Houston Wins Toronto Series With A Blowout and a Squeaker

thonAugust 10: Houston 13, Toronto 0

The opener was a laugher with Houston’s starter Mike Cuellar walking just one, allowing no extra base hits, and no runs in eight innings. The Houston batters were also on point. Alan Ashby reached safely thrice and the other eight Astros reached twice each. Lance Berkman homered for a third straight game.

                   R  H BB
HOU 220 230 130 - 13 16  3
TOR 000 000 000 -  0  7  1
HR: M. Alou (23), L. Berkman (24),
D. Thon (5)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
M. Cuellar   8.0  0  0  0  1  7  
R. Halladay  3.1  6  6  1  1  1 

HOU 51-61, TOR 49-63

August 11: Toronto 6, Houston 5

After that blowout, the teams went back-and-forth in this one. Jeff Bagwell tied it up with a solo dong in the top of the ninth before Shawn Green ended things with a solo dong in the bottom of the inning.

                  R  H BB
HOU 000 021 101 - 5 12  5
TOR 001 031 001 - 6  8  8

HR: J. Bagwell (23), C. Cedeno (12), S. Green (19)

starters   IP  R ER HR BB SO
N. Ryan   6.0  5  5  0  8  8  
J. Key    6.0  4  4  1  3  1 

HOU 51-62, TOR 50-63

August 12: Houston 5, Toronto 4

In another tight contest, Toronto left-fielder Shannon Stewart’s error on what could have been the third out in the fourth inning loomed large when Cesar Cedeno followed it with a two-RBI double.

Edwin Encarnacion slammed a pinch-hit dinger in the bottom of the ninth to get Toronto within a run, but Octavio Dotel pitched around it to complete the series win for Houston.

Houston’s glove-first shortstop Lil’ Dickie Thon has the ninth-lowest wOBA among qualified batters but busted out with the bat in this series, taking one walk and going 7-for-12 with three doubles and a homerun.

                  R H BB
HOU 000 230 000 - 5 9  4
TOR 030 000 001 - 4 8  4

HR: R. Mulliniks (6), E. Encarnacion (9)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Oswalt     7.0  3  3  1  3  6  
D. Alexander  8.0  5  3  0  4  6 

HOU 52-62, TOR 50-64

Houston Finally Takes A Series Against Texas in Fifth Try

August 7: Texas 2, Houston 0

The two teams traveled to Arlington for the back-end of a home-and-home series. Texas swept the previous three games, and made it four in a row on the strength of a filthy Ferguson Jenkins. Jenkins whirled his third shutout of the year, all of which have occured in his last six starts. The shutout looked like it was over when the ‘Stros loaded the bases with no outs to start the seventh, but Jenkins whiffed Morgan Ensberg and got Dickie Thon to roll into a double play.

Houston dropped their seventh straight.

                  R H BB
HOU 000 000 000 - 0 5  3
TEX 000 010 10x - 2 8  1
HR: A. Rodriguez (25)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Oswalt   6.2  2  2  1  0  6  
F. Jenkins  9.0  0  0  0  3  4 

HOU 48-61, TEX 50-60

August 8: Houston 11, Texas 6

Houston had gone 25 straight innings without scoring a run before Lance Berkman busted them out of the slump with a three-run jobbie in the first. Bob Watson added a three-run triple in the third, and the Astros bats stayed hot all game.

Mike Scott backed them up with a strong game on the mound.

Josh Hamilton had a four-hit day for the losers.

                   R  H BB
HOU 303 000 113 - 11 14  6
TEX 000 000 024 -  6 12  2
HR: M. Alou (22), L. Berkman (22), J. Hamilton (13)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
M. Scott   7.0  2  2  0  1  5  
C. Hough   6.0  6  5  1  5  4 

HOU 49-61, TEX 50-61

richard cruz
August 9: Houston 3, Texas 0

J.R. Richard overpowered the Rangers hitters, allowing just three hits on the way to his first shutout of the year. All the runs in the game came on another Berkman blast, and the slugging Astro raised his season wOBA to a cool .400.

                  R H BB
HOU 003 000 000 - 3 4  7
TEX 000 000 000 - 0 3  2
HR: L. Berkman (23)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
J.R. Richard  9.0  0  0  0  2  6 
Y. Darvish    7.0  3  3  1  6  8 

HOU 50-61, TEX 50-62

Rangers Continue Owning Astros In Battle of Texas

darvishAugust 3: Texas 4, Houston 2

There were nearly twice as many walks in the game as their were hits. Juan Gone and I-Rod tagged J.R. Richard with big flies and Yu Darvish, when avoiding walks, struck out everyone in the stadium to lead the Rangers to victory.

