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Astros short hops
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10/06/2004 7:55 PM ET
Astros short hops
Offense clicking, bullpen struggles lead to Game 4 loss
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HOUSTON -- The offense is coming at a record pace for the Houston Astros, but the wins are not.

Including Sunday's 6-5, Game 4 loss to the Braves, the Astros have scored 24 runs in this National League Division Series, a franchise postseason record. But the runs have translated into only two wins in four games, forcing a decisive Game 5 on Monday in Atlanta.

The Killer B's have all contributed. Craig Biggio, Carlos Beltran, Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman are batting a combined .353 (24-for-68) in the series with 16 runs scored and 13 RBIs.

Houston has also set a Division Series record with eight home runs, including Biggio's three-run shot on Sunday. Atlanta had the previous record with seven in 1995.

Vitals check
A look at key statistics through Game 4 of the NLDS.

Team stats

Digits Trend The Deal
ERA 4.06 Bullpen unable to hold another lead
BA .291 Double-digit hits in three of four games
BA w/ RISP .222 (2-for-9) Good enough to get a win
Runs 5 Tough to score eight runs every day
Fldg % 1.000 No errors for second straight game

Who's hot?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Craig Biggio .333 (3-for-4, 3 RBIs on Sunday) Answers doubters with big Game 4
Jeff Bagwell .333 (2-for-4 on Sunday) Only other Astro with two hits in Game 4

Who's not?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Jose Vizcaino .167 Finally got a hit; 1-for-15 in the series

Behind the numbers
Astros pitchers have a 4.06 ERA in the series to Atlanta's 5.84, but Houston's troubles have been in the bullpen. Astros relievers have surrendered 10 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings, good for a 6.75 ERA. Twice the relievers have coughed up a lead in the late innings.

Frozen moment
The Astros made the most of their home-field advantage in the second inning. Biggio hit what would have been an inning-ending popout to foul ground along the third-base line, but the ball struck the stadium roof before it was caught. By rule, it was a foul ball, giving Biggio an opportunity to hit a three-run homer in what turned into a five-run inning.

Astros' offense kicks into gear
Year Round Runs Opponent Result
2004 NLDS 24 Atlanta  
1980 NLCS 19 Philadelphia L, 3-2
1986 NLCS 17 N.Y. Mets L, 4-2
1999 NLDS 15 Atlanta L, 3-1
1998 NLDS 8 San Diego L, 3-1
1981 West* 6 Los Angeles L, 3-2
2001 NLDS 6 Atlanta L, 3-0
1997 NLDS 5 Atlanta L, 3-0
*-Split season because of in-season player strike. First- and second-half division winners met in playoffs
Second guess
Where to start? There were plenty of second-guesses for Astros manager Phil Garner. He removed left fielder Biggio, who hit a three-run homer and was a triple shy of the cycle, for more defensively-sound Jason Lane in the seventh inning. He used closer Brad Lidge with a man on and one out in the eighth, then had to pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the inning.

That set up Astros right-hander Russ Springer to face the dangerous J.D. Drew in the ninth. With speedster Rafael Furcal at second and first base open, Garner elected to pitch to Drew with two outs, and Drew delivered what turned out to be the game-winning single.

Divergent paths
With Sunday's loss, the Astros dropped to 1-5 in postseason Game 4s. The Braves improved to 4-1 in Division Series Game 4s.

Sleeping giant
Chipper Jones went 2-for-4 on Sunday, extending his National League lead in Division Series hits to 34. Before Sunday, he was 0-for-11 in the series.

Last word
"They were up against a wall today. Now we flip a coin tomorrow and see what happens. I've been there before as a player, going to Atlanta needing a win, and we got it. We've won there. We know we can beat these guys." -- Jeff Kent

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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