1980 - Timeline
by Bob Hulsey
Jan 31 - Two-time MVP Joe Morgan returns to the Astros as a free agent. Fulfilling his promise to return to the team, Morgan is an important cog in the team's first championship.
Feb 20 - Catcher Reggie Baldwin is traded to the New York Mets for a minor leaguer. In parts of two seasons, Baldwin hit .241 in 52 games for Houston.
Apr 10 - J.R. Richard fans 13 and walks nobody in eight innings of work as Houston trips the Dodgers, 3-2, on Opening Day. Joe Sambito works a prefect ninth for the save. Solo homers by Terry Puhl and Jose Cruz start the season right while Alan Ashby plates Art Howe for the eventual game-winner.
Apr 11 - Craig Reynolds, homerless the year before, blasts a leadoff homer against Don Stanhouse to spark a five-run eighth-inning rally that topples Los Angeles, 10-6. Dave Smith wins in his first big league appearance.
Apr 12 - In his first game as an Astro, Nolan Ryan hits the first home run of his career, a three-run shot off Don Sutton. But the lead doesn't hold and Los Angeles eventually wins in 17 innings, 6-5.
Apr 13 - Ken Forsch singles home two while scattering seven hits in 7-2/3rds innings to give the Astros a 4-2 triumph over the Dodgers. Enos Cabell has three hits and drives home the other two Houston tallies.
Apr 14 - Enos Cabell's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth is the game-winner in a 5-4 win over Atlanta. It's Cabell's third RBI of the night. Cesar Cedeno is the other offensive star with four hits, two steals, two runs scored and a run batted in.
Apr 15 - Joe Niekro goes the distance, dropping the Braves 6-2, for his first win of the season. A four-run second inning is the difference, highlighted by doubles from Luis Pujols and Julio Gonzalez.
Apr 17 - Astros get more steals than hits in a 6-4 loss to the Dodgers. Joe Morgan has three of the seven swipes while Houston manages just six hits. Utilityman Derrel Thomas is the Dodger catcher, explaining the larceny in Astro hearts.
Apr 18 - Ken Forsch beats the Dodgers once again, going six frames in a 7-4 victory. Joaquin Andujar works the last three innings for the save. Houston is outhit by Los Angeles, 14-11, but Jose Cruz leads the attack with two hits, two RBIs, two runs scored and a sacrifice fly.
Apr 19 - J.R. Richard one-hits Los Angeles in a 12-strikeout performance, his 13th straight win over the Dodgers. The only hit allowed is an infield single by Reggie Smith in the fourth inning.
Apr 21 - George Foster goes 5-for-5 to pace a 6-5 decision for the Reds. Houston's rally from a 6-0 deficit comes up short. Jose Cruz drives in a pair of runs.
Apr 22 - Nolan Ryan's first win as an Astro comes in an 8-0 victory over Cincinnati. It's the initial dividend from baseball's first million-dollar-per-year contract. Ryan fans seven and walks six in seven innings. Jose Cruz is the star with three hits and five RBIs, including a bases-loaded triple in the first inning.
Apr 23 - Dave Concepcion singles home Harry Spilman in the 12th as Cincinnati edges the Astros, 3-2. Joaquin Andujar is the victim. Joe Morgan bangs two doubles against his former teammates.
Apr 25 - J.R. Richard notches his 100th victory, toppling the Mets, 7-4. Art Howe contributes three hits and Jeff Leonard homers in the win.
Apr 26 - Joe Niekro and Frank LaCorte team up to blank the Mets, 6-0, surrendering five hits. LaCorte adds an RBI single for insurance. Luis Pujols drives in two runs.
Apr 27 - After New York pulls ahead in the top of the 12th, Jeff Leonard's two-run single wins it for Houston in a 4-3 stunner. Alan Ashby homers and doubles. Frank LaCorte picks up the victory in relief.
Apr 29 - Ken Forsch tosses a three-hit shutout over Cincinnati, 3-0. Cesar Cedeno blasts a two-run shot off Charlie Liebrandt to widen the lead after Joe Morgan scored earlier on a double-play grounder.
Apr 30 - Cesar Cedeno, Joe Morgan and J.R. Richard take Tom Seaver deep as the Astros bomb the Reds, 5-1. Richard's record is now 4-0. The Astros close a 13-5 month by overtaking Cincinnati for first place in the Western Division.
May 01 - Houston sweeps the Reds at Riverfront with a 9-3 victory, their sixth straight win. Joe Niekro pitches a six-hitter in a complete-game effort. Cesar Cedeno and Denny Walling have three hits each while Joe Morgan spanks a two-run homer and drives in three.
