1979 - Timeline
by Bob Hulsey
Apr 06 - Phil Niekro limits Houston to just three hits but the Astros make them count in a 2-1 victory over the Braves on Opening Day. A two-run single in the first by Enos Cabell stands up as J.R. Richard and Joaquin Andujar scatter seven hits.
Apr 07 - Ken Forsch fires a no-hitter, blanking Atlanta, 6-0. Bedridden two days before the gem, Forsch needs just 106 pitches, striking out three and walking two. Forsch has a tension-free ninth inning getting Rowland Office, Jerry Royster and Glenn Hubbard on routine grounders. He and his brother Bob become the first brothers to pitch no-hitters.
Apr 08 - Joe Niekro shuts out the Braves on five hits, 2-0. Cesar Cedeno's double in the first scores Terry Puhl then Jose Cruz singles home Cedeno. Niekro fans seven as the Astros start the year with a series sweep, limiting Atlanta to just one run and a dozen hits in three games.
Apr 10 - J.R. Richard ties a major-league record by throwing six wild pitches in a game against Los Angeles, but he also strikes out 13 in a 2-1 victory. Cesar Cedeno, Jose Cruz and Enos Cabell tag consecutive doubles off Burt Hooton in the fourth for the Houston runs.
Apr 11 - Cesar Cedeno belts a three-run homer off Don Sutton to lead a 10-3 triumph over the Dodgers. Enos Cabell adds three hits and drives in two. Manager Bill Virdon spots a fan tossing a bottle at L.A. skipper Tommy Lasorda and points the man out to security.
Apr 15 - Jose Cruz slams two home runs and drives in eight during a doubleheader sweep in San Francisco, 4-3 and 9-1. Cheo plates six in the nightcap as Joaquin Andujar scatters five hits for the win.
Apr 16 - Ken Forsch tosses his third straight complete game victory and his second shutout to blank the Dodgers, 4-0. A first-inning triple by Jeff Leonard is the big blow, giving Forsch all the cushion he would need.
Apr 18 - Vern Ruhle fires a six-hitter in a 4-0 whitewash in Los Angeles. A three-run second inning makes the difference keyed by a double from Jose Cruz.
Apr 20 - Jeff Leonard's sacrifice fly in the tenth scores Craig Reynolds to edge Pittsburgh, 5-4. J.R. Richard whiffs eleven but is not around for the win which goes to Joe Sambito.
Apr 21 - Deja vu? The Astros top the Pirates again, 5-4, in ten innings. This time, Jose Cruz singles home Terry Puhl with the game-winner.
Apr 22 - Astros complete the sweep of the Pirates, scoring again in their final at bat. Craig Reynolds scores in the eighth on Tim Foli's error for a 3-2 victory. Joaquin Andujar notches his third win.
Apr 25 - Dennis Lamp turns off the Astros on a five hitter. The Cubs win, 4-0. Dave Kingman and Bobby Murcer go deep off Vern Ruhle.
Apr 26 - J.R. Richard blasts a home run and Craig Reynolds drives in three to pace a 6-2 triumph in Chicago. Richard's record is now 4-0 while Joe Sambito works four innings to get his third save.
Apr 27 - Art Howe singles home Craig Reynolds for a 9-8 triumph over Pittsburgh in eleven innings. It is Howe's fourth hit and fourth RBI of the game. Reynolds also has four hits. Off the field, the Astros swap utility infielder Keith Drumright to Kansas City for pitcher George Throop.
Apr 30 - Terry Puhl's two-run homer in the ninth upends the Cardinals, 6-5. It caps a four-run rally which is just enough after Joaquin Andujar escapes a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half of the inning. The Astros finish April with a 15-6 mark, four games ahead of Cincinnati in the N.L. West.
May 01 - After scoring three runs in the top of the 11th, Houston loses to St. Louis, 7-6, when Roger Freed blasts a two-out grand slam off Joe Sambito. The Astros notch five doubles, including one by Sambito.
