Astros rally for 3-2 win over Rockies
By KRISTIE RIEKEN
HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Astros know they can't get too excited about winning two of their first three games.
Still, after the starts they've had the last couple of seasons, they can't help but feel good about it.
Brian Bogusevic drove in the go-ahead run after Jose Altuve scored on Jordan Pacheco's throwing error to tie it in the eighth inning and the Astros beat the Colorado Rockies 3-2 Sunday to win their opening series.
The Astros lost their first five games last season and dropped eight in a row to start the 2010 season. They have a winning record for the first time since they were 51-50 after games on July 29, 2009.
"We want to instill winning in all of us," Houston starter Bud Norris said. "When you come to the ballpark, you expect to win and we're trying to build something. We've got the talent to do it."
Houston manager Brad Mills is happy about the start, but he certainly wasn't getting ahead of himself.
"We're talking about three games - winning two of them (but) moving forward, I think they know and we know that they can do it," Mills said.
Pacheco's bad throw to first base from third allowed Carlos Lee to reach and Altuve to score. Bogusevic's grounder to right field put Houston ahead and chased Brothers.
Brothers' breakdown spoiled a solid effort by Juan Nicasio in his return from a broken neck. He allowed five hits and one run in seven innings in his first start since breaking his neck when he fell after being hit in the head by a line drive on August 5.
"I wasn't nervous, I was feeling good," Nicasio said. "Thank you God, because I wanted to have the opportunity to get to the mound, I want to go to compete. Just get it out of the way. It's time."
Former staff ace Brett Myers pitched a scoreless ninth for the save in his first appearance as Houston's closer.
The Rockies led for most of the game after Wilin Rosario gave Colorado a 2-0 lead with his two-run homer to left-center in the fourth inning.
"Because of our inability to do anything offensively than the one swing Wilin Rosario took, we put ourselves in a position where any little mistake that gets made is going to get magnified, and potentially cost us the game," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. "And that's exactly what happened."
Norris yielded four hits and two runs and struck out eight in seven innings. Wilton Lopez (1-0) got the last two outs of the eighth for the win.
Nicasio, who was 4-4 in 13 starts as a rookie last season, looked strong in his return from the terrifying injury. He was hurt when Washington's Ian Desmond hit him with a line drive and sent him to the ground. He had to undergo surgery to have two pins inserted into his cracked C-1 vertebra and also had a small metal plate attached to the back of his neck.
He went 2-0 with a 3.90 ERA in six games this spring to prepare for his comeback.
Altuve tripled in the fourth inning and scored on a double by Lee to cut Colorado's lead to 2-1. Nicasio retired the next six batters before walking Altuve with one out in the sixth.
Martinez hit a long flyball to center field after that, but Tyler Colvin chased it down and snagged it with an over-the-shoulder catch. Nicasio allowed a single in a scoreless seventh before being replaced by Brothers for the eighth.
Troy Tulowitzki, who was hit by a pitch in the left elbow by ex-teammate Ubaldo Jimenez of Cleveland a week ago, was plunked on the hip in the sixth inning. He was OK, though, trotting to first base after being hit.
NOTES: The Astros claimed OF Justin Maxwell off waivers from the New York Yankees on Sunday. The Astros will make a corresponding roster move when he reports on Monday. ... Giambi is tied with Mark McGwire for 38th in major league history with 1,317 walks after three on Sunday.
Updated April 8, 2012