Colorado at Houston

W: B. Lyon (3-1) L: E. Rogers (0-2)
HR: COL - C. Barmes (2)   HOU - C. Lee (5)

Astros 7, Rockies 3 wire reports

HOUSTON -- Jeff Keppinger's production helped convince the Houston Astros they no longer needed Kaz Matsui.

Cory Sullivan hit a go-ahead single in the eighth inning, Keppinger drove in a career-high four runs and the Astros snapped a five-game losing streak with a 7-3 victory against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.

After the game, the Astros waived the struggling Matsui, who was batting .141 this season and was hitless in his last 20 at-bats. The 34-year-old Matsui was in the last season of a three-year, $16.5 million contract he signed in December 2007.

Keppinger came in hitting .270 for the season and .353 on the road, third-best in the NL. General manager Ed Wade said he'll take over the full-time duties at second base.

"Keppinger's performance from the very first day of the season has been very solid and gives us comfort at the position," Wade said.

Keppinger, who has played for four teams in a little more than three full seasons, is eager to embrace his opportunity and wants to hang on to his No. 2 spot in the batting order.

"That's why I'm here," he said. "I've always looked at myself as being a second baseman, and I've strived to be a starter. I don't know if they have named a starter, but if they keep running me out there and batting me in the 2-hole, that's fine with me."

Sullivan broke a 3-3 tie with a two-out single off Esmil Rogers (0-2), scoring Tommy Manzella, who reached on Colorado's second error. Michael Bourn was intentionally walked to load the bases and Keppinger capped his big night with a three-run double to left.

"It was nice," Keppinger said. "I got the big hit there late in the game with two outs and gave us a little cushion going into the last inning. That's what we have been missing all year."

The Rockies have lost four consecutive road games.

"When you're scratching and clawing for every single run you can get," manager Jim Tracy said, "mistakes that get made become maximized big time, and we were witnesses to something exactly like that."

Brandon Lyon (3-1) pitched a scoreless eighth and Matt Lindstrom finished for the Astros, whose 13 hits tied a season high. Houston salvaged a strong start from Felipe Paulino, who allowed two hits and struck out four in six innings.

Paulino also walked five, including two of the first three hitters he faced. Troy Tulowitzki's single in the first inning scored Dexter Fowler to make it 1-0.

The Astros immediately answered off Colorado starter Greg Smith, with Bourn leading off with a single and Keppinger driving him in with a double.

Houston loaded the bases with one out in the second inning, and Pedro Feliz scored on Bourn's groundout for a 2-1 lead. Hunter Pence beat out an infield hit in the third to load the bases again with one out, but Smith fanned Feliz and got Manzella to fly out.

Paulino retired seven in a row, but then began struggling with his command again in the fourth, giving up a single to Brad Hawpe and back-to-back one-out walks to Todd Helton and Miguel Olivo. Hawpe scored to make it 2-2 when Melvin Mora bounced into a fielder's choice.

Carlos Lee lined a 2-0 pitch into the left-field porch in the fifth inning, his fifth home run of the season and second in two games. Lee came into the game with only five hits in 26 at-bats against left-handed pitchers.

Paulino looked sharp again in the sixth, striking out Hawpe and Olivo. Left-hander Joe Beimel relieved Smith for the Astros' half of the sixth, and Jason Michaels pinch-hit for Paulino, who threw 100 pitches.

Chris Sampson replaced Paulino for the seventh, and Clint Barmes hit a solo home run to left to tie it at 3.

Barmes, playing second base, bobbled Manzella's two-out grounder off Rogers in the eighth and pinch-hitter Geoff Blum drew a walk.

"I make that play most of the time, if not all of the time," Barmes said, "and I missed it."

Sullivan then singled and Manzella sprinted home and slid in head first, just beating the throw from left fielder Seth Smith. The ball skipped away from Olivo, the runners advanced and Rogers intentionally walked Bourn to load the bases.

Keppinger followed with a three-run double to the left-field corner, giving Houston its highest run total since a 9-6 victory in St. Louis last Wednesday.


Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez went 0 for 5, which snapped a 12-game hitting streak. ... The Astros improved to 13-3 when scoring four runs or more. ... Fowler made his first start since May 13. ... Lee has hit all five of his home runs this month.

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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Players of the Game

J. Keppinger
AB 5
R 0
H 3
HR 0

M. Bourn
AB 4
R 2
H 1
HR 0

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February 17, 2017
NL West Preview: Colorado Rockies (2:26)
Colorado Rockies
Carlos Gonzalez, LF-CF5000022 .322
Dexter Fowler, CF3100101 .228
    Esmil Rogers, P0000000 .200
   a- Jason Giambi, PH1000001 .194
Brad Hawpe, RF3110110 .333
Troy Tulowitzki, SS4011011 .295
Todd Helton, 1B2010201 .277
Miguel Olivo, C3010111 .284
Melvin Mora, 3B4001002 .250
Clint Barmes, 2B4111012 .214
Greg Smith, P2000000 .308
    Joe Beimel, P0000000 .000
   b- Seth Smith, PH-LF1010100 .266
a-lined out for Rogers in the 9th
b-walked for Beimel in the 7th
2B - Seth Smith (4, Lindstrom)
HR - Clint Barmes (2, Sampson)
RBI - Troy Tulowitzki (16), Melvin Mora (9), Clint Barmes (16)
Team LOB - 8
E - Clint Barmes (4, Misplayed grounder), Seth Smith (2, Throwing)
Colorado Rockies
Greg Smith 51033041 6.23
Joe Beimel 1100000 0.59
Esmil Rogers (L,0-2) 2240220 5.40
IBB - Bourn by Esmil Rogers
Pitches-Strikes - Greg Smith 84-56, Joe Beimel 12-9, Esmil Rogers 41-24
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Greg Smith 7-3, Joe Beimel 2-1, Esmil Rogers 3-2
Batters Faced - Greg Smith 24, Joe Beimel 4, Esmil Rogers 11
Houston Astros
Michael Bourn, CF4211101 .291
Jeff Keppinger, 2B5034000 .283
Lance Berkman, 1B5010022 .234
Carlos Lee, LF4111003 .203
Hunter Pence, RF4020001 .255
Pedro Feliz, 3B4110024 .218
Tommy Manzella, SS4120003 .191
Kevin Cash, C2000012 .059
   a- Geoff Blum, PH0100100 .308
    Humberto Quintero, C0000000 .239
Felipe Paulino, P2010010 .385
   b- Jason Michaels, PH1000001 .182
    Chris Sampson, P0000000 .000
    Brandon Lyon, P0000000 .000
   c- Cory Sullivan, PH1111000 .216
    Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
a-walked for Cash in the 8th
b-fouled out for Paulino in the 6th
c-singled for Lyon in the 8th
2B - Jeff Keppinger 2 (11, Smith, Rogers)
HR - Carlos Lee (5, Smith)
SH - Kevin Cash (1)
RBI - Michael Bourn (5), Jeff Keppinger 4 (16), Carlos Lee (16), Cory Sullivan (4)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Keppinger 3 (13), Carlos Lee (4), Cory Sullivan (4)
PK - Tommy Manzella (1, Smith)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Feliz-Keppinger-Berkman
Houston Astros
Felipe Paulino 6222540 5.36
Chris Sampson (BS,1) 1111111 1.59
Brandon Lyon (W,3-1) 1200000 4.15
Matt Lindstrom 1100010 1.47
WP - Felipe Paulino (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Felipe Paulino 100-57, Chris Sampson 18-12, Brandon Lyon 18-12, Matt Lindstrom 9-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Felipe Paulino 8-5, Chris Sampson 2-0, Brandon Lyon 1-2, Matt Lindstrom 1-1
Batters Faced - Felipe Paulino 24, Chris Sampson 5, Brandon Lyon 5, Matt Lindstrom 4
Game Information
Attendance - 25200
Game Time - 2:46
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Tony Randazzo, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Ted Barrett