May 04 - George Foster singles home Ken Griffey in the tenth for a 6-5 Reds decision in Cincinnati. Johnny Bench had tied it the inning before with a sacrifice fly. Enos Cabell blasts a three-run homer to stake Houston to an early 5-1 advantage.
May 06 - After getting whalloped by the Reds in the opener, 17-5, Frank Ricelli gives Houston a doubleheader split with an 8-2 victory in the nightcap. Ricelli's three-run double caps the scoring. Enos Cabell also drives home three.
May 09 - Bob Watson singles home Jeff Leonard to give Houston a 5-4 win over St. Louis in 16 innings. Bo McLaughlin, the fifth Astro hurler, gets the victory. Tony Scott goes 5-for-7 for the Redbirds.
May 10 - Dr. John McMullen purchases the Astros from the Ford Motor Credit Corporation. The shipping magnate, a former partner of New York Yankee boss George Steinbrenner, jokes that nothing is more limited than being Steinbrenner's limited partner. On the field, St. Louis trips Houston, 3-1.
May 12 - Astros split a pair with Chicago, winning 11-3 then losing, 2-0. Six Astros have multi-hit games in the opener, led by Craig Reynolds with three hits, three RBIs and two steals. Ken Holtzman scatters six hits in the nightcap.
May 13 - Joe Niekro blanks the Cubs on five hits for a 3-0 victory. Houston manages just four hits but three of them drive in runs.
May 17 - San Francisco's Ed Halicki completes a three-game sweep as he blanks the Astros, 3-0, on a two-hitter. Singles by Cesar Cedeno and Enos Cabell and five walks are all the offense Houston could muster.
May 18 - Jose Cruz plates Craig Reynolds in the eighth with the game-winner in a 3-2 squeaker over the Padres. Reynolds keeps up his hot hitting with a three-hit effort.
May 19 - Barry Evans and Gene Tenace blast back-to-back homers off J.R. Richard in the 11th inning for a 4-2 San Diego verdict. Richard fans ten before the fateful inning.
May 20 - Astros sweep an afternoon twinbill with the Padres, 1-0 and 6-1. Terry Puhl's leadoff homer against Gaylord Perry is the first game's only run. Rick Williams scatters five hits for his first big league shutout. Houston rallies for five in the eighth to take the nightcap, keyed when two Padres let Cesar Cedeno's sacrifice fly fall between them for two runs.
May 22 - Joe Niekro claims his 100th win, a 4-1 triumph in Atlanta. Niekro scatters six hits. Enos Cabell supports with a home run. Niekro's career record stands at 100-99 but for the season he is 5-2.
May 25 - San Diego nips the Astros with a run in the tenth for a 2-1 decision. Joe Sambito is beaten by a hit batsman, a sacrifice, his own throwing error and a sacrifice fly. Also, Houston swaps pitcher Bo McLaughlin to Atlanta for pitcher Frank LaCorte.
May 26 - Jeff Leonard drives in five runs with three singles to pace a 9-0 thumping in San Diego. Joe Niekro blanks the Padres on six hits. Jose Cruz smacks a home run.
May 29 - Denny Walling singles home Craig Reynolds in the bottom of the ninth to edge Cincinnati, 2-1. Randy Niemann goes the distance for his first major league win.
May 30 - Cesar Cedeno homers off Tom Seaver and drives in three as Houston bounces the Reds, 6-3. Joe Niekro wins his seventh with help from Joe Sambito.
May 31 - Jose Cruz belts a three-run homer off Fred Norman while Rick Williams scatters seven hits in a 3-0 victory over the Reds. The win pushes Houston into first place in front of Cincinnati in the Western Division. Despite a 14-17 month, the Astros' record is 29-23.
Jun 02 - Denny Walling's pinch-hit triple in the eighth scores Jose Cruz to nip Montreal, 2-1. Joaquin Andujar scatters seven hits in a complete-game effort.
