob Melvin sent Owings to the plate, and Borkowski came on in relief.

Notes

  • Max Scherzer, who retired all 13 batters he faced -- striking out seven -- in his major league debut on Tuesday, will start Monday at Philadelphia.
  • Houston has lost seven of eight at Arizona.
  • Chacon, who entered the game with a 2.45 ERA, has no decisions in six starts.
 
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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The Astros wear down pitcher Randy Johnson, who yields six runs and nine hits through four innings.  (AP)
The Astros wear down pitcher Randy Johnson, who yields six runs and nine hits through four innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
Arizona

M. Montero
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
Houston

B. Ausmus
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Houston Astros
Hunter Pence, RF5121011 .250
    Tim Byrdak, P0000000 .500
    Doug Brocail, P0000000 .000
Kazuo Matsui, 2B3011011 .260
Miguel Tejada, SS5120012 .345
Lance Berkman, 1B4112100 .297
Carlos Lee, LF4113104 .262
Jose Cruz Jr., CF-RF5000003 .063
Mark Loretta, 3B4000001 .216
    J.R. Towles, C0000000 .197
Brad Ausmus, C4130010 .172
    Michael Bourn, PR-CF0000000 .200
Shawn Chacon, P2110011 .167
   a- Darin Erstad, PH0100100 .302
    Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
    Dave Borkowski, P0000000 .000
    Geoff Geary, P0000000 .000
   b- Geoff Blum, PH-3B1000001 .205
Totals37711735  
a-walked for Chacon in the 6th
b-flied out for Geary in the 8th
Batting
2B - Brad Ausmus 2 (3, R. Johnson, R. Johnson)
HR - Carlos Lee (6, R. Johnson)
SF - Kazuo Matsui (1)
SH - Kazuo Matsui (1)
RBI - Hunter Pence (10), Kazuo Matsui (8), Lance Berkman 2 (25), Carlos Lee 3 (16)
SB - Kazuo Matsui (3, 2nd base off Lyon/Snyder)
Team LOB - 8
Houston Astros
Shawn Chacon 5755171 3.32
Wesley Wright (H,2) 0.2111010 4.00
Dave Borkowski (L,0-2) 0.1322011 4.26
Geoff Geary 1100020 2.45
Tim Byrdak0100000 0.00
Doug Brocail 1000000 2.87
Pitches-Strikes - Shawn Chacon 96-61, Wesley Wright 12-7, Dave Borkowski 10-7, Geoff Geary 9-8, Tim Byrdak 3-2, Doug Brocail 3-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Shawn Chacon 4-4, Doug Brocail 1-2
Batters Faced - Shawn Chacon 23, Wesley Wright 3, Dave Borkowski 4, Geoff Geary 4, Tim Byrdak 1, Doug Brocail 3
Arizona Diamondbacks
Chris Young, CF5221012 .227
Eric Byrnes, LF5011022 .267
Orlando Hudson, 2B4111021 .270
Conor Jackson, 1B4121011 .348
Justin Upton, RF4011021 .327
Stephen Drew, SS4110002 .258
Chris Burke, 3B3100122 .128
    Brandon Lyon, P0000000 .000
Miguel Montero, C4130001 .438
    Augie Ojeda, PR-3B0000000 .294
Randy Johnson, P1000011 .200
   a- Jeff Salazar, PH1011000 .333
    Brandon Medders, P0000000 .000
   b- Micah Owings, PH1112000 .421
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
    Tony Pena, P0000000 .000
   c- Chris Snyder, PH-C1000001 .206
Totals378138111  
a-doubled for R. Johnson in the 4th
b-homered for Medders in the 6th
c-popped out-bunting for Pena in the 8th
Batting
2B - Chris Young (7, Borkowski), Orlando Hudson (6, Chacon), Justin Upton (6, Chacon), Stephen Drew (9, Wright), Miguel Montero (2, Byrdak), Jeff Salazar (2, Chacon)
HR - Conor Jackson (5, Chacon), Micah Owings (1, Borkowski)
RBI - Chris Young (14), Eric Byrnes (15), Orlando Hudson (17), Conor Jackson (25), Justin Upton (15), Jeff Salazar (7), Micah Owings 2 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Eric Byrnes (7), Conor Jackson (11), Justin Upton (3), Micah Owings 2 (3)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Stephen Drew (2, Misplayed grounder)
Arizona Diamondbacks
Randy Johnson 4966021 4.79
Brandon Medders (W,1-0) 2010210 2.45
Chad Qualls (H,9) 1000000 0.00
Tony Pena (H,7) 1100010 5.11
Brandon Lyon (S,9) 1100110 2.57
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Johnson 73-47, Brandon Medders 37-22, Chad Qualls 8-4, Tony Pena 9-8, Brandon Lyon 24-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Johnson 4-6, Brandon Medders 4-2, Chad Qualls 3-0
Batters Faced - Randy Johnson 21, Brandon Medders 9, Chad Qualls 3, Tony Pena 4, Brandon Lyon 5
Game Information
Attendance - 21519
Game Time - 3:03
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Wally Bell, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Paul Schrieber, Third Base - Laz Diaz