Series: Game 1 of 3

Houston leads 1-0 (as of 5/12)

Game 1: Friday, May 12
Game 2: Saturday, May 13
Game 3: Sunday, May 14

Rockies 2

(20-16, 11-8 away)

Astros 12

(21-15, 15-4 home)

    8:05 PM ET, May 12, 2006

    Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    COL 001000001 2 8 1
    HOU 00100434 - 12 15 0

    W: M. Gallo (1-0)

    L: J. Jennings (2-3)

    Ensberg's three-run blast helps Astros dominate Rockies

    HOUSTON (AP) -- There's no place like home for the Houston Astros.

    The Astros rebounded from a brutal seven-game road trip with a 12-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.

    Houston, which won only the final game of the road swing, has the best home record in the majors at 15-4 and has won five straight games at Minute Maid Park.

    Morgan Ensberg had four RBI, including a tie-breaking three-run homer in the sixth inning, and Craig Biggio and Mike Lamb both homered for the Astros, who came up one run shy of their season high.

    "It feels good to be back home," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "We had some difficult games on the road. So tonight we put that out of reach pretty quickly."

    The loss gave Colorado its first three-game losing streak of the season.

    Ensberg took Rockies starter Jason Jennings to a full count with the scored tied 1-1 and the crowd on its feet and cheering wildly. He then homered to left field to drive in Biggio and Lance Berkman.

    "During my at-bat you couldn't hear a thing," Ensberg said. "That stuff helps. I mean you can't hear at all. And I just think when it's difficult for you to concentrate because you're not used to it, it helps us because we are used to it."

    Jennings (2-3) allowed two hits over the first five innings before Houston tagged him for six in the sixth. He struck out five and walked one. The outing came six days after he pitched a complete game in a 5-0 victory over Houston.

    "We got desperate at times and then things got away from Jason," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.

    He was lifted with two outs in the sixth after an RBI-single by Brad Ausmus.

    "They play very well here," Hurdle said. "They're confident, the record speaks for itself and they don't throw away many games here."

    Ensberg's single scored Willy Taveras in the seventh and Preston Wilson followed with a two-run triple to make it 8-1.

    In the eighth, Eric Bruntlett had an RBI-double and Taveras added a sacrifice fly. Lamb capped the inning with a two-run homer off Tom Martin.

    Biggio's solo homer to left tied the game 1-1 in the third. The homer marked the first time Jennings had allowed a run against the Astros in 11 2-3 innings and the homer was Biggio's fourth of the season.

    Lamb said he hopes Friday's win will help them forget about the recent road trip.

    "It felt like we were on the road for two-and-a-half weeks," he said. "But we're comfortable playing here and the fans really excite us. I just hope all the negative things that happened on the road go by the wayside now that we're home."

    Colorado's Matt Holliday had an RBI-single in the third to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Luis Gonzalez added a homer in the ninth off Trever Miller, who was activated off the disabled list on Friday.

    Houston starter Fernando Nieve pitched 5 1-3 innings and allowed six hits and one run. Mike Gallo (1-0) pitched 2-3 innings and allowed one hit and no runs to get the win.

    Garner followed through on his plan not to use closer Brad Lidge in save situations for a couple of games as he tries to make adjustments to remedy recent struggles. Lidge pitched the seventh inning, allowing no hits or runs with one strikeout.

    "I think Brad pitched very good," Garner said. "He felt a little more comfortable with his windup. He was a little freer. His fastball looked good and he had a nice slider. He just needs to get on a roll and get in a good groove."

    Game notes

    Astros RHP Brandon Backe, who has been on the disabled list with a sprained ligament in his right elbow, tossed a few balls Friday. "He'll continue to ramp up his activity, but today was a good sign," Astros general manager Tim Purpura said. "He didn't have any pain or soreness and was able to pop the ball and felt pretty good about it." ... Wilson has a six-game hitting streak. ... Colorado is 20-40 in Houston and has lost 16 of 19 games at Minute Maid Park, their worst record at any park in the National League.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press