Astros' Albers gets first major league victory

Associated Press • May 6, 2007 at 5:30 AM

ST. LOUIS - Matt Albers pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning for his first major league win and fellow rookie Hunter Pence hit a grand slam for his first career homer in the Houston Astros' 13-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.

The defending World Series champions, in last place in the NL Central, have lost six of seven.

The Cardinals also announced during the game that ace pitcher Chris Carpenter will undergo arthroscopic elbow surgery early next week, a procedure that will sideline him at least three months.

Albers (1-1), pitching on three days' rest, allowed three singles in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out two and walked one.

Carlos Lee broke the game open with a three-run double in the fifth to make it 6-0 off Kip Wells (1-6), who allowed seven runs, six hits and four walks in 4 1-3 innings.

SAN FRANCISCO - Barry Bonds hit his 744th career home run for San Francisco, moving him within 11 of Hank Aaron's record of 755.

Bonds led off the second inning and sent the first pitch from Jon Lieber (1-1) over the fence in center an estimated 438 feet for his 10th homer of the year. It was Bonds' fifth homer in his career against Lieber.

Eliezer Alfonzo added a solo shot to start the seventh for his first homer of the year, and Pedro Feliz hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning.

Noah Lowry (4-2) struck out a season-high eight in 6 2-3 innings to win his fourth straight start.

CHICAGO - Aramis Ramirez homered and the Cubs benefited from three bases-loaded walks by an emergency reliever and won for the seventh time in eight games.

Rich Hill (4-1) allowed six hits and a run in six innings, sending Washington to its fourth straight loss.

The Cubs got back to .500 (14-14) for the first time since they were 3-3 on April 8.

Nationals starter John Patterson (1-5) left the game in the third inning with a sore right biceps. Reliever Levale Speigner couldn't find the strike zone as the Cubs scored four times for a 5-0 lead.

Ramirez homered off Patterson to put Chicago ahead 2-0. Jacque Jones and Michael Barrett followed with singles and after Patterson went to a 3-1 count on Matt Murton, a trainer came to the mound and the 6-foot-6 right-hander left the game.

ATLANTA - Derek Lowe outpitched Tim Hudson, giving up three hits and an unearned run in seven innings for Los Angeles in a matchup of first-place teams.

Lowe (3-3) had eight strikeouts and walked two batters. After giving up a leadoff double to Willie Harris in the fifth, Lowe retired the last nine batters he faced.

Hudson (3-1) also pitched well, giving up three runs and seven hits in eight innings. He took his first loss in eight career starts against the Dodgers.

Wilson Betemit, normally the Dodgers' starting third baseman, hit a pinch-hit homer off Hudson in the eighth. Betemit, the former Brave, was hitting only .125 with no homers when he was benched by manager Grady Little.

MILWAUKEE - Jeff Suppan won his fifth straight start, J.J. Hardy hit a three-run homer and the Brewers improved to 10 games over .500 for the first time since 1998.

Suppan (5-2) pitched 5 2-3 innings, allowing two runs and eight hits. The Brewers' prized free agent acquisition in the offseason is 5-0 with a 2.06 ERA in five starts.

The Pirates have now lost six of eight and Pittsburgh starter Zach Duke (1-3) once again struggled early. Duke pitched five innings, giving up six hits and three runs while walking one and striking out one.

MIAMI - Josh Bard's single in the 12th inning brought Brian Giles home with the eventual winning run, as San Diego rallied late and went on to beat Florida.

The Padres trailed 6-3 after seven innings and 6-4 after eight, before a pair of Florida outfield errors helped San Diego score two unearned runs in the ninth to tie the game and force extra innings.

Brian Giles finished with three hits, Marcus Giles scored twice and Bard drove in a pair of runs for San Diego, which struck for four hits in the 12th off Lee Gardner (0-2), the seventh Marlins pitcher.

Justin Hampson (1-1) worked a perfect 11th for San Diego, and Trevor Hoffman - the eighth Padres pitcher - struck out Joe Borchard with Olivo at second for his seventh save in nine chances.

CINCINNATI - Chris Iannetta and Matt Holliday hit two-run homers off Cincinnati's battered bullpen, powering the Rockies to a major breakthrough on the road.

Colorado won back-to-back games for only the third time this season and clinched its first winning series on the road.

Right-hander Aaron Cook (1-1) got his first career victory over the team he followed as a youth. Cook won a state high school baseball championship in nearby Hamilton, Ohio, where he lives in the offseason.

Every Colorado starter had at least one hit. Holliday drove in three runs with his homer and a groundout, and Brad Hawpe drove in three more with a pair of singles. Hawpe's two-run single in the sixth off Aaron Harang (4-1) put the Rockies ahead to stay.

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