May 03 - Bill Virdon picks up his 356th win as a Houston manager, setting a team record, as the Astros edge St. Louis, 4-2. Vern Ruhle is the hero, going 8-2/3rds innings for the win, producing two hits and driving in a run. Terry Puhl and Jose Cruz supply two hits apiece. Joe Sambito nails the final out for the save.
May 04 - Ken Forsch notches his fourth win of the season, a 4-2 decision at St. Louis. Forsch adds a pair of hits and an RBI while Jose Cruz drives in two and steals two bases.
May 05 - J.R. Richard is knocked out after just seven batters in a 10-1 Montreal demolition. Richard and Randy Niemann are tagged for four runs each. Ron Leflore leads the way with four hits and three RBIs.
May 06 - Cold, damp Olympic Stadium is where the Astros must wait through a rain delay of three hours and 50 minutes to complete an 8-4 victory. Jose Cruz has four RBIs to lead the Astros while Joe Niekro survives the weather and the Expos for a complete-game win.
May 07 - Scott Sanderson and Woodie Fryman combine to shut out Houston, 3-0 for the Expos. Enos Cabell has two of the Astros' six hits.
May 09 - Four solo homers are not enough as Atlanta edges the Astros, 5-4. Terry Puhl goes yard twice while Joe Morgan and Rafael Landestoy also hit home runs off Larry McWilliams. Ken Forsch is the losing pitcher.
May 10 - Terry Puhl's bases-loaded walk in the 11th gives the Astros a 3-2 win over the Braves. Puhl had earlier notched two hits and scored a run. Frank LaCorte wins in relief.
May 11 - Joe Niekro is bested by his brother Phil in a 7-4 defeat in Atlanta. Enos Cabell has three hits in the losing cause.
May 13 - Denny Walling has a 3-for-3 night and Terry Puhl adds three hits but that's the entire offense in a 3-2 loss to the Expos. Nolan Ryan's record falls to 1-3 despite nine strikeouts.
May 14 - Scott Sanderson and Woodie Fryman team up again on a four-hitter to blank Houston, 1-0. An RBI double by Montreal's Tony Bernazzard off Ken Forsch is the game's only tally.
May 16 - The drought continues as Dick Ruthven hurls a five-hitter, as Philadelphia whitewashes Houston, 3-0. J.R. Richard is the loser. A triple by Del Unser and a two-run single by Bake McBride make the difference.
May 17 - Astros finally score but lose their fifth straight, 4-2, at the hands of the Phillies. A two-run single by Cesar Cedeno in the third breaks Houston's scoreless streak. Joe Niekro's record falls to 4-3.
May 18 - Nolan Ryan fires a four-hit shutout to end the losing streak, a 3-0 triumph over Philadelphia. Ryan fans ten and scores a run. Rafael Landestoy, Terry Puhl and Jeff Leonard each contribute two hits and an RBI.
May 20 - A solo homer by Terry Puhl in the seventh is the game-winner as Houston nips New York, 3-2. Alan Ashby also takes Craig Swan deep. Ken Forsch scatters eight hits in a complete-game victory.
May 22 - Astros escape from New York with an 8-5 victory. Craig Reynolds and Cesar Cedeno swat homers. Seven Houston batters have multi-hit games, including winning pitcher Joe Niekro.
May 23 - Old nemesis Steve Carlton hurls a four-hitter as Philadelphia blanks Houston, 3-0. Mike Schmidt does all the damage with a three-run blast off Nolan Ryan.
May 25 - Phillies sweep the Astros, 6-2, behind three home runs. Jose Cruz responds with two doubles and three Astros add triples but they aren't able to overcome the long ball.
May 26 - J.R. Richard returns to form in a 4-1 victory over San Diego. Four straight hits in the second inning, highlighted by a Jeff Leonard double provide the cushion. Richard and Joe Sambito combine to strike out ten.
May 27 - Jose Cruz drives home Craig Reynolds in the eighth to slip past the Padres, 4-3. A two-run triple by Jeff Leonard had given the Astros an earlier lead.
May 28 - Enos Cabell singles home Jose Cruz in the second inning and Nolan Ryan makes it stand up for a 1-0 shutout over San Diego for a series sweep. Ryan fires a two-hitter, striking out seven.
May 30 - Jose Cruz and Art Howe tag Vida Blue for solo homers in the fourth but Blue survives to earn a 3-2 decision for San Francisco. A bunt by Johnnie LeMaster plates the eventual game-winner.
May 31 - J.R. Richard fires a three-hitter to shut out the Giants, 5-0, at Candlestick Park. Richard also singles home a run while Joe Morgan contributes a solo shot. The win ends a 12-14 month on a happy note, but Houston, at 25-19, is two games out of first place.
