"You can't let that stuff bother you because I've been beat every which way you can think of," Clemens said. "They made me look good a number of times when I have only been able to go seven or not get it to the eighth, and I try to make them all aware of the fact that I am going to need help each night. I think my complete games are pretty much over."
Morgan Ensberg had a grand slam and five RBI to back the 42-year-old Clemens, who leads the major leagues with a 1.50 ERA but is just 6-3. Clemens allowed a fourth-inning homer to Preston Wilson -- the first run off the Rocket on the road in 49 1/3 innings since Sept. 14 at St. Louis.
"It was disappointing to see it get away, because once again he had another marvelous outing," Houston manager Phil Garner said. "We should have gotten the win, and normally our bullpen holds up for us, but it didn't tonight."
Houston's Craig Biggio was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning against Jason Jennings, tying Don Baylor's post-1900 major-league record of 267 times getting hit. Biggio has been hit 11 times this season -- his 10th time in double digits in 12 seasons.
"When you play this game, things are going to happen," Biggio said. "To have it happen here, in Colorado, where Don managed, is pretty nice."
Baylor, now a Mariners coach, praised Biggio after the Mariners lost 8-1 at Oakland.
"Biggio did it pretty quick," he said. "It takes a while to get to 268. It's good as long as you don't miss many at-bats. I didn't. I had 338 career homers. Biggio doesn't miss many at-bats, either. He's very competitive. He can steal you a base."
Clemens struck out seven, walked two and left after 107 pitches with a 5-1 lead.
Danny Ardoin singled off Chad Qualls leading off the eighth, and Cory Sullivan singled with one out. John Franco relieved and got pinch-hitter Luis Gonzalez to ground into a forceout, but Todd Helton followed with an RBI single.
Springer (1-3) came in and walked Wilson on a 3-2 pitch, loading the bases. After falling behind 1-2, Atkins homered into the center field seats for his first career slam.
"All I wanted to do was make contact and find a gap," Atkins said, hitting .560 (14-for-25) with nine RBI in his last six games. "The way I have been seeing the ball so well lately, it worked out even better.
Ensberg hit a sacrifice fly in the first and homered in the fifth, his third career slam. He has nine homers and 25 RBI in his last 22 games.
"This was quite a turnaround," Atkins said. "Clemens shut us down in Houston last week and tonight for seven innings, and we came away with a win."
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