Jun 03 - Houston tallies four times off Steve Rogers to sweep the Expos, 5-4. A two-run double by Jeff Leonard is the key blow. Joe Niekro wins his eighth.
Jun 04 - Randy Niemann blanks the Phillies, 3-0, on a six-hitter. A double by Terry Puhl and a triple by Jose Cruz spark the winning rally.
Jun 05 - Steve Carlton hurls a one-hitter as Philadelphia stymies the Astros, 8-0. A single by Jeff Leonard in the seventh breaks up the no-hit bid.
Jun 06 - A three-run pinch-hit homer by Denny Walling ties the Phillies at three apiece. Cesar Cedeno does the rest, scoring the winning run after a single and a stolen base to start the eighth for a 4-3 triumph. Joe Sambito picks up the win.
Jun 08 - Joe Niekro blanks the Mets on four hits, 5-0. Enos Cabell paces the offense with two hits, two runs scored and a stolen base.
Jun 10 - George Throop gets his first and only decision in a 5-3 victory over the Mets. Craig Reynolds contributes three hits and two RBIs.
Jun 13 - Bob Watson is traded to the Red Sox for pitchers Pete Ladd, Bobby Sprowl and cash. On the field, Cesar Cedeno moves to first base, responding with three hits and three RBIs to pace a 4-3 victory over the Phillies. Art Howe homers. Terry Puhl goes 4-for-4. Joe Niekro wins his ninth straight decision to keep the Astros two games in front of the Reds.
Jun 15 - Art Howe doubles home Denny Walling in the ninth to edge Montreal, 2-1. Joaquin Andujar goes the distance for his sixth win of the year.
Jun 17 - Montreal puts a 19-3 hurt on the Astros, touching Joe Niekro for eight runs in the first three innings. George Throop and Randy Niemann are also blasted. Even winning pitcher Dan Schatzeder gets two hits.
Jun 18 - Craig Reynolds singles home Julio Gonzalez in the bottom of the 18th to outlast the Mets, 3-2. Bert Roberge takes the win. Jose Cruz adds four hits.
Jun 19 - Joaquin Andujar fires a two-hitter to halt New York, 3-1. Cesar Cedeno and Jose Cruz supply two hits apiece to account for half of the Astros' attack.
Jun 20 - An eighth-inning triple by Craig Reynolds plates Terry Puhl as Houston sweeps the Mets, 5-4. Puhl notches three hits. Joe Sambito claims his fourth win.
Jun 22 - An RBI double by Jeff Leonard and a pinch-hit single by Denny Walling gives Houston a 2-1 triumph over San Diego. The Astros manage just three hits but the pitching of a couple of Joes, Niekro and Sambito, are able to make it stand up.
Jun 23 - More late-inning heroics stun the Padres, 3-2. Pinch singles by Denny Walling and Alan Ashby in the ninth against Rollie Fingers plate the tying and winning runs. Walling has nine pinch hits in his last eleven tries.
Jun 25 - Astros split a pair with Cincinnati, losing 2-1 then winning, 4-0. Tom Seaver and friends limit the home squad to three hits in the opener but Randy Niemann blanks the Reds on six hits in the nightcap.
Jun 26 - Denny Walling's three-run homer and Jesus Alou's two-run double in the eighth shock Cincinnati in a 6-5 comeback. Bert Roberge is the beneficiary, picking up his second win.
Jun 27 - San Francisco erupts for six runs in the eighth off Ken Forsch and Tom Dixon to upend Houston, 6-3. Alan Ashby had gone deep in this one before the meltdown.
Jun 29 - Astros witness the re-hatching of the famous San Diego Chicken before a 4-1 victory. Heavy traffic delays the game for a half-hour before Ted Giannoulas breaks out of a five-foot egg to thunderous cheers. Unimpressed, Terry Puhl bashes Gaylord Perry's first pitch for a homer and Houston gets the last cluck.