Jun 02 - Rick Wise and Eric Rasmussen combine for a four-hit shutout, lifting San Diego over Houston, 3-0. A two-run single by Willie Montanez off Nolan Ryan in the first is the key hit.
Jun 03 - An eighth-inning two-run triple by Rafael Landestoy and the following single by Craig Reynolds break the scoring drought and give Houston a 3-2 victory over the Padres. Vern Ruhle picks up his second win while Frank LaCorte earns the save.
Jun 04 - Houston rallies for three in the ninth to stun San Diego, 4-3. The Astros get to closer Rollie Fingers with a double by Alan Ashby producing the tie and a single by Rafael Landestoy providing the game-winner.
Jun 06 - J.R. Richard continues his dominant pitching, blanking the Giants, 2-0, on a three-hitter. The tall righty fans 13 and walks none, running his scoreless inning streak to 22. Terry Puhl and Art Howe pace the offense with three hits each.
Jun 07 - Joe Niekro extends San Francisco's misery with a five-hit shutout, 3-0, at the Dome. Joe Morgan and Denny Walling do the damage with three hits apiece and plating all three runs.
Jun 08 - An error by Johnnie LeMaster in the bottom of the ninth lets Julio Gonzalez score the winning run in a 5-4 sweeper of the Giants. Joe Sambito picks up the win after blowing the save for Nolan Ryan who struck out ten.
Jun 09 - Dave Kingman of the Cubs launches an air ball from left field during a 6-2 loss in Houston. Fielding a single off Alan Ashby, Kingman's throw to the plate lands in the Chicago dugout on the third-base side on the fly. Ken Forsch finishes the scoring by singling home Ashby from third en route to the victory. The win is a nice 49th birthday gift for Astros skipper Bill Virdon.
Jun 11 - J.R. Richard blanks the Chicago Cubs, 3-0, extending his shutout innings steak to 31-1/3rd. He fans eight and walks three, allowing six hits yet says his arm doesn't feel right. Jose Cruz and Denny Walling give Richard all the support he needs with RBI singles in the first inning. The win marks the first homestand sweep in Houston history, taking six from the Giants and Cubs.
Jun 13 - Pittsburgh's Willie Stargell is a one-man wrecking crew, blasting two home runs and driving in five, pacing the Pirates to a 5-3 verdict. Joe Niekro is the victim. "Pops" has a four-hit night.
Jun 14 - Six Astros have multi-hit games as Houston drowns the Bucs, 7-3. Joe Morgan and Cesar Cedeno lead the way with three hits each while Rafael Landestoy adds a double and a triple. Winning pitcher Nolan Ryan adds two hits and an RBI.
Jun 16 - Three walks and two wild pitches giftwrap a 2-1 Astros win in Chicago. That's all Vern Ruhle needs to win his fourth straight. Dave Smith pitches the final three frames for his first big league save.
Jun 17 - J.R. Richard gives up a run in the first inning but gets his ninth win in a 7-1 thrashing of the Cubs. He leaves after five innings with Joaquin Andujar closing out the last four. Jose Cruz smacks a three-run homer to pace the Houston attack.
Jun 18 - Joe Niekro scatters six hits while blanking the Cardinals, 3-0. A first-inning single by Enos Cabell gives Niekro a lead he will not relinquish. The other two runs are scored on grounders.
Jun 19 - Nolan Ryan and Joe Sambito team up to one-hit St. Louis, 2-0. Struggling with the flu, Ryan lasts seven innings before bowing out. Garry Templeton's third-inning double is the only Cardinal hit. Jose Cruz drives in both Astro runs with a single and sacrifice fly.
Jun 20 - Houston erupts for five runs in the second against Pittsburgh and coast to a 6-4 triumph. A bases-loaded triple by Rafael Landestoy highlights the frame. Ken Forsch gets the win and contributes two hits.
Jun 21 - Vern Ruhle outduels Bert Blyleven as the Astros win their 13th straight home game, 4-2, over the Pirates. Art Howe's two-run blast is the key blow.
Jun 23 - Rick Sutcliffe spins a three-hitter as the visiting Dodgers silence the Astros, 3-0. Sutcliffe's two-run single off Joaquin Andujar in the fifth gives him the breathing room to go the distance.
Jun 24 - Joe Beckwith makes a wild throw to third in the 12th inning, allowing Cesar Cedeno to score the winning run in a 5-4 triumph over Los Angeles. It caps a 5-for-5 night for Cesar who hits two doubles, steals two bases, drives in two and makes a sensational catch in center. Joe Morgan sends the game to extra innings with a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth.
Jun 25 - Dusty Baker goes 5-for-6 to pace a 9-2 Dodger decision at the Dome. Bob Welch manages to surrender 12 hits and three walks in seven innings yet gives up just two tallies. Los Angeles trails the front-running Astros by two games in the N.L. West.
