'The Rocket' propels Astros to 5-3 victory

Wednesday, April 14, 2004
The Astros' Roger Clemens warmed his hand in the first inning Tuesday while pitching against the Cardinals. Clemens limited St. Louis to two hits in 6 2-3 innings.

ST. LOUIS -- Roger Clemens allowed just two hits and extended his scoreless streak to 13 2-3 innings before giving up a run in Houston's 5-3 victory over St. Louis on Tuesday night.

Clemens (2-0) struck out three, walked three and hit a batter in 6 2-3 innings. Last week in his Houston debut, he allowed one hit in seven shutout innings against San Francisco.

The win was No. 312 for Clemens, moving him past Tom Seaver into 16th place on the career list.

Adam Everett and Lance Berkman hit solo homers for Houston, and Jeff Kent doubled in two runs.

Octavio Dotel gave up back-to-back homers to Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen to lead off the ninth, but got the final four outs for his first save of the season.

St. Louis entered the game hitting an NL-best .309, and had scored at least five runs in each of its first eight games.

A scoreboard radar gun reading showed Clemens' fastball consistently hitting 94 mph early in the game and 93 mph into the sixth. He received a standing ovation when he left the game.

The Cardinals didn't get a hit until the fourth.

St. Louis finally scored in the seventh. Rolen walked with one out, went to second on a fielder's choice, and scored on Reggie Sanders' single. Sanders was 1-for-2 with two walks and two stolen bases.

Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan (0-2) pitched well after allowing Everett's homer in the first and Berkman's in the second, retiring the next 13 batters after Berkman's homer. Suppan allowed six hits in seven innings, struck out seven and walked none.

Houston added two runs in the eighth on Kent's double off reliever Cal Eldred.

Houston's Richard Hidalgo led off the ninth with his fourth homer of the season off reliever Jason Simontacchi. In all three appearances this season, Simontacchi has given up a home run to the first batter he has faced.

Notes: Cody McKay made his first start as a catcher, but his second appearance of the season. McKay pitched two shutout innings Thursday in an 11-5 loss to Milwaukee. ... St. Louis, 48-33 at home last season, is 1-5 at Busch Stadium and 3-0 on the road in 2004. The last time the Cardinals started so poorly at home was 1973, when they opened 1-6.

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