Jun 30 - J.R. Richard blanks the Padres on three hits, 3-0. Cesar Cedeno belts a homer and Jose Cruz adds three hits to spark the offense. It caps a 20-8 month for Houston, now at 49-31, seven games up on the Reds in the rarified air of first place in the N.L. West Division.
Jul 01 - An error by Paul Dade in the ninth allows two Houston runs and snaps a scoreless tie. Houston tops San Diego, 4-1, with Joe Niekro claiming his 12th win of the season.
Jul 03 - A two-out double by Jose Cruz in the ninth scores Enos Cabell with the game-winner as the Astros nip the Reds, 3-2. Ken Forsch scatters six hits in a complete game victory.
Jul 04 - Fireworks in Cincinnati. The upstart Astros nip the Reds, 3-2, to take their first-ever ten-game divisional lead. Jose Cruz and Jeff Leonard drive home runs in the seventh to lead the come-from-behind victory. Joaquin Andujar and Ray Knight, ex-teammates in the Cincy farm system, start a bench-clearing brawl after hurling insults across the diamond. Joe Sambito cools the Reds with two shutout innings for the save.
Jul 06 - Jose Cruz swats a two-run homer to pace a 4-2 win in Chicago. Terry Puhl adds three hits. Joe Sambito saves his tenth in support of Joe Niekro.
Jul 07 - Cubs sweep a twinbill over Houston, winning 6-0 and 8-3. Ken Holtzman tosses a three-hitter in the opener. Mike Vail drives in four runs in the nightcap.
Jul 12 - Pittsburgh completes a three-game sweep in Houston with a 5-3 decision. Willie Stargell and Bill Madlock go deep off Joe Niekro. The Astros watch their lead over Cincinnati drop to six games.
Jul 14 - Craig Reynolds singles home Terry Puhl as the Astros snap a seven-game losing skid with a 3-2 victory over the the Cardinals. The other two runs are driven home by Enos Cabell. Joaquin Andujar gets the win.
Jul 19 - Astros pick up from the All-Star break by losing a doubleheader in Pittsburgh, 9-5 and 4-2. Art Howe has four hits in the opener, including a homer, but it is not enough to offset the Pirate attack led by Phil Garner. Bruce Kison blanks Houston for the first eight innings of the nightcap before Grant Jackson bails him out to end it.
Jul 21 - Pittsburgh wins their seventh straight over Houston with two runs in the eighth for a 6-5 verdict. Denny Walling had just given the Astros the lead with a pinch RBI single before Joe Sambito surrenders long balls to Bill Robinson and Phil Garner.
Jul 22 - Houston rallies for a 7-6 victory in St. Louis as Jose Cruz singles home Julio Gonzalez in the ninth for the game-winner. Terry Puhl homers. Enos Cabell and Jeff Leonard chime in with three hits apiece. Joe Sambito tosses two scoreless innings of relief for the win. It's just their second win in their past 14 games, shrinking what was a ten-game division lead two weeks ago down to four games.
Jul 23 - Jeff Leonard breaks a 2-2 tie with a sacrifice fly and Joe Niekro holds it there for a 3-2 victory over the Cardinals. Niekro's record improves to 14-5 with the six-hit complete-game performance.
Jul 25 - J.R. Richard fans a dozen as he beats Chicago, 6-4. It's just the second win for Richard since June 1st. Joe Sambito strikes out four of the five batters he faces to give the Cubs a 16-K headache. Houston swipes five bases while Enos Cabell contributes three hits.
Jul 27 - Dusty Baker belts a three-run homer to pace Los Angeles to an 11-7 slugfest at the Astrodome. Terry Puhl leads Houston in a losing cause with two hits and two RBIs.
Jul 28 - Ken Forsch twirls a three-hitter as the Astros top the Dodgers, 5-2, but the talk is about a brawl that clears the benches. Cesar Cedeno spikes Steve Yeager during a play at the plate. Yeager later tosses a ball out to Cedeno at first who fires it back into the L.A. bench. Ken Brett then hits Enos Cabell with a pitch and away they go. Tommy Lasorda beat the rush, getting tossed three innings earlier.