Jun 27 - A two-run triple by Jose Cruz in the eighth caps a 5-4 comeback win over Cincinnati. Joe Niekro survives a four-run first to pick up his eighth victory. Joe Sambito earns his ninth save.
Jun 29 - Art Howe has four hits and Denny Walling clubs a two-run pinch-hit homer as Houston wins a wild 12-10 match with the Reds. Joe Morgan's two-run double in the seventh puts the Astros ahead to stay.
Jun 30 - After Jose Cruz drilled a solo homer in the ninth to tie Atlanta and another solo shot in the 11th to give Houston the lead, Glenn Hubbard smacks a two-run blast off Joe Sambito to give the Braves a 5-4 stunner. The Astros finish an 18-9 month of June with a 43-28 record and a 2-1/2 game lead over Los Angeles. Cincinnati is 6-1/2 back.
Jul 01 - Atlanta bombs Joe Niekro on their way to a 13-4 mauling of the Astros. Jeff Burroughs drive in four and Bob Horner plates three. Joaquin Andujar drives in a pair for half of the Houston runs.
Jul 02 - A seven-run third inning highlights another Braves uprising. Vern Ruhle is the primary victim of the 14-0 massacre in which every run was scored with two outs, only half of them earned. Phil Niekro spins a five-hitter for Atlanta.
Jul 03 - Houston avoids a sweep with a 5-3 victory in the series finale in Atlanta. Denny Walling and Terry Puhl go yard. J.R. Richard picks up his tenth win of the year.
Jul 04 - Nolan Ryan strikes out Cesar Geronimo for his 3000th career strikeout but Cincinnati prevails, 8-1. Ryan fans six but walks seven in just over four innings of work. A solo shot by Cesar Cedeno is the lone Astro tally.
Jul 05 - Cincinnati sweeps a pair from the Astros, 8-6 and 3-2. The highlight of Houston's day is a six-run first inning in the opener but it is all downhill from there. The Dodgers overtake Houston for the division lead.
Jul 06 - Houston edges the Reds, 3-2, using two Cincinnati errors to push the deciding runs across. Joe Niekro needs last-minute help from Frank LaCorte to nail down his ninth victory.
Jul 08 - J.R. Richard becomes the first Astro to be the starting pitcher in an All-Star Game. He fans three in two innings of work during a 4-2 National League win. While the short stint causes no pain in his tired right arm, Richard plans to have Dr. Frank Jobe examine it while he's in Los Angeles.
Jul 10 - Dave Lopes singles home the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth as the Dodgers stun Houston, 4-3. Enos Cabell leads the Houston attack with two hits, two steals and an RBI.
Jul 12 - Jose Cruz gets three hits and three RBIs to pace a 9-5 triumph over the Braves. Rafael Landestoy adds three hits and scores three times. The Astros tally in each of the first five innings.
Jul 13 - Houston sweeps the Braves, 6-5 and 6-1, to reclaim first place from the Dodgers in the National League West. Terry Puhl has seven hits in the twinbill. Cesar Cedeno's homer and Craig Reynolds' double give Houston the lead in the eighth inning of the opener. Vern Ruhle silences Atlanta in the nightcap.
Jul 15 - An errant pickoff throw by Dick Ruthven brings home Jeff Leonard for a 3-2 win over the Phillies. Craig Reynolds had just singled to move pinch-runner Leonard to third in the bottom of the ninth. Joe Sambito claims the victory.
Jul 16 - Despite speculation that his problems are psychological, J.R. Richard is placed on the 21-day disabled list after complaining of a "dead arm". He took himself out during the fourth inning of a 2-0 loss to Atlanta two days before, although he got one of the two Houston hits in what would be his final major league at-bat.
Jul 17 - Philadelphia's Steve Carlton ekes out another victory over Houston, 2-1. He survives a two-out, run-scoring triple by Rafael Landestoy in the bottom of the ninth by getting Terry Puhl on a roller for the final out.
Jul 18 - Houston supplies 18 hits but strands 19 runners in a 5-4, 11-inning loss to Montreal. Gary Carter singles home the winning run off Dave Smith. Cesar Cedeno has four hits. Joe Morgan draws the 1,508th base on balls of his career, tying him for ninth on baseball's all-time list.
Jul 19 - Astros split a pair with the Expos, winning 4-2 then losing 5-2. Danny Heep has three hits and Craig Reynolds homers in the opener. Bill Gullickson scatters five hits for Montreal in the nightcap.
Jul 20 - After blowing the lead in the ninth, Houston beats Montreal, 4-3, on an unearned run in the bottom of the frame. After Jose Cruz walked, Expo first baseman Warren Cromartie misfires the throw on a sacrifice bunt by Dave Bergman allowing Cruz to come all the way around for the win.
