Let’s get to the important news. Carlos Lee hit two home runs last night. The second one came in the bottom of the tenth inning to give the Astros the win, 6-5, over the San Francisco Giants.
Another important matter: the Astros have returned to the .500 mark with a 19-19 record. With this win, the Astros moved to within 5 games of the first place Milwaukee Brewers after the Brewers lost to the Phillies on a ninth inning home run. The Astros are still tied with the Cubs for third place – or for those who see the glass half-full, the Astros are tied for second place with the Cubs.
Further, it appears that Phil Garner has gotten the message regarding Morgan Ensberg. Ensberg sat on the bench for the third straight game, and Mike Lamb got the start. Garner still hasn’t figured out what to do about Mark Loretta. Adam Everett, the greatest player on the face of the planet, was once again 0 for 4, and saw his average drop back to .200. Are you really telling me that Everett’s so-called defensive ability is worth this? Can Loretta really be that bad at short, even if it’s just for a game or two a week?
As for the various records being sought by players in the game: Giants star Barry Bonds did not hit any home runs, so his total still stands at 745, ten away from Hank Aaron’s 755 mark. Craig Biggio was 0 for 5, and he still stands 34 hits away from 3,000.
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And I once again want to give a shout out to Hunter Pence. Because, if not for Pence coming through in the clutch – something that non-entities like Jason Lane, Adam Everett, Orlando Palmeiro, Morgan Ensberg, and Brad Ausmus have failed to do in while – the Astros would never have been in a position for Carlos Lee’s game winning shot. With two out in the bottom of the eight, Pence hit a 2-run homer off of the left field foul pole, just over the yellow line, to tie the game at 5-5.
I really hope that all of you are enjoying watching Pence. He’s the first true Astro centerfielder to roam that green expanse at Minute Maid, and the best that the Astros have seen in center since the mid-80s when Billy Hatcher and Terry Puhl played the position.
The Astros and Giants meet again tonight, with the game set to start at 7:05 and Matt Albers on the mound for the Astros against the Giants Noah Lowry – one of the best of the young starters in the majors. -- John Royal