orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Sports Headlines

May 30, 2013

Martinez delivers go-ahead RBI single for Astros

DENVER — A combination of power and small ball helped the Houston Astros break open a tight game in the late innings.

J.D. Martinez hit a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning, Carlos Pena connected for a home run as part of a three-run ninth, and the Astros rallied against Colorado's bullpen to beat the Rockies 6-3 on Wednesday night.

The Astros overcame 12 strikeouts and Troy Tulowitzki's first multihomer game since 2011 in taking the opener of a two-game interleague set at Coors Field.

Leading 3-2, Houston got a boost when Pena started the ninth with his fourth homer, driving a full-count offering from Rob Scahill over the right-field wall.

Trevor Crowe followed by beating out an infield single and one out later, pinch-hitter Jimmy Parades singled to left, advancing Crowe to third. Marwin Gonzalez followed with a safety squeeze, laying down a sacrifice bunt as Crowe broke for the plate and scored.

"It was absolutely perfect," Crowe said. "I felt like the last 15 steps, I walked home because the bunt could not have been better. On a safety squeeze, you want to roll it down the first-base line and Marwin was able to do that."

Brandon Barnes singled to drive in the inning's final run for the Astros.

"That was good baseball there," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "The three runs in the ninth were huge in this ballpark. Guys did a great job. Getting the sacrifice bunt down, Trevor going first to third and Gonzo, great job with the safety squeeze and the two-out RBI was huge. A four-run lead here is really a two-run lead."

Paul Clemens (3-2) pitched 1 2-3 innings of scoreless relief.

Gonzalez led off the eighth with a single off reliever Edgmer Escalona (1-2). Jose Altuve was intentionally walked and Rex Brothers relieved Escalona. Brothers struck out Jason Castro but Martinez hit a two-out single up the middle, scoring Gonzalez to put the Astros in front by a run.

"This guy's a run producer," Porter said of Martinez. "He's one of those guys, when there are RBIs out there, he smells them. He's put together some of his best at-bats with runners in scoring position."

Colorado had runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but first baseman Pena made a diving catch of Jordan Pacheco's liner to end the threat.

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