Jul 21 - Terry Puhl is the hero, singling home Jeff Leonard in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 victory over New York. Craig Reynolds adds two hits and a run batted in.
Jul 22 - Jeff Leornard clubs a two-run homer to tie the game before Jose Cruz singles home the game-winner, edging the Mets, 6-5. Bert Roberge picks up the win in relief.
Jul 25 - Astros shock Montreal with seven runs in the ninth inning for a 9-8 triumph. Terry Puhl starts the rally with a blast off Steve Rogers then Jose Cruz, Enos Cabell and Alan Ashby each deliver two-run hits to complete the comeback. Ashby's double is his third hit. Frank LaCorte is the surprise winner.
Jul 26 - Frank LaCorte walks Larry Parrish with the bases loaded in the 12th inning as Montreal takes a 2-1 decision from Houston. Danny Heep's double plated the only Astro run.
Jul 27 - Joe Niekro goes 3-for-3 on his way to a 6-3 victory over the Expos. He leaves, however, with a sore elbow. Dave Smith works the final four frames for the save. Cesar Cedeno also contributes three hits and swipes two bases.
Jul 28 - Cesar Cedeno triples home Jose Cruz in the tenth for a 3-2 win in Philadelphia. Joe Sambito gets his sixth victory of the year.
Jul 29 - Phillies dump the Astros, 9-6, as Bake McBride goes 5-for-5. Bert Roberge and Frank LaCorte fail to hold the lead as Philadelphia tallies six times in their final two innings.
Jul 30 - J.R. Richard collapses from a stroke while working out at the Astrodome. He is rushed to Methodist Hospital where surgery saves his life. His distracted teammates lose in Philadelphia, 6-4. Richard would never regain the coordination needed to resume his career.
Jul 31 - An off-day for Houston finds them staggering to a 13-16 record in July, a 56-44 mark overall. They are 1-1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers but Cincinnati has crept to within four games out and San Francisco to 6-1/2 games in arrears.
Aug 01 - A three-run pinch-hit homer by Steve Henderson lifts the Mets to a 5-4 decision over Houston. Dave Smith is the victim. Frank Tavares gets four hits for New York. Terry Puhl homers for the Astros.
Aug 03 - Cesar Cedeno homers in the tenth inning off Jeff Reardon for a 3-2 triumph in New York. Earlier, Cedeno had singled home the first Astro run. Joe Sambito is the winning pitcher.
Aug 04 - Nolan Ryan and Joe Sambito team up on a five-hitter to stop the Giants, 4-2. They combine for ten strikeouts. Ryan's record is now 6-8 on the season.
Aug 06 - Ken Forsch fires a six-hit shutout, blanking San Francisco, 1-0, to even his record at 9-9. The game's only run comes on three consecutive singles with Terry Puhl driving in Rafael Landestoy.
Aug 07 - Bob Shirley tosses a four-hitter and Jerry Mumphrey drives in three to pace a 5-1 San Diego decision at the Dome. Joe Niekro drives in the only Houston run before absorbing the loss.
Aug 08 - A ninth-inning error by Craig Reynolds opens the floodgates for three Padre runs and a 5-3 stunner. Joe Sambito gives up all three unearned runs after two were out.
Aug 09 - Dave Winfield is ejected after rushing Nolan Ryan at the mound, leading to a bench-clearing brawl. Houston roughed up the Padres, 9-5, with a bases-loaded triple by Luis Pujols and a bases-loaded double by Cesar Cedeno leading the way. Cedeno has four RBIs. Astros keep a half-game division lead.
Aug 10 - Tim Flannery's two-out single in the ninth plates the game-winner as San Diego takes a 3-2 squeaker. Joaquin Andujar homers off Rick Wise but Wise hangs on for a complete-game win.
Aug 12 - San Francisco blanks Houston, 2-0, on the arms of Allen Ripley and Gary Lavelle. Three singles in the sixth spoil an otherwise good outing for Joe Niekro.
Aug 13 - Leading, 5-3 in the 11th, the Astros bullpen can't hold the edge and is eventually swept by the Giants, 6-5, in twelve innings. Four-hit performances by Rafael Landestoy and Enos cabell are wasted as Houston drops their fourth in a row, falling into third place behind Cincinnati and Los Angeles.
Aug 14 - Jeff Leornard's sacrifice fly in the ninth plates Cesar Cedeno with the winning run in a 2-1 victory at San Diego. Nolan Ryan goes the distance on a three-hitter. Leonard had singled home Jose Cruz earlier for the other Houston tally.