Darvish is striking out 9.9 per nine innings pitched which puts him in a tie for second place with his rotation-mate Nolan Ryan. ( They are behind Randy Johnson at 11.7).

                  R H BB
TEX 020 002 000 - 4 4  9
HOU 000 011 000 - 2 5  7

HR: J. Gonzalez (16),
I. Rodriguez (12), J. Wynn (7)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
Y. Darvish    7.0  2  2  1  6 11  
J.R. Richard  7.0  4  4  2  7  6 

TEX 47-60, HOU 48-58

August 4: Texas 8, Houston 3

The Rangers unleashed a 15-hit barrage to bury the Astros. Julio Franco, A-Rod, Josh Hamilton, and Rafael Palmeiro all had three hits apiece.

Gerald Perry yielded three runs in the first two innings before settling in and cruising through the rest of the game without giving up another run.

                  R  H BB
TEX 023 020 100 - 8 15  3
HOU 120 000 000 - 3  5  3
HR: A. Rodriguez (24), J. Hamilton (12), A. Beltre (11)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
G. Perry    9.0  3  3  0  3  6  
M. Cuellar  4.2  7  7  2  3  1 

TEX 48-60, HOU 48-59

August 5: Texas 2, Houston 0

The Nolan Ryans of both Texas teams went head-to-head for the first time all season, and they both seemed fired up to face themselves. They hurled complete games, a rare feat for both. The Texas version was just a bit better though and put together his first nine-inning shutout of the season while walking three and whiffing 10.

The only runs of the game were scored in the top of the first. Mike Hargrove started the game with a walk, and Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez both singled to load the bases. A-Rod drove in Hargrove and Palmeiro with a single before the two Ryans dug in and gave up no more.

The teams have almost identical records so far, but you wouldn’t believe it if you only saw the games they’ve played against each other. For some reason the Rangers have dominated the season series, winning 11 of 14.

                  R H BB
TEX 200 000 000 - 2 5  4
HOU 000 000 000 - 0 3  3
HR: none

starters   IP  R ER HR BB SO
N. Ryan   9.0  0  0  0  3 10  
N. Ryan   9.0  2  2  0  4  7 

TEX 49-60, HOU 48-60

After Sweeping Houston, Baltimore Putting Pressure on BoSox

July 31: Baltimore 6, Houston 2

Houston arrived in Baltimore fresh off their stunning sweep of Boston that helped the Orioles’ cause of catching the Red Sox for the Original Division lead.

The big Baltimore bats belted Nolan Ryan for six runs in less than three innings and sucked any drama out of the first game pretty quick. George Sisler spanked four hits and Harry Howell went the distance for Baltimore.

                  R  H BB
HOU 110 000 000 - 2  8  6
BAL 231 000 00x - 6 13  4

HR: F. Robinson (22)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
N. Ryan    2.2  6  6  1  2  3  
H. Howell  9.0  2  2  0  6  5 

HOU 48-55, BAL 58-45

August 1: Baltimore 9, Houston 1

The Orioles again jumped out to a big lead right from the get-go, aided this time by a Jeff Bagwell error, an Andy Ashby passed ball, and a Matt Wieters home run.

Urban Shocker was one inning away from his first shutout, but Houston pushed across a single run in the ninth to spoil it. Shocker was wild and walked eight, but none of the walks figured into Houston’s run. It was Shocker’s finest day in what has been a bad season, and the third straight complete game by a Baltimore starter.

                  R  H BB
HOU 000 000 001 - 1  6  8
BAL 520 000 20x - 9 13  3

HR: M. Wieters (7)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Oswalt   6.0  7  2  1  1  6  
U. Shocker  9.0  1  1  0  8  4 

HOU 48-56, BAL 59-45

frob

August 2: Baltimore 8, Houston 7 (10 innings)

The Orioles again jumped out to an immediate big lead. Ken Williams and Cal Ripken both homered in a six-run first inning.

But Houston managed to inject some drama into this one. Starter Johnny Niggeling handed a 7-2 lead to the rusty Baltimore bullpen, and the relievers nearly choked it away. Hoyt Wilhelm faced three batters, all of whom came around to score on a Jeff Bagwell blast. Lance Berkman added a solo dong later in the inning to make it 7-6 Baltimore.

Baltimore’s seventh run came unearned on a passed ball in the third inning when it seemed fairly meaningless but loomed large after Houston’s rally.

