Series: Game 1 of 3

Houston leads 1-0 (as of 9/16)

Game 1: Tuesday, September 16
Game 2: Wednesday, September 17
Game 3: Thursday, September 18

Astros 14

(82-68, 37-39 away)

Rockies 4

(68-83, 45-28 home)

    9:05 PM ET, September 16, 2003

    Coors Field, Denver, Colorado 

    123456789 R H E
    HOU 010342310 14 12 1
    COL 100010020 4 9 3

    W: J. Robertson (15-7)

    L: C. Tsao (2-3)

    Hidalgo hits three of Astros' six home runs

    DENVER (AP) -- Richard Hidalgo's three-homer, five-RBI performance shouldn't have been surprising. This is his time of year.

    Hidalgo ranks first among active players in career hitting during the month of September at .380 (123-for-324).

    "I can't explain that," Hidalgo said Tuesday night after leading the Houston Astros to a 14-4 romp over the Colorado Rockies.

    "I saw the ball pretty good tonight," he said. "I just tried to see the ball and hit it. Three homers -- I'm happy about that, and I'm happy we won the game."

    The Astros, who have won 10 of their last 12, remained 1{ games ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. Chicago beat the New York Mets 3-2.

    Adam Everett added a three-run homer as the Astros connected six times, and Jeriome Robertson pitched seven strong innings.

    Robertson (15-7) set a Houston rookie record with his 15th win. He had been tied with Roy Oswalt, who won 14 in 2001. Robertson allowed two runs, six hits and walked three and struck out two.

    Hidalgo's three homers matched a Houston record for homers in a game, and his five RBI equaled a career high. He struck out in the ninth in his bid to become the 15th player to homer four times in a regular-season game.

    "I don't try to hit home runs," he insisted.

    Jeff Kent and Morgan Ensberg hit solo homers for the Astros.

    "Hidalgo hit the ball extremely well, to say the least," manager Jimy Williams said. "You don't see that very often, when a guy has three home runs in one game. The way he's hit, certainly of late, has been a big reason we've won some games.

    "Robertson set the tone in that game by the way he pitched. Fifteen wins is pretty darn good, I don't care what league you're pitching in. Early in the year he was sent down, and he's really done an outstanding job for us since coming back."

    Greg Norton had a two-run homer for Colorado, which has lost nine of its last 10 at home.

    Colorado starter Chin-hui Tsao (2-3), activated from the disabled list before the game, went four innings, allowing five runs -- four earned -- and four hits.

    "Embarrassing? Yes," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "Sometimes you want to scream and you want to kick, but until we get to the point where we pitch better consistently, it's hard to yell at the whole club. We have some young guys who are taking some lumps and getting taken to the woodshed on the mound. We didn't do anything well tonight."

    The Rockies went ahead 1-0 in the first on Todd Helton's RBI single.

    Houston tied it in the second on Hidalgo's solo homer, his 25th.

    Everett's three-run homer made it 4-1 in the fourth. Kent led off with a single and went to second on a groundout. Hidalgo walked, and Kent was out at third on Raul Chavez's fielder's choice. Everett followed with a 425-foot homer.

    Kent's RBI single and Hidalgo's second homer, a three-run shot, upped the lead to 8-1 in the fifth.

    Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch for a major league-leading 25th time this season. Ensberg reached on third baseman Chris Stynes' fielding error, chasing Tsao. Aaron Cook entered and got Jeff Bagwell on a double-play grounder. But Kent followed with a run-scoring single, Lance Berkman walked and Hidalgo hit a 435-foot homer to right-center.

    In the Rockies half, Ronnie Belliard hit a solo homer, his fifth.

    Houston pushed across two more runs in the sixth, one of which scored when Everett raced home from first as catcher Gregg Zaun threw wild to first on Robertson's bunt.

    The Astros made it 13-2 with three runs in the seventh. Kent led off with his 22nd homer, off Adam Bernero, and Hidalgo connected again. Everett, who reached on an error, scored on Robertson's triple.

    Game notes

    Tsao went on the DL Aug. 24 with a strained left hamstring. ... The six homers were the most for the Astros since they hit a franchise-record seven on Sept. 9, 2000, at the Chicago Cubs. ... Helton extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... The teams hadn't met in Denver since Colorado's opening homestand of the 2002 season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press