Aug 15 - In the 20th inning, the Padres play good hosts, giftwrapping a rally so Houston can celebrate a 3-1 victory. An error by Ozzie Smith puts Luis Pujols aboard, a late throw to second moves him up then Jerry Mumphrey muffs a fly ball from Terry Puhl to bring in the winning runs. Rookie Dave Smith, a San Diego product, pitches the final four innings for the win, ending the 6-1/2 hour marathon.
Aug 17 - Houston sweeps a twinbill from the Padres, 5-0 and 9-2, to reclaim the division lead by a half-game. Ken Forsch and Joe Niekro toss complete games with Forsch painting a four-hit masterpiece in the opener. Jose Cruz and Terry Puhl go deep in the first game while Rafael Landestoy stars in the nightcap, going 4-for-4 with three RBIs.
Aug 19 - Astros win their fifth straight, 5-2, against the Pirates. Art Howe stars with two hits and two RBIs. Nolan Ryan survives a shaky first inning to even his mark at 8-8 for the year.
Aug 20 - A four-run sixth inning keys a 5-1 triumph over Pittsburgh. After two bases-loaded walks give Houston the lead, Enos Cabell singles in two more and finishes with three RBIs. Vern Ruhle gets the victory.
Aug 21 - Terry Puhl has a four-hit night to lead Houston past Pittsburgh, 12-5. The Astros pound 18 hits but none more exciting than a roller to centerfield that skips under the glove of Omar Moreno. Alan Ashby puffs around all four bags on what is ruled a three-base error.
Aug 22 - Enos Cabell drives home Dave Bergman in the 12th to topple the Cubs, 3-2. Frank LaCorte pitches five innings of relief to notch his eighth win.
Aug 23 - Joe Niekro comes on in relief to start the 16th inning of a scoreless tie with the Cubs at the Dome. He wins it himself an inning later when he drives home Enos Cabell for a 1-0 triumph in 17 frames. Houston pitchers allow just seven hits to increase their lead in the NL West to three games over Los Angeles.
Aug 24 - Nolan Ryan spins a two-hitter to stop Chicago, 2-1, for Houston's tenth straight win. Jose Cruz is the hitting star with a solo homer in the fourth and an RBI single in the eighth. It's the second time this year they've swept a six-game homestand - both included the Cubs.
Aug 25 - Don Hood is the unlikely streak-killer, tossing a four-hitter as St. Louis tops the Astros, 3-1. It's just the third National League win for the journeyman pitcher.
Aug 26 - Cesar Cedeno's grand slam off Jim Kaat highlights a six-run fifth. The Astros dump the Cardinals, 7-2. Joe Niekro goes the distance to up his mark to 14-11. Jose Cruz adds three hits.
Aug 27 - Ken Oberkfell and Dane Iorg rap four hits apiece as St. Louis takes a 10-2 laugher at Houston's expense. Ken Forsch takes the loss.
Aug 29 - A head-first slide by Enos Cabell into first beats the throw of Ivan DeJesus allowing Rafael Landestoy to score the game-winner in a 6-5 triumph over the Cubs. Frank LaCorte comes in to fan Dave Kingman and nail down the save. Cesar Cedeno has two hits and two RBIs to pace the Houston attack.
Aug 30 - Vern Ruhle blazes a five-hit shutout at Wrigley Field to give Houston a 2-0 victory over the Cubs. Ruhle also spanks a double and scores the first run. Terry Puhl drives in both of them.
Aug 31 - Frank LaCorte blows a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth as the Cubs rally for an 8-7 decision. Had Houston won, it would have been the first season sweep in major league history. Jose Cruz and Enos Cabell had homered to build the lead. Joe Niekro has two hits and drives in two before giving way to the bullpen. The loss drops Houston's lead to one game over the Dodgers. Their 18-12 mark for August leaves them at 74-56 for the season.
Sep 01 - Houston splits a doubleheader in Pittsburgh, winning 10-4 then losing 7-5. Joe Morgan greets Don Robinson with a leadoff homer to open the first game as the Astros tally five times before the Pirates bat. Art Howe goes deep in the nightcap.
Sep 03 - Art Howe has a 4-for-4 night including a home run, but it goes to waste in a 10-4 loss to the Pirates. Dave Parker is also 4-for-4 for Pittsburgh and drives in five.
Sep 05 - Mike Ramsey's two-run double in the ninth pushes St. Louis past Houston, 7-5. Joe Sambito takes the loss. September call-up Gary Woods has three hits and two RBIs in a losing effort.
Sep 06 - Art Howe ties a club record with his eighth consecutive hit, a two-run single that paces a 9-5 win over St. Louis. A grand slam by Jose Cruz highlights the 6-4 nightcap for a twinbill sweep, drawing the Astros to within one game of the Dodgers for the N.L. West lead. Vern Ruhle goes the distance in the second game.
