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 Clemens, 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, Clemens 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

Seattle Slugs Houston

arodJuly 19: Seattle 5, Houston 4

Seattle’s Felix Hernandez has had a maddening season after being expected to be the #1 starter. Luckily for Seattle, Randy Johnson, Jamie Moyer, and Freddy Garcia have all stepped up and been better than expected and pitching has been a strong suit for Seattle overall. But Hernandez has scuffled along to a 5.45 ERA coming into this game, when it looked like he was finally going to put together his first great game of the season.

Seattle’s offense backed up Hernandez with five runs, including a walk and two doubles by Edgar Martinez, plus a solo homer from Ken Griffey in the top of the ninth that looked pretty meaningless since it only stretched the Seattle lead from 4-0 to 5-0.

Hernandez took the hill in the bottom of the ninth with his first complete game and first shutout in his sights, but once again things didn’t come easily for Felix. Moises Alou and Lance Berkman started the bottom of the ninth with back-to-back singles. Bob Watson then grounded out, but Alou came home to spoil Hernandez’s shutout. Then Jim Wynn spoiled things even more with a two-run bomb, and all of a sudden Houston was within two runs with just one out.

Out came Felix, in came Arthur Rhodes, and it looked like even the victory was going to be spoiled for Felix. Art Howe singled, Dickie Thon grounded out for the second out, Morgan Ensberg walked, and Craig Biggio drove in Thon to get Houston within a run with runners on the corners. (Griffey’s homer did not look meaningless any longer.) Out came Rhodes, in came Michael Jackson, and Seattle breathed a sigh of relief with a fly-out from Jeff Bagwell. The win brought Seattle’s record to a game over .500.

                  R  H BB
SEA 001 010 201 - 5 12  6
HOU 000 000 004 - 4  8  3

HR: K. Griffey (18), J. Wynn (5)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
F. Hernandez  8.1  3  3  1  2  6  
J.R. Richard  6.2  4  3  0  5  4 

SEA 47-46, HOU 42-49

July 20: Seattle 4, Houston 2

It was lefty-on-lefty action with Randy Johnson and Mike Cuellar facing off. The Big Unit increased his already huge league lead in strikeouts by recording 10 more Ks–his ninth start reaching double digit strikeouts. He also walked six, including three in the seventh inning that loaded the bases and earned Johnson the hook though he was yet to allow a run. Two of those runs came around and were charged to Johnson, but the Seattle hitters were slugging against Cuellar. Ichiro Suzuki scored after leading off the game with a triple, and Alex Rodriguez drove a two-run bomb for the winning runs in the sixth.

                  R H BB
SEA 110 002 000 - 4 6  5
HOU 000 000 200 - 2 5  7
HR: A. Rodriguez (20)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Johnson  6.2  2  2  0  6 10  
M. Cuellar  6.0  4  4  1  3  3 

SEA 48-46, HOU 42-50

July 21: Seattle 5, Houston 3

Then the Mariners really brought out the lumber in the finale. Martinez, Griffey, and A-Rod all took Nolan Ryan deep in the first five innings. Jamie Moyer’s charmed season continued on the hill for Seattle as well. The M’s are on a 16-4 run that has them nipping at the heels of the division leading Royals.

                  R H BB
SEA 021 020 000 - 5 6  7
HOU 001 001 010 - 3 9  0
HR: E. Martinez (9), K. Griffey (19),
A. Rodriguez (21), J. Bagwell (19)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Moyer    7.0  2  2  1  0  3  
N. Ryan     4.1  5  5  3  4  5 

SEA 49-46, HOU 42-51

Houston Takes Advantage of New York’s Starting Woes

jeff-bagwell-jawsJuly 15: Houston 6, New York 4

The Astros scored all their runs in the bottom of the fifth:

Lefty Gomez pitching
Morgan Ensberg singles
Dickie Thon singles
Johnny Edwards singles, Ensberg scores
Craig Biggio sac fly, Thon scores
Jeff Bagwell homers, Edwards scores
Moises Alou homers
Bob Watson strikes out
Cesar Cedeno walks
Jim Wynn walks
Ensberg singles, Cedeno scores
Red Ruffing replaces Gomez
Thon flies out

                  R H BB
NY  000 110 200 - 4 9  4
HOU 000 060 00x - 6 8  6

HR: C. Keller (12), J. Bagwell (17), M. Alou (16)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
L. Gomez   4.2  6  6  2  5  3  
N. Ryan    7.2  4  4  1  4  8 

NY 48-40, HOU 41-47

July 16: Houston 10, New York 4

The woes of New York’s rotation continue. The Astros punished Ray Caldwell for seven runs in just three innings. Houston piled up 17 hits in the game, including at least one from each batter and three apiece from Jose Cruz and Cesar Cedeno.

Lou Gehrig pulled back into a share of the home run lead.

                   R  H BB
NY  100 100 101 -  4  8  3
HOU 230 301 10x - 10 17  5

HR: L. Gehrig (23), A. Rodriguez (12), J. Bagwell (18)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Caldwell  3.0  7  6  1  4  1  
R. Oswalt    7.0  3  3  2  2  4 

NY 48-41, HOU 42-47

July 17: New York 5, Houston 2

New York finally got a good start, this time from Roger Clemens, who bounced back after several tough outings in a row. Gehrig walked twice, tripled, and dingered again to reclaim the home run lead all for himself.

