HOUSTON(AP) Well over 100 pitches after eight innings,
was determined to stay on the mound.
After all, he reasoned to Houston pitching coach
, he was about to get a week off.
He got his wish, pitching a five-hitter and tying a career high by striking out 11 as the Astros beat the
''I have vacation, so I said, 'I want to finish the game,''' Rodriguez said, referring to his time off for the All-Star break.
''I felt strong, too.''
The 30-year-old Rodriguez threw his second career complete game, having shut out the
New York Mets
two years ago.
He needed a career-high 125 pitches to finish this one, topping the 122 he threw in 2006.
''I thought the fastball had a lot of life today,'' Astros manager
said. ''We started out the day today by throwing strike one quite a bit. When Wandy can throw strike one with his fastball,
he could be a dominating kind of pitcher. He's got that kind of stuff.''
Rodriguez (8-6) won his third straight decision. The lefty is only one victory behind his total from last season. He's battled
inconsistency in his career, but said a game like this helps increase his confidence.
doubled twice and drove in a pair of runs. The Astros won two of three, leaving the Pirates without a road series victory
since May 18-21.
(1-2), traded last month in the deal that sent
to Atlanta, struggled in giving up five runs and 10 hits in four innings. In his previous outing, he earned his first win
with the Pirates by pitching six scoreless innings.
''It was one of those games where they got to him,'' Pirates manager
said. ''But I still really like his stuff and he should be fine.''
Rodriguez gave up a pair singles with one out in the second before retiring the next 10 batters. He didn't allow another hit
singled with two outs in the fifth.
''He threw the ball really well, located his fastball and his breaking ball was really effective,'' Russell said. ''The difference
in speed, it was 91-93 (mph) and his breaking balls were 76-77, which is a big difference. It keeps you off-balance.''
singled with two outs in the ninth before Rodriguez struck out
to end the game. The crowd of more than 29,000 rose to its feet and cheered loudly.
''When I (saw) that I had nine strikeouts, I said, 'Hey, I can do two more,''' he said. ''So that's what I did.''
had a run-scoring triple,
had an RBI double and
drove in a run for the Astros, who finished with 13 hits.
Bourn tripled in the third and scored on a single by Tejada to put Houston ahead 1-0. Berkman followed with a double, but
Tejada was thrown out at the plate. Lee's double made it 2-0.
Bourn hit an RBI single in the fourth. Tejada singled to load the bases before Berkman's double to right field scored Rodriguez
NOTES: Retired Panamanian boxing star
attended the game and threw out the first pitch. Duran is perhaps best known for defeating Sugar Ray Leonard in a 15-round
decision for the WBC welterweight title in 1980. ... Pittsburgh 2B
missed his sixth consecutive start with back spasms. He is expected to return on Friday against the Phillies. ... Pirates
, on the disabled list with a wrist injury, is 0 for 17 in five rehabilitation games in the minors after going 0 for 5 with
a walk as the designated hitter for Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday. ... Pittsburgh optioned RHP
to Indianapolis and activated LHP
from the disabled list after Wednesday's game. The Pirates will announce the corresponding move to Pearce's spot Friday.