Sep 07 - Pete Vuckovich scatters eight hits while blanking the Astros, 2-0. Vuckovich helps his cause by singling home the second Cardinal run. Ken Forsch's record falls to 10-12.
Sep 09 - Six Dodger errors help Houston pull back to within a game of the lead in a 5-4 victory. Joe Sambito coaxes a douple play grounder from Mickey Hatcher to pick up his 14th save. Art Howe stays hot with two hits and two RBIs.
Sep 10 - Jose Cruz slams a 12th-inning homer off Rick Sutcliffe at the Dome to cap a furious 6-5 victory over Los Angeles to tie the Dodgers for the N.L. West lead. Two Astros were thrown out at the plate earlier trying to score the winning run. Cruz had ignited two rallies that forced a 3-3 tie in regulation. Cesar Cedeno contributes four hits.
Sep 12 - Joe Niekro picks up his 16th win, eluding danger all night in a 5-3 victory over San Francisco. A run-scoring triple by Alan Ashby keys a three-run fifth inning that turns the game Houston's way. Craig Reynolds adds two hits and scores twice.
Sep 13 - Ken Forsch goes the distance, clipping the Giants, 3-2. Joe Morgan has two doubles to lead the Houston attack.
Sep 14 - Terry Puhl has a double and triple, scoring twice, to lead a 6-4 sweeper over San Francisco. Alan Ashby drives in a pair. Six Astros collect two hits apiece. Joaquin Andujar gains his third victory.
Sep 16 - Jerry Mumphrey doubles home the game-winner as San Diego trumps the Astros, 4-3. Rafael Landestoy's two-run double is the main Houston highlight.
Sep 17 - Mario Soto hurls a five-hit shutout as Cincinnati blanks Houston, 7-0. Ray Knight drives in five of the runs, including a grand slam off Joe Niekro.
Sep 18 - Joe Morgan victimizes his ex-teammates with a tie-breaking two-run homer as Houston puts a 10-2 hurt on Cincinnati. Jose Cruz follows with a two-run shot on his own. The win keeps the Astros within a game of the Dodgers in the tight N.L. West race.
Sep 19 - Tom Griffin haunts his old team as the Giants nip Houston, 4-3, at Candlestick Park. An error by Denny Walling opens up a four-run first inning that San Francisco makes stand up for the rest of the night.
Sep 20 - Jeff Leonard doubles home Scott Loucks in the ninth inning as Houston edges the Giants, 3-2. Cesar Cedeno adds three hits and drives in a run in the eighth that ties it.
Sep 21 - Vern Ruhle hurls 7-2/3rds innings of no-hit ball and claims a 5-1 win in San Francisco that retakes the division lead from Los Angeles. Jim Wohlford breaks up the bid and Ruhle finishes with a three-hitter. Art Howe homers and Gary Woods drives in a pair.
Sep 22 - Joe Morgan drills a two-run homer and Cesar Cedeno swats a solo shot to pace a 4-2 triumph in San Diego. Joe Niekro allows four hits in a complete game performance.
Sep 24 - Doyle Alexander outduels Joaquin Andujar for a 4-2 Atlanta decision. Alan Ashby's two-run homer provides Houston's runs but the Braves counter with long balls from Dale Murphy and Bob Horner.
Sep 25 - Nolan Ryan wins his tenth as Houston answers with a 4-2 victory over the Braves. Joe Morgan spanks a two-run shot off Phil Niekro and drives in three. Art Howe adds three hits.
Sep 26 - Vern Ruhle tosses a four-hitter to blank Cincinnati, 2-0. Houston moves two games ahead of Los Angeles in the tight pennant race. The Astros manage just three hits themselves but an RBI single by Jose Cruz and a sacrifice fly by Craig Reynolds are enough.
Sep 27 - Joe Niekro and Dave Smith team on a four-hit shutout of Cincinnati, 2-0. A two-run double by Craig Reynolds off Mario Soto is all the scoring.
Sep 28 - Ken Griffey Sr. has four hits including a homer as the Reds topple the Astros, 8-5. Houston loses an early 4-1 lead built, in part, by a home run from Joe Morgan.
Sep 30 - Enos Cabell has three hits and Jose Cruz drives in three as Houston coasts past Atlanta, 7-3. Nolan Ryan and Dave Smith team up again with Smith notching his tenth save. The Astros reach 90 wins for the first time in their history, owning a 90-67 record. They are 16-11 in September.
Oct 01 - A bases-loaded double by Terry Puhl keys a 5-2 victory over Atlanta. Vern Ruhle fires his third straight complete game to increase his record to 12-4. Houston leads the Dodgers by two games with four to play.
