Dallas Braden proved White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen wrong.Braden pitched his third complete game of the season, Kevin Kouzmanoff homered among his three hits and the Oakland Athletics ended the White Sox’s 12-game home winning streak, 6-2.Guillen was convinced his lineup would have a better showing against Braden (6-7), who beat the White Sox on July 25 in Oakland to end his five-game skid and win for the first time since pitching a perfect game May 9.Braden held the White Sox to two runs eight hits. He won consecutive starts for the first time since winning three straight from Aril 11-22. The left-hander struck out five and walked one.Braden took pride in manager Bob Geren’s decision to allow him to finish the game.Andruw Jones homered for the White Sox, who had won five straight overall. Their previous loss at U.S. Cellular Field came on June 27 against the Cubs.The White Sox dropped to 19-2 in their last 21 home games and had their AL Central lead trimmed to a half-game over Minnesota, which beat the Seattle Mariners 4-0. Guillen said he isn’t keeping tabs on the Twins.Braden took a liner from Juan Pierre off his left thigh in the sixth inning. Braden said he was fine and at the time took issue with the mound visit from Geren and a team trainer to see if he was OK.The A’s roughed up White Sox starter John Danks (11-8) with a four-run second inning. Danks was 4-0 in his four previous starts with a 2.05 ERA. He came into the game 4-0 and a 1.62 ERA in five starts against Oakland.After a 1-2-3 first, the Athletics batted around in the second inning. Kouzmanoff led off with a single and, one out later, Adam Rosales singled to center. Rajai Davis followed with an RBI single.Mark Ellis walked to load the bases, then Matt Carson followed with an RBI single. After Crisp struck out, Daric Barton hit a two-run single to right to give the Athletics a 4-0 lead.Kouzmanoff led off the third inning with a drive to center for his 10th homer of the season,” Kouzmanoff said. “Dallas pitched a great game. He was busting his tail, making pitches he was supposed to make. He made one mistake but other than that he pitched a great ballgame.” Trailing 5-0 in the seventh, Dayan Viciedo singled and Jones followed with his 15th homer.Oakland got a run back in the eighth with Ellis’ sacrifice fly.
NOTES—Minnesota’s win moved them to within 1/2 game of the first place Sox…..Edwin Jackson joined his new team, a day after the White Sox acquired him from Arizona. Jackson is scheduled to start Wednesday against one of his four former teams, the Detroit Tigers. “It’s a great group of guys. They come out and play hard every day. I’m excited to be here and to be able to be thrown in the mix and make a playoff run,” Jackson said. …..Mark Teahen was 3 for 4 with two RBIs in his first rehab game. Teahen was placed on the DL with a broken right middle finger on June 1.
DENVER — Carlos Gonzalez went to the plate in the bottom of the ninth replaying in his head the words of his teammates: this was his night and he had it in him to do something special.Punctuating those encouraging words, Gonzalez hit a game-ending home run to complete the cycle, and the Colorado Rockies rallied to beat the Chicago Cubs 6-5 Saturday night after blowing a three-run lead in the eighth inning.Gonzalez became the sixth Rockies player to hit for the cycle and the first since Troy Tulowitzki did it last Aug. 10, also against the “back up the truck” Cubs.Derrek Lee hit a tying three-run homer in the eighth off Rafael Betancourt.Melvin Mora, who went 2 for 2 during Colorado’s record-setting 13-hit, 12-run eighth inning Friday night, went 4 for 4 Saturday to stretch the streak to six hits in six at-bats.Huston Street (2-2) retired the Cubs in order in the ninth and Gonzalez crushed the first offering from Sean Marshall (6-3), driving the ball into the third deck beyond the center field fence, 462 feet away. He thrust his arms into the air as he rounded third and touched home plate as his teammates swarmed around him.Marshall said he went right after Gonzalez, who singled, tripled and doubled in his first three at bats.The Cubs were dealt their fourth straight loss on a day when they sent pitcher Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for infielder Blake Dewitt, two minor leaguers and cash.The game also marked the return of Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who was activated from the restricted list Friday. Zambrano, who was placed on the list June 29 in the aftermath of a dugout altercation with Lee, came on in relief of starter Tom Gorzelanny with one runner on and one out in the seventh inning.Zambrano apologized to his teammates after Friday’s activation and he made a grateful return to play, kneeling quietly beside the mound for a moment before pitching and pointing a finger skyward as he walked to the dugout after working out of the seventh-inning jam by fanning pinch-hitter Seth Smith and getting Brad Hawpe to pop out.Zambrano said he wasn’t uneasy taking the mound again after the monthlong layoff.Gorzelanny came in having gone 4-0 with a 3.42 ERA in July but got a no-decision in his final start of the month, giving up five runs and nine hits before leaving in the seventh after allowing a sacrifice fly to Gonzalez. Colorado starter Jason Hammel also didn’t figure in the decision after leaving in favor of Betancourt with one out and two on in the eighth and holding a 5-2 lead. Betancourt fanned Starlin Castro but Lee jumped on Betancourt’s first pitch, driving it over the center field wall for his 12th homer and pulling the Cubs into a tie 5-all.Trailing 4-0, the Cubs pulled to within two in the fifth. Marlon Byrd led off with a single and Alfonso Soriano followed with an RBI double, taking third on the throw home. Soriano then scored on Geovany Soto’s sacrifice fly that right fielder Ryan Spilborgh’s caught with his back against the wall.Mora led off the second with a single and Spilborghs walked to set the stage for Olivo, who drove Gorzelanny’s first offering over the center field fence for his 13th homer.The Rockies went ahead 4-0 when Gonzalez tripled off the top of the center field fence in the third and Mora singled him home with his fourth consecutive base hit. Mora made it five in a row with another single in the sixth.
NOTES—Rockies shortstop Tulowitzki’s next game will be the 500th of his career…..Lou Piniella left the team Saturday to attend funeral services in Tampa for his uncle. Bench coach Alan Trammell was managing the team in Piniella’s absence.
The Cubs backing up the truck started up big time left-hander Ted Lilly was traded to the Dodgers by the Cubs on Saturday along with infielder Ryan Theriot for infielder Blake DeWitt and minor league right-handers Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach. Lilly pitched for Torre with the New York Yankees.Los Angeles also received approximately $2.5 million cash to cover part of what remains in Lilly’s $12 million salary. Los Angeles general manager Ned Colletti was looking to bolster his starting rotation by the trade deadline.Third in the NL West, the Dodgers already acquired former White Sox center fielder and leadoff man Scott Podsednik from Kansas City on Wednesday. Theriot is slated to be the team’s everyday second baseman, while Lilly could make his Los Angeles debut as soon as Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium against the first-place San Diego Padres.
“Hopefully it makes us better,” Torre said before the Dodgers played the San Francisco Giants. “That’s all you can do. I just talked to Theriot and he’s excited. Hopefully Ted Lilly will give us a little more stability in our rotation. I had Teddy before and I’ll tell you one thing, he’s a competitor.”
Lilly is 3-8 with a 3.69 ERA and hasn’t won since June 13. He pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings against Houston on Tuesday and has allowed four earned runs over his last 16 innings. He is eligible for free agency after the season.Theriot has a .284 average with one homer and 21 RBI.The 24-year-old DeWitt, a first-round pick in the 2004 amateur draft who bats left-handed, is batting .270 with 15 doubles, one homer and 30 RBI. He hit .295 with a triple, three doubles and six RBIs in 21 games in July.DeWitt isn’t sure what to expect with the Cubs, considering this is the first trade of his career.
“This is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me. It definitely comes as a little surprise,” DeWitt said shortly after receiving the news. “I haven’t really had time to gather my thoughts yet. … It happened. I appreciated the opportunity I had here. I had a lot of fun here and I look forward to the opportunity in Chicago.”
