HOUSTON -- With the music thumping in the home clubhouse following Sunday's game, the Astros were able to revel in the satisfaction of a rare season-opening series triumph. Sure, the campaign is only three days old, but this winning thing is kind of fun.
"This team has been slow starters for a few years, so it's nice to come out and win a series early," right fielder Brian Bogusevic said.
Indeed. Bogusevic capped an eighth-inning rally with a two-out, tie-breaking single to bring home the winning run and send the Astros to a 3-2 win over the Rockies at Minute Maid Park -- Houston's first season-opening series triumph since 2006.
The Astros got off the mat to score twice in the eighth inning after two outs to stun the Rockies and put them over .500 for the first time since July 29, 2009, when they were 51-50.
Houston got it done with another stellar starting pitching performance, this time from Bud Norris, as well as solid defense and the clutch hitting of Bogusevic, a left-handed hitter who smacked the first pitch he saw from lefty reliever Rex Brothers into right to give the Astros a last at-bat win.
Brett Myers, who made 66 starts the past two years, pitched around a leadoff double to Michael Cuddyer in the ninth to nail down his first save since 2007, when he was the closer for the Phillies.
"The last two years, we were 0-8 one year and 0-5 last year, and I think we're a closer team this year," Myers said. "Some of the younger guys feel more comfortable here and feel they need to produce to make this team better and they're doing that. They have good approaches at the plate."
Norris, who made his Major League debut in the aforementioned game in July 2009, worked seven innings and allowed four hits, two runs and three walks -- all to Jason Giambi -- while striking out eight batters. Astros starting pitchers have posted a 0.88 ERA in the first three games behind Wandy Rodriguez, Lucas Harrell and Norris.
"We knew coming out of Spring Training we had some guys with good arms and enjoy being back out on the mound and can pitch," manager Brad Mills said. "To see them come through like this these first three games, it's great to get them started and get their confidence moving in the right direction."
Norris snapped the Astros' starters streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings to start the season, but he was plenty good enough to keep the Astros in the game. Fernando Abad and Wilton Lopez (1-0) handled the eighth before giving the ball to Myers in the ninth.
"You want to come to the ballpark and expect to win, and that's what we're trying to do here is build something," Norris said. "We've got the talent to do it, and we all work together."
Norris gave up a two-run homer to Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario with two outs in the fourth inning, but the Astros got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Carlos Lee doubled home Jose Altuve, who led off the inning with a triple. That was the only run Rockies starter Juan Nicasio allowed, as the Astros managed just one hit over the next three innings.
Trailing 2-1 with two outs in the eighth and no one on base, Altuve and J.D. Martinez had back-to-back singles to put runners at first and second. Lee hit a broken-bat grounder to third, but Rockies third baseman Jordan Pacheco skipped the throw past first to allow Altuve to score the tying run.
Bogusevic shot the next pitch into right field to plate pinch-runner Brian Bixler and put the Astros ahead, 3-2.
"Brothers is a real tough pitcher and real tough on lefties," Bogusevic said, "and you have to take advantage of anything he gives you, because if you get behind him he's going to be real hard on you."
Brothers held left-handers to a .190 batting average and struck out 29 lefties in 59 at-bats last year, but he couldn't sneak a first-pitch slider past Bogusevic.
"That was a breaking ball that was going to be for a strike, but I didn't want it that good in that situation, and he put a good swing on it," Brothers said. "It's a fine line. In the spring, I talked to people about with two outs slowing it down, and I didn't think I did a good job."