<
>

Robertson wins for first time in more than a month

5/23/2003

HOUSTON (AP) -- Jeriome Robertson has found the secret to
pitching in the major leagues -- don't think.

Robertson won for the first time in more than a month, pitching
5 2/3 innings to help the Houston Astros beat the St. Louis
Cardinals 5-2 Thursday night.

Robertson (2-3) allowed one run on four hits, striking out four
and walking none for his first win since beating Cincinnati on
April 10. He had had four no-decisions and two losses since his
previous victory.

After starting off 1-3 with an 8.36 ERA in his first six starts,
Robertson went down to the minors May 2, but was recalled 10 days
later. Now he knows what the key is to winning.

"I'm not thinking now," Robertson said. "I'm just letting
Zaunie (catcher Gregg Zaun) call the game. I'm not worrying about
what I need to do with a hitter. I just throw whatever he wants and
where he wants it.

"Zaunie and I are on the same page. I know what he wants most
of the game," he said.

Zaun, who catches all of Robertson's games, was impressed.

"That's absolutely the best he's thrown," Zaun said. "He made
a bad pitch to (Albert) Pujols when he didn't quite get it far
enough inside. But the rest of the time, he had good control.

"He looked settled out there, too. He was deliberate and
poised. I hope he can build on this."

After Pujols' home run, Robertson settled down to retire 12 of
the next 13 batters, with the only baserunner reaching on an error.
He finished by setting down 15 of the last 18 he faced, but was
pulled after Pujols' double in the sixth. Manager Jimy Williams
just thought he needed to make a move.

"(Scott) Rolen was up next and he has hit pretty well against
left-handers," Williams said. "So I thought I'd bring in Stoney
(Rick Stone).

"But Jeriome pitched good. He threw a lot of first-pitch
strikes, not just with his fast ball but with his breaking ball
too. The last game he pitched, he kept us in the game and we won
after he left. He has had a couple of good starts in a row."

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa agreed.

"He got strike one and he worked us over after that," La Russa
said. "I thought we would get more off (Robertson) but they did
more than we did and we didn't get to him."

The Cardinals were baffled by the rookie left-hander.

"We hit some balls good in one inning," Fernando Vina said.
"But he wasn't throwing anything straight. Everything was moving.
Give him credit. He's a major league pitcher."

St. Louis has lost five of eight games against the Astros this
year, but no one is worrying.

"Why should we?" Mike Matheny said. "It's only May. We've got
a good lineup and good pitchers and we're going to win a lot of
games."

Jeff Kent had a pair of RBI doubles and Adam Everett hit his
first major league home run for Houston.

Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 13 chances.
It was his 193rd career save, moving him past Mitch Williams into
fifth place on the major league list for saves by a left-hander.

Brett Tomko (2-3) went 4 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on
eight hits.

Pujols hit his 14th home run, putting the Cardinals ahead 1-0 in
the first. He has homered in five of his last six games.

Kent's RBI doubles came in the first and third innings, driving
in Morgan Ensberg from first both times to give Houston a 2-1 lead.

In the fourth, Richard Hidalgo's seventh homer was followed one
out later by Everett's homer. Everett homered on his 151st major
league at bat.

Game notes
After briefly leading the league in home runs with 11 on
May 5, Jeff Bagwell hasn't had one since. He was averaging one
homer for every 11.1 at-bats up to that day, but hasn't had one in
his last 62 at-bats for Houston. ... Astros leadoff hitter Craig
Biggio has a team-high 37 strikeouts compared to only 14 walks. ...
Tomko has allowed 34 runs (29 earned) this season, and 17 (12
earned) have come in the first inning.

Comments