Also, the New York Yankees have found a deal in Cleveland to acquire former Cub Kerry Wood.The deal has cleared the last hurdle, approval by the Commissioner’s Office, and Wood is on his way to the Bronx. The Yankees will send a player to be named later or cash to the Indians.The Yankees also reportedly will cover $1.5 million of the $3.6 million the Indians still owe Wood on his $10.5 million 2010 salary.Wood is the third player scooped up by the Yanks in the past 24 hours, following Houston’s Lance Berkman and Wood’s former teammate in Cleveland, outfielder Austin Kearns.Wood simply will add depth to a Yankees’ bullpen as they gear up for the stretch run. In 23 appearances for the Indians this season, Wood was 1-4 with a 6.30 ERA and eight saves in 11 opportunities. He recently returned from the disabled list, where he was placed because of a blister on his finger.
When Lucas Harrell woke up in the morning, he was preparing to make a start for Triple-A Charlotte. He ended the day with his first major league victory.Harrell pitched six strong innings in his major league debut, Dayan Viciedo had three hits, and the White Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 6-1 Friday night to get their 12th straight win at home.Harrell’s morning started with a call from White Sox director of player development Buddy Bell informing him of the news.Gordon Beckham also had two hits and drove in two runs for the AL Central-leading White Sox, who are 19-1 at home since June 9. With the win, The Sox moved to a eason-high 14 games over .500.The day was set up for Harrell when the White Sox acquired right-hander Edwin Jackson from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Friday night’s scheduled starter Daniel Hudson and prospect David Holmberg.After losing two out of three games to at Oakland last weekend, the White Sox have won five in a row and have their longest home-winning streak since they a 13-game stretch July 1-Aug. 5, 1989.Harrell (1-0) got out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning and then coasted behind a strong offense for his first victory. He allowed one run on four hits and pitched around five walks with one strikeout. After the game, Harrell was optioned back to Charlotte. Kurt Suzuki had two hits for Oakland who have lost three of its last four after going 9-2 in its previous 11 games.Oakland starter Brett Anderson (2-2), who made his first start since June 3, gave up five runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings. Anderson was activated from the disabled list before the game with left elbow soreness. Inflammation in his pitching elbow has limited Anderson to three starts since April 24.Juan Pierre led off the first inning with a bouncer to shortstop Cliff Pennington, who fielded the ball on the run near second base and bobbled it, allowing Pierre to reach safely with a hit. Pierre then stole second and scored on Alex Rios’ single to give Harrell and the White Sox an early lead.Harrell got into trouble in the second inning. He walked leadoff hitter Mark Ellis, but retired the next two batters. He then walked Pennington and Coco Crisp to load the bases. Daric Barton lifted a long fly ball to center, but Rios hovered under just a step from the center-field wall and made the catch.Ellis led off the fourth with a single and moved to second and third on a pair of infield grounders. He then scored after Pennington hit a liner off Harrell’s glove to tie the score.The White Sox regained the lead in the fourth as Paul Konerko led off with a double to center and scored on A.J. Pierzynski’s single. Viciedo followed with a double off the wall in center advancing Pierzynksi to third. Pierzynski scored on Andruw Jones’ infield groundout and Viciedo scored on Beckham’s single to make it 4-1. Beckham gave the White Sox an insurance run in the sixth with an RBI single and Alexei Ramirez scored on Konerko’s sacrifice fly in the seventh. Jackson was 6-10 with a 5.16 ERA in 21 starts for the Diamondbacks this year, coming off an All-Star season in which he went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA in 33 starts covering 214 innings for Detroit. Jackson is scheduled to start Wednesday at Detroit.
NOTES—Before the game, the Athletics placed closer Andrew Bailey on the disabled list with a strained right rib cage muscle. Bailey, coming off his second All-Star appearance in as many years, hasn’t pitched since July 20 with the injury. He has 20 saves in 23 opportunities with a 1.56 ERA. The club expects him back Aug. 6 against the Rangers. … Jackson issued eight walks in his 149-pitch no-hitter against the Rays on June 25, and averages more than four walks per nine innings, well above the league average.3 opportunities with a 1.56 ERA. The club expects him back Aug. 6 against the Rangers. … Jackson issued eight walks in his 149-pitch no-hitter against the Rays on June 25, and averages more than four walks per nine innings, well above the league average.
