Maybe this is the kind of win that can galvanize a team. Not that anyone expects the 18-34 Astros to suddenly be in contention in a month, but they can’t play this poorly for this long, right? Tuesday’s dramatic 8-7 win over the Nationals was significant for so many reasons.
The Astros led 4-0 and then booted the ball around in the fifth inning to wipe the lead away. They rallied to take a lead into the ninth, only to watch Matt Lindstrom blow his second save in a week. Then they got up off the mat again in the ninth and won it on a two-run single by Lance Berkman, who had five RBIs and three hits.
“This is the kind of win that sort of gets you going a little bit because we were up big and then they tied it and they got up again and then we’re down,” Berkman said. “Now it looks like we might be headed for another loss, and suddenly you catch a few breaks and end up winning the game. It can be a big confidence-builder for us.”
And how about Brett Myers? This guy has been terrific. He gave the Astros another quality start, striking out 10 batters. He ended all seven innings in which he was on the mound with a strikeout, and allowed just one earned run in seven innings.
“Every win is huge, but we can only focus on this one and not worry about it tomorrow,” Myers said. “We really can’t go out there and say, ‘Oh, we won in [nine] innings last night and we have momentum.’”
Myers and Berkman may not see eye-to-eye on that issue, but Berkman gushed over the right-hander after the game. Puma said he loves Myers’ intensity and no-excuses approach.
“I was prepared not the like the guy just from playing against him, and I’ve got to tell you he’s one of my favorite teammates in terms of his competitiveness,” Berkman said. “He has a perfect attitude for what you’re looking for in a pitcher. If he loses 2-1 win, he’s always blaming himself and takes responsibility. He’s a competitor and not scared to throw the ball over the plate. I just think he’s a great addition to this team.”
Those quotes are interesting, to say the least. But Berkman didn’t stop there.
“That’s the kind of guy you can win with,” he said. “He’s a warrior. The day he pitches he’s focused, he’s intense and I think the team feeds on that. I think the team takes the personality of the that day’s starter, and he does a great job of bringing that intensity to the ballclub.”
Here are some bonus post-game tidbits:
- Tuesday’s walk-off hit by Berkman was his first since a walk-off homer on Aug. 29, 2008 vs. St. Louis.
- Tuesday marked Berkman’s 13th career game with at least five RBIs.
- Berkman has reached base safely in 21 of his last 22 games.
- The Astros are 4-1 in games in which Berkman has mutliple RBIs.
- Pedro Feliz had five sacrifice flies, which is one shy of his career-high of six accomplished in 2005 and 2006.
- Jeff Keppinger has four three-hit games this year and has multi-hit games in nine of his last 15 contests with a .385 average.
- Wilton Lopez stranded all three inherited runners Tuesday and has not allowed an inherited runner to score this season.
- Matt Lindstrom blew his second save in a week Tuesday and is now 11-for-13 this season and 31-for-38 in his career.
- The Astros stranded a season-high 14 runners on base Tuesday.
- Berkman committed his first error of the season in the fifth inning Tuesday. He was the only NL first baseman without an error.
The Astros will today place right-hander Chris Sampson on the 15-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis and will purchase the contract of right-hander Casey Daigle from Triple-A Round Rock. Minor League right-hander Evan Englebrook will be designated for assignment ot make room on the 40-man roster for Daigle.
Sampson is 0-0 with a 6.30 ERA in 22 appearances (20 innings) for the Astros this year. He was one of the Astros’ most dependable relievers, posting a 1.50 ERA in his first 19 games this year. But he’s allowed 12 hits and 11 earned runs in two innings in his previous three outings, boosting his ERA to 6.30.
Daigle, 29, was 1-1 with a 2.96 ERA and seven saves in 20 games for the Express. In 24 1/3 innings, he allowed 23 hits, eight earned runs and struck out 23 batters.
Daigle, the 31st overall pick in the 1999 draft by Arizona, is 2-3 with a 6.46 ERA in 20 career games in the Major Leagues (10 starts), all with Arizona. He hasn’t pitched in the Majors since appearing in 10 games in relief in 2006. He started 10 games as a rookie in 2004.