Jul 29 - Cesar Cedeno rips a triple off Terry Forster in the bottom of the ninth to trip the Dodgers, 4-3. The three-bagger chases home J.R. Richard who wins his ninth of the year. Cedeno and Jose Cruz collect three hits apiece.
Jul 30 - Bob Knepper hurls a five-hitter and drives in four as the Giants blank Houston, 8-0. Knepper's bases-loaded double off Randy Niemann puts the game out of reach.
Jul 31 - A pair of three-run outbursts are enough support in a 6-4 victory over San Francisco. Craig Reynolds scores twice and drives in two. Houston completes a 12-16 month to maintain a 3-1/2 game lead on Cincinnati, holding a 61-47 mark.
Aug 03 - J.R. Richard strikes out 15 in a 4-1 victory over Atlanta. He allows six hits in the complete game outing. Terry Puhl leads the offense with two hits, two RBIs and a stolen base.
Aug 04 - Houston sweeps the Braves, 4-3 and 6-2, to move five games ahead of second-place Cincinnati. Atlanta knuckleballer Phil Niekro ties major league marks with four wild pitches in one inning and six for the game. The Astros also set a team record for a nine-inning game by stranding 16 runners in the opener.
Aug 05 - Astros steal a club record seven bases while coming from behind to edge Atlanta, 3-2. Jose Cruz and Jeff Leonard produce RBI singles in the eighth to give Houston a four-game sweep and their sixth straight win.
Aug 07 - Steve Yeager and Joe Ferguson blast two homers apiece as the Dodgers tally six in the eighth to outlast Houston, 10-8. The Astros recover from a 4-0 deficit to score eight times only to see Los Angeles come back.
Aug 08 - J.R. Richard fans 12 and delivers the game-winning hit during a 4-1 victory over Los Angeles. Terry Puhl opens the scoring with a first-inning blast off Burt Hooton. Richard's two-run single in the fifth ends the stalemate. It is J.R.'s tenth straight win over the Dodgers.
Aug 10 - Art Howe's two-run single in the eighth upends the Braves, 2-1. Joe Niekro captures his 16th win with help from Joe Sambito who notches his 15th save.
Aug 13 - Terry Puhl and Jeff Leonard provide six of Houston's eight hits in a 4-1 triumph over Montreal. J.R. Richard goes the distance scattering five hits to win his fifth straight start.
Aug 14 - Montreal's noted flake, Bill "Spaceman" Lee, surrenders a two-run inside-the-park homer to Houston's noted flake, Joaquin Andujar, that stands up for a 2-1 Astros victory. Andujar had warned Lee not to throw him a fastball and Joaquin belted one high off the centerfield fence when he did. Andujar goes the distance with a four-hitter for his 12th win.
Aug 18 - J.R. Richard allows a triple to Greg Gross in the eighth and loses a 1-0 pitcher's duel to Philadelphia's Larry Christenson. The Astros produce ten hits and three walks but can't string them together for a run.
Aug 19 - Ouch. Joaquin Andujar appears to have outdueled Steve Carlton but Garry Maddox triples home a run for the Phillies in the ninth then scores the game-winner on a hit by Larry Bowa. Houston uses a triple from Terry Puhl for an early 2-0 lead but Carlton wins it on a two-hitter, 3-2.
Aug 20 - Rafael Landestoy delivers three hits and drives in three to pace an 8-1 spanking of the Mets. Jeff Leonard adds three hits. Joe Niekro wins his 17th to take the N.L. lead in victories.
Aug 21 - A bizarre ending comes to Pete Falcone's 5-0 shutout of Houston. Jeff Leonard gets three turns at bat. He flies out to right for the final out but an umpire had called time before the pitch. Three pitches later, Leonard singles while Met first baseman Ed Kranepool is sitting in the clubhouse. Finally, with Kranepool back on the field, Leonard flies out again. Houston wins the protest but Jose Cruz finishes it the next day, grounding out with Leonard on first.