Oct 02 - Houston clinches a tie for the division crown in a 3-2 nailbiter with the Braves. Gary Woods homers and Joe Morgan follows with a two-run single. Frank LaCorte fans Dale Murphy to slam the door in the ninth.
Oct 03 - Former Astro Joe Ferguson homers in the tenth off Ken Forsch to give Los Angeles a 3-2 decision and keep their pennant hopes alive. Alan Ashby's double and sacrifice fly put Houston ahead but the Dodgers tie it in the ninth when Ron Cey singles home Rick Monday.
Oct 04 - Former Astro Jerry Reuss scatters seven hits as the Dodgers stay alive in a 2-1 verdict. Steve Garvey's homer off Nolan Ryan is the game-winner. Art Howe singles home Jose Cruz for the lone Houston tally.
Oct 05 - Ron Cey belts a two-run homer off Frank LaCorte to give the Dodgers a 4-3 decision in Los Angeles. Houston needed just one win in the three-games series to claim their first division crown but are swept. The loss means the Astros must win a one-game playoff in Los Angeles the next day.
Oct 06 - Astros win the N.L. West for the first time with a 7-1 playoff victory in Los Angeles. Joe Niekro gets his 20th win on a six-hitter. Art Howe is the offensive star with four RBIs on a two-run homer and a two-run single. Craig Reynolds adds three hits. Alan Ashby is kneed by Dodger catcher Joe Ferguson after a violent collision in the fourth. Ashby's rib is broken and he'll miss most of the N.L.C.S.
Oct 07 - The first post-season game in Astros history is a 3-1 loss in Philadelphia in Game One of the N.L.C.S. Houston gets the first run when Gary Woods singles off Steve Carlton to score Jose Cruz. A two-run bomb by Greg Luzinski off Ken Forsch puts the Phillies ahead to stay.
Oct 08 - Houston tastes their first post-season win. It's a 7-4 ten-inning victory in Philadelphia to even the N.L.C.S. at 1-1. Frank LaCorte pitches out of a jam to send the game into extras at 3-3. Jose Cruz and Cesar Cedeno drive in runs in the tenth before Dave Bergman lashes a two-run triple to put the game out of reach.
Oct 10 - Denny Walling delivers Rafael Landestoy with a sacrifice fly as Houston wins their first post-season home game, 1-0, over Philadelphia. The Astros lead the best-of-five N.L.C.S., 2-1. Joe Morgan slams a Tug McGraw fastball high off the right field fence in the 11th inning for a triple and comes out for Landestoy. Joe Niekro blanks the Phils for ten innings before Dave Smith enters to get the win.
Oct 11 - In a game of bizarre moments, Philadelphia beats Houston, 5-3 in ten innings, to even the N.L.C.S. at 2-2. Pete Rose crashes into Bruce Bochy at home plate to score the winning run. The game features a fourth-inning triple play by Houston that was reduced to two outs after pitcher Vern Ruhle grabs a soft liner by Garry Maddox and tosses to first. Houston also loses a run when Gary Woods is called out for leaving third base early on a sixth-inning fly ball by Luis Pujols. In addition, an Astro outfield assist is ruled to occur just after Rose crosses the plate, allowing his run to count.
Oct 12 - Houston has a 5-2 lead and needs six outs to reach the World Series. Nolan Ryan is on the mound. Philadelphia surges back to win in ten innings, 8-7, and take the National League pennant before a drained Astrodome crowd. Manny Trillo's triple caps a five-run Phillie rally but the Astros tie it on hits from Rafael Landestoy and Jose Cruz. Garry Maddox's sinking double breaks the tie then he snares Enos Cabell's fly to break Houston hearts. The ten-inning game is the fourth consecutive extra-inning game of the series.
Oct 26 - Al Rosen is named as General Manager. The former Cleveland slugger comes from the New York Yankees' front office where owner John McMullen used to be a minority partner. Tal Smith is fired as President and General Manager, days before he is awarded Major League Executive of the Year for building the Astros in five seasons into their first pennant-winner. Angry HSA partners force a reorganization, reducing McMullen's power to make executive decisions without their consent.
Dec 03 - Don Sutton, a longtime nemesis as a Dodger, signs a free agent contract with Houston. He would post a 24-17 record in his two abbreviated seasons as an Astro which would eventually lead to a 324-win career, a plaque at the Hall of Fame and a second career as a broadcaster.
Dec 08 - Infielder Enos Cabell is dealt to San Francisco for pitcher Bob Knepper. Cabell eventually returns while Knepper earns a 93-100 record over nine seasons in an up-and-down Houston career.
Dec 10 - Astros ink untilityman Dave W. Roberts from the Texas Rangers as a free agent. He would play in 27 games the following season, hitting for a .241 average.