Darren O’Day then coughed up the tying run to Houston in the ninth after walking two and giving up a Cesar Cedeno double. It stayed dead-locked until Frank Robinson led off the bottom of the 10th against Billy Wagner and launched a rocket into the Camden seats to walk off the sweep.

Baltimore took all six of their games against Houston for the season and improved to a dominant 21-3 against the Expansion Division. They are breathing down the neck of the suddenly vulnerable Red Sox.

                    R  H BB
HOU 000 002 401 0 - 7  9  8
BAL 601 000 000 1 - 8 10  2

HR: J. Bagwell (22), L. Berkman (21),
F. Robinson (23), K. Williams (8), C. Ripken (8)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
M. Scott      8.0  7  6  2  2  5  
J. Niggeling  6.0  2  2  0  5  3 

HOU 48-57, BAL 60-45

Houston Pulls Off Stunning Sweep Facing Clemens, Martinez, & Young In Boston

Lance-Berkman-001235589July 28: Houston 8, Boston 3

Lance Berkman went bananas and crushed three home runs, two against Roger Clemens and one against Koji Uehara. Berkman’s dingers drove in six runs. Clemens allowed five earned runs in a second straight start, and his ERA swelled to just over 3.00.

Mike Scott tipped on the tightrope for five shutout innings while stranding 11 Bostonians in just those first five frames. Boston finally got some baserunners all the way around the diamond in the sixth and knocked out a wild Scott, but Larry Anderson and Billy Wagner slammed the door from there.

                  R  H BB
HOU 004 020 101 - 8 10  4
BOS 000 003 000 - 3 10  8

HR: L. Berkman-3 (20)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
M. Scott    5.2  3  3  0  8  3  
R. Clemens  6.0  6  5  2  3  7 

HOU 46-54, BOS 59-41

July 29: Houston 5, Boston 4

No way Houston could follow up an upset of Clemens with an upset of Pedro Martinez, right? Wrong. Like Scott the day before, J.R. Richard was wild but limited the damage.

Jeff Bagwell and Jim Wynn both knocked solo dongs against Pedro, but the Red Sox carried a 4-2 lead into the top of the seventh. When the first three Astros to bat in the seventh loaded the bases, Martinez got the hook in favor of Jonathan Papelbon. All three inherited runners came home on a Jeff Bagwell single and Moises Alou sac fly, and Houston edged into a one-run lead. Houston relievers Octavio Dotel, Hal Woodeschick, and Larry Anderson combined for three shutout innings to close out a shocker of a series win for the Astros.

Tris Speaker slapped four hits and swiped two bags for Boston but the team didn’t get much else out of their lineup except for a lot of walks and stranded runners.

It was the third straight sub-par start by Pedro, and his ERA also grew to just over 3.00.

                  R H BB
HOU 100 010 300 - 5 7  6
BOS 210 100 000 - 4 9 10

HR: J. Bagwell (21), J. Wynn (6)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
J.R. Richard  6.0  4  3  0  8  2  
P. Martinez   6.0  5  5  2  4  9 

HOU 47-54, BOS 59-42

July 30: Houston 5, Boston 4

The Astros jumped Cy Young in the first inning for a quick 4-0 lead. Craig Biggio, Berkman, Cesar Cedeno, and Art Howe all had hits in the inning. Young settled into a groove for the next seven innings, during which he never really got in trouble.

That allowed the Boston offense some time to mount a comeback, and Moises Alou gave them a helping hand with a bad error in the fourth inning. Carlton Fisk drove in two with a bomb, one of three hits for Pudge. The Sox added a third run later in the frame to get within a run, and then tied it up in the bottom of the eighth on hits by Manny Ramirez and Fisk.

The way Young was cruising, it seemed more than likely that Boston would pull out the win. But the last three Houston batters, Howe, Dickie Thon, and John Edwards, all singled in the top of the ninth to push across the go-ahead run, and Billy Wagner threw a perfect bottom of the ninth to cap off perhaps the most surprising sweep of the season.

Houston took four of six from Boston on the year. The Red Sox have had an inexplicably hard time against the Expansion Division, going just 11-10 so far when the rest of the Original teams are 97-50 in inter-division play. The Sox have now dropped eight straight after never dropping more than three in a row before this skid. Their once mammoth lead in the Original Division is down to just two games.

                  R  H BB
HOU 400 000 001 - 5  8  4
BOS 000 300 010 - 4 10  1

HR: C. Fisk (13)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
M. Cuellar  7.0  3  1  1  1  3  
C. Young    9.0  5  5  0  4  2 

HOU 48-54, BOS 59-43

Anaheim Scores Series In Houston

July 25: Anaheim 7, Houston 3

Five different Angels rung up multi-hit games, led by Rod Carew’s four and Mike Trout’s three.