Aug 22 - Jose Cruz homers and Jeff Leonard drives in two as the Astros slip by New York, 3-1. J.R. Richard gets the complete game victory, fanning ten.
Aug 25 - Joe Niekro and Joe Sambito combine on a three-hitter to subdue the Phillies, 3-1. Niekro adds an RBI single. Jose Cruz goes yard off Nino Espinosa.
Aug 26 - Cesar Cedeno goes five-for-five to lead a 4-1 victory over Philadelphia. His eighth-inning triple off Kevin Saucier starts a tie-breaking rally. Craig Reynolds singles him home. Pete Ladd gets his first big-league win while Joe Sambito notches his 17th save.
Aug 27 - J.R. Richard fires a two-hitter with a dozen whiffs, blanking the Expos, 3-0. All the runs score on a double by Cesar Cedeno and a two-run single by Enos Cabell.
Aug 28 - Joe Sambito walks Warren Cromartie in the bottom of the ninth with the bases full to lose, 7-6, to Montreal. Houston falls out of first place for the first time since May 30th. The Astro bats had reached Steve Rogers, including a two-run homer by Joaquin Andujar, but the bullpen couldn't close the door.
Aug 31 - Two errors by outfielder Dan Norman are the difference in a 2-0 victory over the Mets. Ken Forsch, Randy Niemann and Joe Sambito combine on a three-hit shutout. Houston has a 15-11 month of August to stand at 76-58, but their lead has vanished and they are one-half game behind the Reds for the West Division lead.
Sep 01 - J.R. Richard blasts a home run and tosses a complete game in downing the Mets, 3-1. Houston's other two runs come home on a single by Jose Cruz and a sacrifice fly by Denny Walling.
Sep 03 - Jerry Reuss outduels Joe Niekro, tossing a two-hitter as Los Angeles ekes out a 1-0 verdict. Back-to-back singles by Jeff Leonard and Jose Cruz in the fifth are the only Houston threat.
Sep 04 - Rafael Landestoy goes 3-fo-3 as Houston drills the Dodgers, 9-4. Six Astros have multi-hit games, including catcher Luis Pujols, a September call-up, who swats a double and a triple. Houston moves back into first place.
Sep 05 - Enos Cabell walks with the bases full in the tenth off John D'Acquisto, scoring Joe Sambito for a 4-3 triumph over San Diego. The Padres issue a dozen free passes. Rafael Landestoy stays hot with three hits.
Sep 06 - A three-hit shutout by J.R. Richard quiets the Padres, 2-0. Richard fans nine and walks nobody. Houston scores on a fielders choice by Luis Pujols and a bases-loaded walk to Craig Reynolds.
Sep 08 - Johnnie Lemaster's two-run homer in the eighth off Joe Sambito sinks the Astros, 2-1. The light-hitting shortstop accounts for three of San Francisco's seven hits.
Sep 09 - A two-run pinch-hit double by Jesus Alou keys a four-run uprising in the eighth that shocks the Giants, 4-1. Ken Forsch wins his tenth of the year. It will be the Astros' last day in first place.
Sep 11 - Cincinnati overtakes Houston for the N.L. West lead during a tense 9-8 loss at Riverfront Stadium. It is the Astros' first true pennant-race showdown. Both aces, Tom Seaver and J.R. Richard, start. They are long gone by the time Dave Concepcion and George Foster homer off Joe Sambito for the decisive runs. Rafael Landestoy goes 5-for-5 to pace Houston.
Sep 12 - Reds sweep the two-game series with a 7-4 decision. Joe Niekro is pounded early. Jose Cruz drives in three of the four Astro tallies.
Sep 14 - Vern Ruhle, out four months due to back surgery, returns to toss a complete game four-hitter in San Francisco, 7-0. Tom Wiedenbauer, in his big league debut, spanks a two-run double for the game's final tallies.
Sep 15 - A five-run eighth inning explosion by the Giants dooms Houston, 5-3. A two-run triple by Larry Herndon off Joe Sambito chases home the winning runs.
