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Lowrie's error opens door for Rockies in 9-7 win

Colorado Rockies' baseruner Jordan Pacheco, left, slides safely across home plate on a passed ball as Houston Astros starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez covers in the first inning of game one of a day/night doubleheader in Denver on Monday, May 28, 2012. Colorado Rockies' baseruner Jordan Pacheco, left, slides safely across home plate on a passed ball as Houston Astros starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez covers in the first inning of game one of a day/night doubleheader in Denver on Monday, May 28, 2012. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
By Pat Graham
AP Sports Writer / May 28, 2012
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DENVER—Jed Lowrie's flubbed flip in the field overshadowed his solid day at the plate.

The shortstop's two-out throwing error in the eighth inning paved the way for Jordan Pacheco's two-run single, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Houston Astros 9-7 on Monday in the first game of a doubleheader.

Lowrie had a chance to get the Astros out of the inning unscathed after Jason Giambi drew a walk.

With pitcher Jeremy Guthrie pinch-running for Giambi, Dexter Fowler hit a slow dribbler to a hard-charging Lowrie, who tried to go to second.

But his underhand toss struck Guthrie on the right foot and bounded into shallow left-center, allowing Guthrie to scoot to third and Fowler to move up to second.

Pacheco then followed with a bloop single off Fernando Rodriguez (1-5).

After the game, Lowrie explained the reason he went that route, saying he thought he heard second baseman Jose Altuve calling for the ball.

However, just before Fowler stepped into the box, the middle infielders agreed that if anything was hit to the left side, the play would be to first.

"I didn't think I had a chance at first with Fowler running anyway," Lowrie said. "I thought we had a better chance with Guthrie at second. Just came down to miscommunication. I thought (Altuve) was calling for the ball."

Lowrie had a chance to keep the game going with two outs in the ninth, but struck out swinging in the opener of the Astros' first doubleheader since 2006.

It was a good day at the plate for Lowrie, who hit his eighth homer of the season in the first inning and brought in another run with a grounder.

"Felt good," he said.

That said, he wouldn't mind having another shot at the key play in the field. Lowrie's decision to go to second definitely surprised Guthrie.

"I didn't see the second baseman too close to the bag and I felt like I was close to being safe anyway," Guthrie said. "Little League rules, you're out."

But this isn't Little League and Guthrie, who's been struggling on the mound this season, was all too happy to pitch in any way he could.

"I guess it's nice to do something positive," he said.

Matt Belisle (2-2) earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief and the Rockies won for just the seventh time in 25 games this month. Rafael Betancourt pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save in 10 tries.

Houston's Wandy Rodriguez was hit hard, allowing seven runs, four earned, and 10 hits in five innings. He gave up six extra-base hits, including four in a five-run first.

But the lefty settled in after that -- as much as he could at Coors Field, anyway. Rodriguez's breaking ball just wasn't dancing in the thin air of the Mile High City. He also had trouble hitting his spots.

"I used my breaking ball and it (didn't) break the same," Rodriguez said. "I don't know. It's different when I use it in other stadiums than here."

Jordan Schafer took Rodriguez off the hook for the loss in the seventh when he beat out an infield single, stole second on a close play and then raced home on Altuve's single to tie it at 7.

Troy Tulowitzki, who awkwardly twisted his left wrist while diving for Lowrie's single up the middle in the fifth, led off the bottom half with his eighth homer, giving the Rockies a 7-6 lead in the back-and-forth game.

The big hit, though, would turn out to be a blooper that dropped in only because the outfield was playing so deep at cavernous Coors Field.

"In this ballpark, more chances than not that's how games are won and lost," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "When you give them extra outs, walks, you don't hit the cutoff man, because the outfield is so big, it's tough to cover all the ground. If you give them those extra outs and so forth, it's too easy to get those extra hits. You try to keep it under control."

NOTES: The Astros hadn't played a doubleheader since April 13, 2006, at San Francisco. ... Before the game, the Astros recalled RHP Jordan Lyles from Triple-A Oklahoma City to start the nightcap against RHP Alex White. Under baseball's new rules, teams are allowed to add a 26th player for a doubleheader. The Rockies recalled RHP Carlos Torres from Triple-A Colorado Springs. ... Houston fell to 1-3 on its seven-game road trip.

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