DENVER—Leading 5-2, the Colorado Rockies were looking for an insurance run with two outs in the eighth. Fourteen batters later they were comfortably ahead.Carlos Gonzalez, Ian Stewart and Dexter Fowler homered and Colorado used a record-setting 12-run eighth inning to rout the sinking out of sight Cubs 17-2 on Friday night.
“I’d never seen an inning like that,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “We had two outs and two strikes on a hitter and they score 12 runs. I’d never seen an inning like that.”
Gonzalez had four hits, two in the eighth when the Rockies set a major-league record with 11 straight hits in the inning. The Rockies had 13 hits in the inning, a franchise record.Fowler and Stewart both hit two-run homers in the eighth as the Rockies piled up a club-high 12 extra base hits in the game. The Rockies batted around twice in the inning against relievers Sean Marshall, Andrew Cashner and Brian Schlitter. Troy Tulowitzki had two doubles and three RBI, Clint Barmes and Melvin Mora also had two hits and Brad Hawpe and Chris Iannetta reached base twice in the inning.Every batter got at least one hit in the eighth.It was a welcome explosion for a Colorado offense that has struggled of late. In the last four games of their losing streak that reached nine Wednesday, the Rockies scored 11 combined runs — or one less than they did in the eighth inning Friday.Jeff Francis (4-3) had his second straight quality start in picking up just his second win since June 13. He gave up two runs and four hits, struck out five and walked one in six innings.The Cubs have lost three straight and four of five.The Rockies got to starter Ryan Dempster (8-8) in the third. With one out Francis singled to center, Fowler hit a ground-rule double to center and Seth Smith doubled to score both runners.Dempster struck out Gonzalez but then walked three consecutive batters to allow Smith to score and make it 3-0.The Rockies padded the lead in the fifth. Gonzalez led off with his 20th home run, Tulowitzki singled and Hawpe and Iannetta walked to load the bases with no outs.James Russell relieved Dempster and gave up an RBI single to Stewart to make it 5-0. Russell retired the next three batters to end the rally.Dempster allowed five runs and seven hits, struck out five and walked five in four-plus innings.
“I wasn’t aggressive. It was embarrassing,” Dempster said. “I would rather have given up the 11-straight hits than to not be aggressive.”
The Cubs got two back in the sixth off Francis. Jeff Baker led off with a single, Tyler Colvin tripled and then scored on Derrek Lee’s groundout to make it 5-2.
NOTES—The Cubs reinstated RHP Carlos Zambrano from the restricted list. Zambrano was placed on the restricted list June 29 after getting into a verbal altercation with teammates during a June 26 game against the White Sox.Piniella will miss the last two games of the series and the opener of the home series with Milwaukee on Monday to attend his uncle’s funeral in Tampa. Bench coach Alan Trammell will manage the team in Piniella’s absence.Rockies 1B Todd Helton (back stiffness) began a rehab assignment with the Casper Ghosts of the Rookie League.