Sep 16 - Larry Herndon does it again, singling home the winning run in the bottom for the ninth for a 2-1 San Francisco verdict. J.R. Richard tosses a complete game and strikes out eleven but loses even though his teammates outhit the Giants, ten to five.
Sep 17 - Joe Niekro outduels Bob Owchinko for a 1-0 victory in San Diego. Rafael Landestoy triples to open the ninth inning then scores on a sacrifice fly by Cesar Cedeno. Niekro scatters six hits for his 19th win.
Sep 19 - Home runs by Glenn Hubbard and Bob Horner off Vern Ruhle create a 6-5 decision for the Braves. Rafael Landestoy leads the Houston attack with three hits and two RBIs. Houston castoff Bo McLaughlin takes the win.
Sep 20 - Terry Puhl smacks three hits, including a pair of doubles, to lead a 7-1 thumping of Atlanta. Ken Forsch goes the distance while Houston swipes six bases on Atlanta catcher Joe Nolan.
Sep 21 - Bruce Bochy singles home Craig Reynolds with the game-winner as Houston clips the Reds, 3-2, in 13 innings, closing within 1-1/2 games of Cincinnati in the N.L. West race. Terry Puhl plates the other two runs with singles off Tom Seaver. J.R. Richard fans 15 in eleven innings and shocks everyone with a bunt single in the tenth. Richard presses his luck by trying to steal second where Johnny Bench's throw arrives well ahead of him.
Sep 22 - Joe Niekro and Joe Sambito silence the Reds on five hits, 4-1, to pull even closer to the lead. For Niekro, it's his 20th win, the third Astro to reach that milestone. For Sambito, it's his 20th save.
Sep 23 - Cincinnati answers with a 7-1 victory to push the Astros back to 1-1/2 games behind. Jose's brother, Hector Cruz, drives in two for the Reds.
Sep 24 - Atlanta sweeps a twinbill from Houston, 5-4 and 8-1. Jerry Royster singles home the winning run in the opener, plating Darrell Chaney in the bottom of the ninth. Eddie Solomon goes the distance in the nightcap.
Sep 25 - J.R. Richard tops the 300-strikeout barrier for the second straight year, fanning 13 during a four-hit, 8-0 blanking of Atlanta. Seven Astros have multi-hit games in the 19-hit assault as Terry Puhl, Enos Cabell, Denny Walling and Rafael Landestoy provide three hits each.
Sep 26 - Phil Niekro outpitches his brother Joe to win his 20th of the season for the Braves, 9-4. To top it off, Phil drives in four runs, including a two-run double off his sibling.
Sep 28 - Cesar Cedeno blasts a three-run shot to give Houston a lead over Los Angeles but Steve Garvey answers with a grand slam off Vern Ruhle for a 6-5 decision. The loss knocks the Astros out of pennant contention.
Sep 29 - J.R. Richard and Joe Sambito combine on a five-hit whitewash of the Dodgers, 3-0. Richard records eleven whiffs to finish with 313 for the season.
Sep 30 - Joe Niekro becomes the first 21-game winner in club history with a 3-2 triumph over the Dodgers. An eighth-inning sacrifice fly by Danny Heep plates the game-winner. The Astros finish with a best-to-date 89-73 record but fall 1-1/2 games short of Cincinnati for the N.L. West title.
Nov 07 - Cubs reliever Bruce Sutter narrowly edges Joe Niekro for the N.L. Cy Young Award. Joe tied with his brother Phil for the league lead in victories with 21. J.R. Richard finishes third in the voting despite leading the league in ERA (2.71) and strikeouts (313).
Nov 19 - Righthander Nolan Ryan is signed as a free agent by the Astros, becoming baseball's first million-dollar-a-year player. The Texas native comes to Houston after a long career with the Mets and the Angels where he notched four no-hitters and set numerous strikeout records. It marks the first significant signing for the franchise since the advent of free agency in 1975.