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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.