The Rush will open the 2010 Arena Football League playoffs with a National Conference semifinal game against the Milwaukee Iron next weekend at U.S.Cellular Arena(former Milwakee Arena) since the Bradley Center is under renovation and not available. The playoff matchup was determined after the Iowa Barnstormers defeated the Arizona Rattlers 67-47 Friday night in Phoenix. Arizona’s loss gives the Rush and Rattlers identical 10-6 records at the close of the regular season. Since the Rush swept the season series from Arizona, the Rush wins the tiebreaker between the teams and earns the No. 3 seed in the National Conference, while the Rattlers fall to the No. 4 seed. As the No. 3 seed, the Rush now faces the No. 2 seed Milwaukee (10-5), while Arizona must travel to Spokane to take on the top seeded Spokane Shock (13-3).The Rush and Iron split their 2010 season series, with the Iron winning 71-48 on May 7 in Milwaukee and the Rush evening the series with a 63-56 win June 19 at Allstate Arena.More details regarding the date and time of the game will be available soon. Fans should continue to check the Rush Web site for more information.We’ll also update here on grobber.com
SEATTLE—The Seattle Storm showed the Sky how much they have improved since a rare loss two months ago at Allstate Arena.Swin Cash had 16 points to lead five players in double figures as the Storm beat the Sky 80-60 Friday night for their 13th consecutive win.Lauren Jackson added 14 points, Svetlana Abrosimova had 13, Sue Bird 11 and Camille Little 10 for Seattle (22-2). Bird also had eight assists as the Storm, who have already clinched the Western Conference title, improved to 13-0 at home.The Storm, who lost 84-75 in Rosemont on May 27 to end Seattle’s 4-0 start and give the Sky its first win after opening 0-4, have won 18 of 19 since then. Seattle is also undefeated since a 72-65 setback at Indiana on June 17.
“They are clicking,” said Fowles, who led the Sky with 13 points. “They’ve put all of the puzzle pieces together. Everyone on that team is a threat, not just Lauren and Sue. You have to guard everybody.”
The Sky (12-14) has lost three of four to drop to last place in the Eastern Conference.Bird hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter as Seattle built a 55-31 lead at halftime. The Storm shot 8 of 14 on 3-pointers in the first half and finshed with 10 3s.Seattle increased the advantage to 27 points in the third and fourth quarters.The Storm are closing in on the best start in WNBA history – 25-2 set by Houston in 1998. The Comets finished that season 27-3 en route to its second of four straight titles in the league’s first four years.Cash scored 10, Jackson eight and Little seven to help give the Storm a 27-13 in the first quarter.Jackson and Cash sat out the fourth quarter as the Storm held on to the large lead. The Sky now have to visit Los Angeles and Phoenix to complete thi9s extended road trip. The Mercury are the only team the Sky has still never beaten.
Seven weeks ago, the — White Sox wondered if they’d ever stop losing. These days, they’re playing as if the winning will never end — especially at home.Ramon Castro homered twice and Paul Konerko went deep for the fourth straight game Thursday night, leading the Sox to its 11th consecutive home victory, 9-5 over the Seattle Mariners.Since June 9, the AL Central-leading White Sox are 33-11 overall and 18-1 at home. Before the surge, they were 24-33 and 9½ games behind Minnesota. They are now 57-44 and 1½ games in front.Carlos Quentin also homered for the White Sox, whose previous home winning streak of at least 11 games came in 1989 — two years before they left old Comiskey Park for U.S. Cellular Field.Konerko’s homer-per-game performance — his only hits of the series — helped the White Sox to their first four-game sweep of Seattle since 1994 and first at home since ’83. the Sox went 9-1 against the Mariners this season, outscoring them 52-21.It’s not surprising when an All-Star such as Konerko produces. Castro? He’s a backup catcher who rarely plays. Still, he’s batting .400 with five home runs and 11 RBI in his last 13 games.It was Castro’s second career two-homer game, the other coming in 2002 when he was with Florida. He also singled during Chicago’s four-run third inning, the three hits tying his personal best.Coming off his worst outing this season — five runs in 1 1/3 innings — Freddy Garcia (10-4) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings as the White Sox moved 13 games over .500 for the first time in two seasons.Ichiro Suzuki tied a team record with three doubles and also scored three times for Seattle, which is 6-20 in July after ending June with nine wins in 12 games.Casey Kotchman’s RBI double and sacrifice fly gave Seattle a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the third, but David Pauley (0-3) was hit hard and didn’t make it out of the inning.Singles by Alexei Ramirez and Castro and a walk to Gordon Beckham loaded the bases for Juan Pierre, whose double down the left-field line tied the game. Beckham scored on Omar Vizquel’s single and Pierre came home on a double play.Castro’s first-pitch homer off Chris Seddon in the fourth gave the Sox a 5-2 lead.With one out in the sixth, Kotchman doubled, Franklin Gutierrez singled and Michael Saunders lined an RBI single. Garcia escaped the jam by getting Justin Smoak to pop out and striking out Josh Wilson.In the sixth, Castro homered off Seddon again and Vizquel knocked in a run with his third single to make it 7-3.Ichiro doubled home a run in the seventh off J.J. Putz and scored on a wild pitch. But Konerko and Quentin responded with consecutive homers off Garrett Olson in Chicago’s half.Putz’s 27-appearance scoreless streak, a team record, was snapped.
