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Buchette's Heroics Spoil Astros Party


In a span of two days, Dante Bichette went from possibly the worst game of his career to highlight-reel euphoria.

Bichette, atoning for his failures in clutch-hitting situations in recent games, hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth, lifting the Colorado Rockies over the Houston Astros 7-5 Sunday.

Bichette's blast off Doug Henry (3-2) helped the Rockies maintain their home mastery over the Astros, who are 6-21 in Denver.

In Friday's 7-6 loss to Houston, Bichette came to bat with the bases loaded in the eighth and ninth innings, popping out in the eighth and grounding into a game-ending fielder's choice in the ninth.

"That might have been the most difficult game I have ever played," Bichette said. "Two games later, I have one of my most exciting games, probably ranking in my top three or four, personally. "

" That's what's great about this game . You get a chance to redeem yourself. You can go from goat to hero in your next game or your next at-bat, and I guess I showed that."

On a 1-0 count, Bichette said he hit a fastball "a little bit up and out of the zone. He might have tried to waste that pitch."

Astros manager Larry Dierker confirmed that.

"Doug wasn't trying to throw Bichette a strike," Dierker said. "He was trying to pitch around the strike zone and get him to chase. He just made a mistake."

Henry said he "got a little more of the plate than I wanted. It was stupid to do more than I needed to. You never give Bichette a pitch like that."

Chuck McElroy (1-1) pitched a perfect eighth and ninth to earn the win.

Pinch-hitter Jason Bates led off the ninth with a single. Pinch-runner Curtis Goodwin stole second, thanks to catcher Brad Ausmus' high throw, and was sacrificed to third by Neifi Perez.

Ellis Burks popped out, but Bichette, who was 0-for-3 with the bases loaded in the previous three games, hit a 410-foot homer into the bullpen in right-center.

Moises Alou homered twice and drove in four runs for the Astros. Vinny Castilla had a two-run homer and three RBIs for Colorado.

Although the Rockies still have the worst home record (8-16) in the NL, they have won four of their last five games at Coors Field.

"We have a long road to get back in this race," Bichette said, "but we're getting pitching, we're playing some defense and now we're starting to hit. We're stating to win some games Rockies-style."

The Rockies struck for four runs in the first off Jose Lima. Perez walked, was sacrificed to second and scored on Larry Walker's two-out, broken-bat single to center. Castilla then hit Lima's first pitch into the left-field stands for his 19th homer, and Todd Helton followed with a solo shot to right-center, his seventh.

After squandering a leadoff double in the second, the Rockies converted in the third when Bichette opened with a double, advanced on a groundout and scored on Castilla's slow grounder to short for a 5-1 lead.

Houston got a run in the second off Bobby Jones on Craig Biggio's RBI double into the right-field corner. Alou hit a solo homer, his 10th, in the fifth.

Jones nursed a 5-2 lead into the seventh, when the Astros tied it on Alou's three-run homer off Dave Veres.

Biggio led off the inning with a walk and went to third on Derek Bell's broken-bat single, chasing Jones. Veres retired Jeff Bagwell on a popup, but Alou launched a 426-foot homer to center.

Lima departed with two outs in the seventh after taking a line drive off his right leg, leaving two runners on base. C.J. Nitkowski then retired Walker on a groundout.

Notes

  • Jones' start was only the 62nd by a left-handed pitcher in the Rockies' 802-game history.
  • When the Astros failed to score in the first, it broke a string of seven straight games at Coors Field in which Colorado's opponent had scored in the first inning.
  • Lima hasn't won in his last four starts, his last victory coming on May 10.
  • Walker made a sliding catch to rob Biggio in short right-center in the ninth.

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