Houston and New York split their six games for the season.

                  R H BB
NY  102 000 200 - 5 6  7
HOU 100 000 001 - 2 8  4

HR: L. Gehrig (24), C. Cedeno (10)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Clemens  7.0  1  1  0  3  1
M. Scott    7.0  5  5  1  7  8

NY 49-41, HOU 42-48

Houston Squeaks By To Upset Oakland

July 12: Houston 3, Oakland 2

Mike Scott was marvy for Houston, giving up only a two-run bomb to Jason Giambi in seven innings. Octavio Dotel followed that up with two perfect innings. The Houston bats managed to get to Chief Bender for just enough offense on four walks, six singles, and a triple from Cesar Cedeno.

                  R H BB
HOU 010 010 100 - 3 7  4
OAK 000 020 000 - 2 5  1

HR: J. Giambi (10)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
M. Scott   7.0  2  2  1  1  4  
C. Bender  8.0  3  3  0  4  6 

HOU 39-46, OAK 44-41

reggieJuly 13: Oakland 7, Houston 1

J.R. Richard got through the first six innings giving up only two runs to Oakland, but got into a two-out, bases loaded jam in the seventh. Brad Lidge came on to try to bail Richard out, but instead Lidge walked in a run and then served up a grand salami to Reggie Jackson. It was Reggie’s second dinger of the game.

                  R H BB
HOU 000 000 100 - 1 5  7
OAK 100 001 50x - 7 8  6

HR: M. Ensberg (6), J. Foxx (15), R. Jackson-2 (15)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
J.R. Richard  6.2  5  5  2  4  5  
B. Zito       6.0  1  1  1  6  2 

HOU 39-47, OAK 45-41

July 14: Houston 4, Oakland 3

Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Mark McGwire all went yard for Oakland, but they were all solo homers and were the only runs Oakland managed against Mike Cuellar and Billy Wagner. It could have been enough if not for three errors committed by A’s shortstop Bert Campaneris. Two of those errors contributed directly to two unearned runs for Houston, and the Astros scraped by with a narrow series win in Oakland.

The teams shan’t meet again and split their six games of the season.

A couple of key A’s players have gone into bad slumps at the plate. Rickey Henderson is 2-for-32 over his last eight games, and Home Run Baker 1-for-24 in his last six. Foxx, on the other hand, has been hot, crushing five homers in his last 12 games and jumping to the ninth spot in runs created in the league.

                  R  H BB
HOU 001 001 110 - 4 10  2
OAK 000 001 02x - 3  9  4

HR: J. Foxx (16), A. Simmons (13), M. McGwire (2)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
M. Cuellar  7.1  2  2  2  4  1  
R. Waddell  9.0  4  2  0  2  5 

HOU 40-47, OAK 45-42

Houston Killer B’s Blast Way to Series Win in Anaheim

bsjJuly 8: Houston 7, Anaheim 2

Two of Houston’s Killer B’s wasted no time getting back to bashing in the second half. Craig Biggio began the game with a single, and Jeff Bagwell followed it up with a boom boom. The score remained 2-0 until the bottom of the sixth when Anaheim tied it up on three consecutive bingles.

With two outs and nobody on base in the top of the seventh, Biggio and Bagwell both took a base on balls, Moises Alou singled in Biggio, and Lance Berkman doubled in Bagwell to boost the ‘Stros to victory.

                  R  H BB
HOU 200 000 212 - 7 11  7
ANA 000 002 000 - 2  7  2

HR: J. Bagwell (16), C. Cedeno (8)

starters         IP  R ER HR BB SO
M. Cuellar      6.0  2  2  0  1  5  
A. Messersmith  6.2  4  4  1  5  4 

HOU 37-45, ANA 30-52

July 9: Houston 4, Anaheim 3 (11 innings)

A Berkman blunder helped the Angels score two in the first. Berkman absolved that sin with a go-ahead solo blast in the eighth. The Angels came right back to tie it in the bottom of the eighth on a Mike Trout single and stolen base and a Jim Edmonds RBI single, and the score stayed knotted at three until Bob Watson took Bryan Harvey to the bleachers in the 11th.

Anaheim had zero extra base hits in the first two games of the series.

                     R H BB
HOU 000 001 110 01 - 4 9  6
ANA 200 000 010 00 - 3 8  5

HR: L. Berkman (17), B. Watson (12)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
N. Ryan    7.0  2  0  0  2  7  
D. Chance  7.0  2  2  0  5  2 

HOU 38-45, ANA 30-53

July 10: Anaheim 7, Houston 1

Roy Oswalt looked beauteous through four efficient shutout innings, but things went bad in the bottom of the fifth. Troy Glaus began it with a homer, and Torii Hunter, Rod Carew, and Jim Fregosi hit back-to-back-to-back doubles to end Oswalt’s day. An Art Howe boner in the same inning helped the Angels to a 4-0 lead, which was more than enough for their ace Jered Weaver, who beat up the Houston batters for seven innings.

                  R H BB
HOU 000 000 100 - 1 4  3
ANA 000 040 30x - 7 8  5

HR: C. Cedeno (9), T. Glaus (13)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Oswalt   4.0  4  2  1  1  4  
J. Weaver   7.0  1  1  1  2  4 

HOU 38-46, ANA 31-53