Houston’s Moises Alou homered in his fourth straight game, and his five homers in that stretch have propelled him to a tie for fourth most in the league at 21.

                  R  H BB
ANA 210 010 111 - 7 14  2
HOU 003 000 000 - 3  9  3

HR: M. Alou (21)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
D. Chance   8.0  3  3  1  3  2  
M. Cuellar  7.0  5  5  0  2  6 

ANA 37-61, HOU 44-53

weaverJuly 26: Anaheim 5, Houston 2

Anaheim was still hitterish the next day, and Houston’s Nolan Ryan was his usual generous self when it came to handing out free passes to first base. And Anaheim had Jered Weaver, top pitcher in the Expansion Division, in fine form on the mound, giving up just two hits and one walk in his seven frames. It all added up to a quickly claimed series win for los angeles.

                  R  H BB
ANA 003 002 000 - 5 10  9
HOU 020 000 000 - 2  3  3

HR: A. Howe (3)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Weaver  7.0  2  2  1  2  4  
N. Ryan    5.0  5  5  0  6  6 

ANA 38-61, HOU 44-54

July 27: Houston 4, Anaheim 0

Roy Oswalt was bound and determined to not be swept by the lowly Angels, and he bulldozed through a complete game and claimed his first shutout of the year.

Houston’s Killer B’s were unusually quiet in the series, but Craig Biggio made a little noise in this one with two doubles, a run, and a RBI.

                  R H BB
ANA 000 000 000 - 0 5  3
HOU 300 100 00x - 4 5  6

HR: none

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
K. Escobar   7.0  4  4  0  5  4  
R. Oswalt    9.0  0  0  0  3  8 

ANA 38-62, HOU 45-54

Alou Crushes Four Homers In Houston Series Win In Kansas City

alouJuly 22: Houston 6, Kansas City 4

Moises Alou was very rude to Mark Gubicza, blasting a two-run homer in the first inning and a three-run job in the second inning.

Willie Wilson tried to carry the Royals on his back with his finest day of a fine season. He singled thrice, stole second thrice, and collected his first four-bagger of the year on an inside-the-park sprint around the bases as the ball rattled around the expansive Kauffman Stadium outfield walls. He was involved in all four KC runs, scoring three and driving in two. Wilson leads the lead in singles and stolen bases, and leads the Expansion Division with a .315 batting average.

Roy Oswalt contained the rest of KC’s lineup enough to make Alou’s five RBI stand up.

                  R H BB
HOU 231 000 000 - 6 8  4
KC  101 200 000 - 4 9  2

HR: M. Alou-2 (18), W. Wilson (1)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Oswalt   8.0  4  4  1  2  9  
M. Gubicza  7.0  6  5  2  4  5 

HOU 43-51, KC 49-46

July 23: Houston 13, Kansas City 3

Bud Black made a spot start to rest Jose Rosado’s arm, and it did not go well. Cesar Cedeno and Jeff Bagwell both took him deep as the Astros abused him for seven runs in 3.2 innings. Things got worse in the sixth inning when John Mayberry and Wilson both made errors and Alou crushed another dinger.

Alex Gordon smacked two doubles and a homer in KC’s losing effort.

                   R  H BB
HOU 020 515 000 - 13 14  6
KC  001 100 001 -  3  9  2

HR: J. Bagwell (20), M. Alou (19), C. Cedeno (11),
A. Gordon (5), D. Porter (8)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
M. Scott   7.0  2  2  2  1  3  
B. Black   3.2  7  7  2  3  2

HOU 44-51, KC 49-47

July 24: Kansas City 11, Houston 5

Seven different hurlers pitched in this game, and every one of them gave up at least one earned run. Both starters were actually pretty good–J.R. Richard was decent for Houston, and Kevin Appier was on top of his game, and it was a low scoring and close affair through six innings.

Once the bullpens entered the game, things got a bit out of hand. Alou homered again, his fourth of the series, and a string of three Houston relievers had a devilish time trying to get out of the eighth inning as 11 Royals came to the plate and scored seven. George Brett crushed a grand slam and Darrell Porter a three-run homer in the inning.

                   R  H BB
HOU 010 000 013 -  5 13  1
KC  001 000 37x - 11 13  9

HR: M. Alou (20), G. Brett (5), D. Porter (9)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
J.R. Richard  6.1  3  3  0  5  3  
K. Appier     7.0  1  1  0  0  3 

HOU 44-52, KC 50-47