05/14/09 1:00 AM ET
Astros use 24 hits to outlast Rockies
Each starter has at least two knocks, including Hampton
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
This was one of those wins that kept the researchers busy flipping through the record books. Turns out, this performance was, not surprisingly, one of the best in franchise history. A few nuggets:
It was the 20th time the Astros have logged 20 or more hits in a single game.
It was also the most hits they've had against the Rockies, and the 24 hits fell one short of the club record of 25, set twice in 1976.
Their 24 hits are the most by a National League team this season. [The Indians recorded 25 in a game against the Yankees on April 18.]
It was the first time all nine starters, playing in a National League game, got two hits in a single game since May 1, 1985, when the Braves did so against the Reds.
"You play long enough, you're going to have a few games like this, particularly with the guys we have in this lineup," Lance Berkman said. "It's nice to have a game where everybody on the team really has a great night at the plate. It's not something that you sit there and say, 'Well, this is how we should hit every night,' because you do realize it's a special-type deal where everything just kind of fell into place for us."
And for Berkman, too. He looked like the Puma of old in this game, logging four hits and reaching base in all five plate appearances.
"That's good, but it's also a little discouraging when you go 4-for-4 and you look up and you're hitting .216," Berkman quipped.
Hitting left-handed against Jason Marquis, Berkman logged two singles and a walk. He then switched to the right side -- his less comfortable side in the wake of his left wrist injury -- to face Glendon Rusch and singled in the fifth and sixth frames.
"Lance is starting to come," manager Cecil Cooper said. "I thought before this, he was swinging the bat a little bit better. It's always good to see him get some hits. I'm sure it helped him relax a little bit as well. He wasn't the only guy. Everybody kind of chipped in. It was good to see it."
Rusch entered the game with the bases loaded in the fourth, and Geoff Blum cleared them with his first of two doubles on the night. Blum also doubled off Rusch in the seventh to drive in Hunter Pence.
"The history between us -- he owns me," Blum said of Rusch. "He's always gotten a fastball inside on me and jammed me pretty good. I decided to take a chance and get ready a little bit early, and he did me a favor by leaving it up out of the zone. I just got lucky."
Even pitcher Mike Hampton logged two hits. Hampton was 2-for-3 and scored twice.
On the pitching side, Hampton squandered the Astros' first lead by allowing the Rockies to tie the game at 3 in the second inning. By the time he allowed Colorado's final two runs, however, Houston had already scored 13 runs and was, for a while, safe from a Rockies rally.
"The way we were swinging the bats early, I thought, just keep the runs to a minimum -- try not to give up the big innings and we'll be able to win this game," Hampton said.
"I threw a few more four-seamers. I just wanted to go after guys more. You never like to give up runs, but you understand in this ballpark it's a good possibility if you're not making quality pitches that's going to happen."
The implementation of the humidor several years back seemingly has muted a lot of the out-of-hand offensive games that were the norm through most of the first decade of the Rockies' existence. However, in the past two games, the Astros and Rox have combined to score 39 runs.
"I don't know how much of a difference it's making," Hampton, a former Rockie, said. "It seemed like the old-school games like it used to be around here -- a lot of runs, a lot of hits. You never knew what was going to happen, so you needed as many runs as you possibly could. Fortunately, we got a bunch."
The game ended up much closer than expected. Geoff Geary allowed five runs in the ninth inning, including a grand slam to Chris Iannetta that put the Rockies within four of tying. LaTroy Hawkins coaxed a fly ball from Ian Stewart to end the game.
Cooper indicated Geary may be dealing with biceps tendinitis and could be checked by doctors in the near future.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.