NOTES—The White Sox have seven series sweeps, their most in a season since they took 12 in 2005, when they went on to win the World Series. … Mariners DH Russell Branyan sat out with back spasms as a “precautionary day off,” Don Wakamatsu said. Branyan had played the previous two games after missing most of two weeks…. Wakamatsu also sat 3B Jose Lopez (tight left hamstring), OF Milton Bradley (knee stiffness) and DH Mike Sweeney (sore back), saying all three should play at Minnesota over the weekend.
Bobby Jenks just overpowered the heart of Seattle’s lineup, firing fastball after fastball into A.J. Pierzynski’s mitt as the crowd roared.Just another fun night at home for the White Sox. Alex Rios hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh inning, Jenks struck out the side for an electric save and the slugging White Sox rallied to beat the Mariners 6-5 on Wednesday night for their 10th straight win at U.S. Cellular Field. Gordon Beckham, Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez went deep for the White Sox, who hit three homers for the second straight day. Konerko’s tying solo shot in the fifth was his third in three games and No. 24 for the season.But Jenks supplied the most impressive power, touching 99 mph as he mowed down Franklin Gutierrez, Russell Branyan and Justin Smoak for his 21st save in 23 chances. Gutierrez and Smoak went down swinging and Branyan looked at a called third strike during Jenks’ 13-pitch ninth.Jenks went through a rough stretch earlier this month, and manager Ozzie Guillen talked about taking him out of the closer’s role for a while to let him regroup.The Sox (56-44) had won three straight and four of six to move 12 games over .500, tying a season high. The AL Central leaders also earned their 17th win in their last 18 home games.Chone Figgins hit a rare homer for slumping Seattle, which has dropped 19 of 25. Ichiro Suzuki went 2 for 5 and scored two runs.Juan Pierre, who reached base three times, started the winning rally with a leadoff walk against Jamey Wright (1-3). He took second with his major league-best 38th steal and moved to third on Ramirez’s sacrifice.Brandon League came in to face Rios, who bounced a single past a drawn-in infield and into left field, making it 6-5. Rios also singled in a run in the first.Matt Thornton (3-3) got Michael Saunders to fly out with the bases loaded to end the seventh. J.J. Putz worked the eighth before Jenks came on for the ninth, much to the delight of the crowd of 25,126.The White Sox overcame a rough outing by Buehrle to improve to 8-1 against Seattle this season. They will go for the four-game sweep Thursday when Freddy Garcia faces Mariners right-hander David Pauley.Figgins went deep in the second inning, increasing Seattle’s lead to 5-1 with a drive to left after Suzuki’s two-out single. It was the first homer for the speedy infielder since Sept. 22 for the Los Angeles Angels against the New York Yankees.The White Sox erased the deficit with the long ball: Beckham’s two-run homer in the second, Ramirez’s leadoff drive in the fifth and Konerko’s shot later in the same inning.Ramirez connected for the second straight day and is 10 for 15 with six RBI in his last four games.Suzuki and Figgins got the Mariners off to a fast start after they were outscored 17-1 in the first two games of the series. Each of them singled and scored in Seattle’s three-run first, with Figgins swiping home after Branyan was picked off first.Jason Vargas allowed five runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings for Seattle. He hadn’t allowed more than one homer in a single start this year.Buehrle, who had tossed two consecutive complete games, gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings. Much of the game was played with three umpires after Brian Runge left before the top of the third. He took a foul tip off his mask in the bottom of the first. A White Sox spokesman said he was removed as a precaution and taken to a hospital for observation.Hunter Wendelstedt took over behind the plate after a 10-minute delay and there was no umpire in the middle of the field
NOTES—With the trade deadline coming up on Saturday, Guillen brought a homemade sign to his pregame meeting with reporters. It read: “Don’t ask me about trades. I don’t know. Ask KW,” referring to general manager Kenny Williams. Guillen grinned as he showed off the sign….Mariners INF Jose Lopez, who left Tuesday’s game with a tight left hamstring, was held out and is day to day.
