Arizona rookie Brad Halsey outpitched Roger Clemens in a successful homecoming, and Luis Gonzalez hit a three-run homer to lead the Diamondbacks to a 6-1 victory over the Astros last night in Houston.
Halsey (3-2) had the best start of his young career in his hometown of Houston, allowing just one run in seven innings. Three Arizona relievers worked in and out of trouble to protect a 3-1 lead in the eighth, then Gonzalez gave the Diamondbacks some cushion in the ninth with his sixth homer, off Astros rookie Mike Burns.
The 24-year-old Halsey came up with a gem against the 42-year-old Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner who, like Halsey, is a native of Houston, a former University of Texas star, and former New York Yankee.
Halsey retired the first 10 batters before Jose Vizcaino doubled to left in the fourth inning. Craig Biggio followed with a single, but Lance Berkman grounded into a double play to end the threat.
Halsey found himself in a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, but the Astros scored only on Jason Lane's RBI grounder to shortstop and Halsey worked himself out of the inning by inducing Adam Everett into a ground out.
Halsey allowed six hits with no strikeouts or walks, bouncing back nicely after losing his last two starts.
Meanwhile, Clemens (3-2) was undone by Houston's punchless offense and season-high five errors.
Craig Counsell led off the game with a single and went to third on Clemens's throwing error to first. Alex Cintron drove in Counsell on a grounder to shortstop, Gonzalez singled, and Troy Glaus followed with a run-scoring double. Glaus then scored on a fielding error by Mike Lamb, giving Arizona a 3-0 lead.
The Rocket gave up two earned runs on three hits with a season-low three strikeouts and two walks. It was his first outing this season that lasted fewer than seven innings.
Phillies 7, Cardinals 4 -- Pat Burrell had three hits and two RBIs, and Brett Myers (4-2) struck out nine over seven innings for host Philadelphia.
Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds homered for the Cardinals, who lost a road series for just the second time this season.
Rockies 3, Giants 1 -- Luis Gonzalez and Garrett Atkins both homered and rookie Jeff Francis stayed undefeated at Coors Field, allowing one run over six innings to carry Colorado past San Francisco.
Francis (4-1) improved to 5-0 at the ballpark most pitchers love to hate, dating to late last season. The lefthander allowed seven hits and struck out five.
Nationals 3, Brewers 2 -- Livan Hernandez (7-2) shook off an inflamed right knee to win his sixth straight start and Washington capped an impressive homestand at 5-2.
Jamey Carroll went 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI to help lift the Nationals franchise five games over .500 for the first time since the Montreal Expos were 81-76 on Sept. 22, 2003.
Twins 4, Blue Jays 0 -- Joe Mays scattered seven hits in his first complete game in nearly three years, guiding host Minnesota past Toronto.
Mays (3-1) struck out two without a walk in 93 pitches. It was his first complete game since a two-hit shutout against the Red Sox Aug. 16, 2002, and his sixth career shutout.
Royals 7, Orioles 4 -- Emil Brown hit a three-run homer, Angel Berroa added a solo shot, and host Kansas City managed to hold a lead against Baltimore after blowing big advantages in three straight games.
Devil Rays 6, Tigers 2 -- Nick Green and Damon Hollins homered, and Tampa Bay snapped a four-game skid with a victory in Detroit.