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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 16, 2010

Astros pick up first victory, 5-1



Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Houston's Bud Norris struck out nine in five innings against St. Louis.

JEFF ROBERSON | Associated Press

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ST. LOUIS No champagne spray awaited the Houston Astros. Just an overwhelming sense of relief.

"On a scale of 1 to 10?" rookie manager Brad Mills said after the Astros beat St. Louis, 5-1, yesterday for their first win of the season, avoiding a tie for the worst start in franchise history. "It's pretty high. And that's just being truthful."

The Astros escaped their 0-8 rut behind Bud Norris' arm and bat. They were the only winless team left in the majors and came close to matching the team's 0-9 opening in 1983.

"I can't say I sensed that we were pressing," outfielder Hunter Pence said. "You can't build up emotions and get angry and play harder or something.

"You've got to control what you can control, play baseball and let it happen."

Norris (1-0) struck out a career-high nine and held the Cardinals without an earned run for five innings. He also got his first career RBI to put the Astros ahead for good in the third.

"We came out of the gate a little bit slow, that's fine," Norris said. "We're not worried about that, we've had a little bit of pressure on us, but we're over it. We know what we can do."

DODGERS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 5

Stephen Drew's crazy throw over the first-base dugout allowed host Los Angeles to score the tying run in the ninth, and Andre Ethier got the game-winning hit in the 10th. Drew, a shortstop, charged Casey Blake's slow bouncer and the ball appeared to slip, flying from his hand and into the seats and allowing Manny Ramirez to score. Ethier drove a pitch from Blaine Boyer (1-1) over the head of drawn-in outfielders to win it.

BRAVES 6, PADRES 2

Jason Heyward drove in two runs on a pair of doubles and Martin Prado homered to help visiting Atlanta beat San Diego. Leading 3-2 in the eighth, the Braves got three straight run-scoring hits with two outs. Yunel Escobar singled, Heyward doubled into the left-center gap and Eric Hinske singled.

NATIONALS 7, PHILLIES 5

Pinch-hitter Ryan Zimmerman hit a go-ahead, two-run homer off Danys Baez (0-1) in the eighth inning and visiting Washington beat Philadelphia. Chase Utley hit his fourth homer in three games and Maui's Shane Victorino also went deep for the Phillies.

METS 5, ROCKIES 0

Mike Pelfrey pitched seven solid innings and hit an RBI single, helping visiting New York beat Colorado. Pelfrey (2-0) allowed five hits, struck out six and walked none as the Mets ended a four-game skid.

BREWERS 8, CUBS 6

Rickie Weeks hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, giving visiting Milwaukee a victory over Chicago. Ryan Braun and Casey McGehee each homered and drove in three runs for the Brewers.

MARLINS 10, REDS 2

Jorge Cantu extended his major league season-opening record to 10 games with a hit and an RBI, and Josh Johnson struck out 10 in six innings for host Florida. Johnson (1-1) allowed five hits in six innings and missed tying a career high by one strikeout.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

YANKEES 6, ANGELS 2

Curtis Granderson hit two triples and threw Hideki Matsui out at the plate, and Robinson Cano homered twice, leading host New York over Los Angeles. Phil Hughes (1-0) labored through five-plus innings in his first start since winning the No. 5 starter job from Joba Chamberlain this spring.

ATHLETICS 6, ORIOLES 2

Ben Sheets won for the first time since September 2008 in host Oakland's victory over Baltimore. Sheets (1-0), who missed all of 2009 recovering from elbow surgery, pitched six scoreless innings. He won for the first time since a five-hit shutout of San Diego on Sept. 6, 2008, while with Milwaukee.

INDIANS 3, RANGERS 2

David Huff pitched a complete game and Shin-Soo Choo hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning as host Cleveland ended a five-game losing streak. Huff (1-1) allowed four hits, struck out three and retired 10 straight at one point.

BLUE JAYS 7, WHITE SOX 3

Dana Eveland pitched six innings, Travis Snider homered and host Toronto beat Chicago. Eveland (2-0) allowed two runs and three hits in six-plus innings. Alex Gonzalez matched a career high with four hits and had three RBIs for the Blue Jays.

TWINS 8, RED SOX 0

Francisco Liriano threw seven shutout innings for host Minnesota, and the Twins took the first series at Target Field with a victory over Boston. Liriano (1-0) scattered four hits and walked two while striking out eight.

NOTES

Red Sox: Daisuke Matsuzaka pronounced himself ready to return to Boston's rotation after throwing six scoreless innings in a minor-league rehab start at Buffalo, N.Y.

"I think I've thrown enough pitches at this point to be ready to pitch in the big leagues," Matsuzaka said through interpreter Masa Hoshino.

He is scheduled to pitch again for Pawtucket on Tuesday at Rochester.

Yesterday, he allowed three hits, struck out two and didn't walk any batters against the Buffalo Bisons.

Trade: The Toronto Blue Jays acquired outfielder Fred Lewis from the San Francisco Giants for a player to be named or cash.

Lewis, activated from the 15-day disabled list earlier yesterday, batted .277 with 16 home runs and 81 RBIs in 326 games for the Giants.

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