HOUSTON—Cub killer Carlos Lee hit two home runs, including the go-ahead homer in the sixth inning, and the Astros went on to an 8-1 win over the Cubs.Bagwell, the former Houston All-Star, was named hitting coach July 11 after Sean Berry was fired. Lee is hitting .239 this season with 14 home runs and 52 RBI and Wednesday was his first multihomer game in almost three years.The game was tied at 1 before Lee connected for his 13th homer of the year, a two-run shot to left field. His second one, also to left field, scored Lance Berkman and pushed the lead to 5-1 in the seventh inning.Astros starter Bud Norris (3-7) allowed four hits, an unearned run and struck out seven in six innings for his first win since May 13.Hunter Pence added three hits and drove in a pair of runs for Houston.The Astros had managed just one hit before the sixth inning. Berkman walked before Pence hit a double that landed in the left field corner and scored Berkman to tie it 1-1.Then came Lee’s homer that scored Pence and gave Houston the lead.Randy Wells (5-8) had pitched 19 consecutive scoreless innings before Pence’s RBI. Wells allowed five hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings. He was replaced by James Russell, who got one out.Ryan Theriot singled to lead off the first inning before Starlin Castro reached on an error. Norris walked Tyler Colvin to load the bases before a sacrifice fly by Aramis Ramirez scored Theriot and made it 1-0.Wells didn’t allow a hit until a single by Pence with one out in the fourth inning. He got out of that inning unscathed by retiring Lee before Chris Johnson grounded into a force out and rookie Jason Castro struck out.Jason Bourgeois hit his first career triple in the eighth inning and scored on a single by Angel Sanchez to make it 6-1. Pence stretched the lead to 7-1 with a run-scoring single later in that inning and Berkman also scored in the eighth on a wild pitch.Norris was hobbled for a couple of minutes in the fifth inning when he jumped and landed on first base awkwardly while making a tag. His right foot seemed to be bothering him, but he remained in the game after talking to team trainers for a bit.Johnson, a rookie, singled in the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.Lou Piniella rested starters Derrek Lee, Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano on Wednesday, but Soriano pinch hit in the ninth inning.
NOTES—Carlos Zambrano will travel to Denver on Thursday and join the team Friday before the series with the Rockies. Lou Piniella said Zambrano will address the team in a meeting before Friday’s game in his return after a dugout argument with Derrek Lee more than a month ago. Lee said he’s looking forward to Zambrano’s return. “It will be good to put it behind us,” he said. “I really don’t think it’s going to be a big issue. We’ll welcome him back and move on.” He hopes that Zambrano apologizes to the team. “We’re looking forward to the apology,” he said. “I think that’s what needs to happen.” ….Geovany Soto was out of the lineup for the second straight day after leaving Monday’s game in the sixth inning after fouling a ball off his left foot. He has a bruised foot, but Piniella said he should be ready to play Friday…..Houston RHP Jeff Fulchino, on the disabled list with right elbow tendinitis, gave up two hits in a scoreless inning in his second rehabilitation appearance for Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday….Geoff Blum, on the disabled list after arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow, could begin a rehabilitation assignment on Sunday.