1998 - Timeline
from This Date in Astros History

Jan 09 - Houston inks a pair of free agent hurlers. One of them is lefty Pete Schourek, who has a history of arm problems and demands to only be used as a starter. He goes 7-6 in 15 starts before being sold to Boston in mid-season.

Jan 14 - Houston deals outfielder James Mouton to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Sean Bergman. Bergman contributes a 16-15 record on two division-winning Astros clubs.

Feb 22 - Tornadoes pound the Kissimmee, FL area where the Astros spring training camp is based. The fields themselves suffer minor damage. A light tower is blown down, an astroturf field is ripped up and a batting cage is blown across the street and crumpled into a heap. Power is out and several nearby homes where the Astros were staying are damaged. Eight people die at a nearby RV park. The Astros donate money to the relief efforts.

Mar 17 - Reliever Bryan Harvey asks for his unconditional release from the Astros training camp, ending a comeback bid for the former two-time All-Star.

Apr 01 - A passed ball lets in the winning run as Houston rallies for two in the eighth to topple San Francisco, 7-6. Moises Alou belts his first homer of the season and Craig Biggio swipes three bases.

Apr 03 - It's not in Colorado, but the Astros club the Rockies as if it was, 15-2. Derek Bell, now hitting in front of Jeff Bagwell in the lineup, drives in six and keys a seven-run uprising to put the game away.

Apr 05 - Astros greet Darryl Kile with five runs in the second inning, on their way to a 6-2 win over Colorado. Houston fans boo Kile who left the Astros as a free agent over the winter. Shane Reynolds' three-run double and Craig Biggio's two-run homer do the damage.

Apr 16 - Houston swipes six bases during a 7-4 win over the Reds. Mike Hampton, who had one of the thefts, also picks up his third victory of the season.

Apr 18 - Sean Berry tags Miguel Batista for a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 triumph against Montreal. Craig Biggio scores his 891st career run, breaking Cesar Cedeno's franchise record.

Apr 26 - Former Expos Sean Berry and Moises Alou lead a 15-0 thrashing in Montreal. Alou homers and drives in five runs while Berry and Richard Hidalgo each deliver four hits. Derek Bell also belts a home run. Sean Bergman is the beneficiary as Houston tallies in six of the nine frames.

Apr 27 - Tony Eusebio's double caps a three-run ninth-inning rally that stuns the Mets, 4-3. Sacrifice flies by Moises Alou and Ricky Gutierrez precede the game-winner, which came on Eusebio's 31st birthday. C.J. Nitkowski picks up the victory.

Apr 28 - Sean Berry singles home Tim Bogar in the tenth inning for a 4-3 victory over the Mets. Moises Alou's two-run single off John Franco in the ninth sets the stage for Berry's heroics.

May 06 - In perhaps the most dominant pitching performance of all time, Cubs rookie Kerry Wood strikes out 20 Astros en route to a 2-0 shutout. Ricky Gutierrez' third-inning single is the lone Houston hit. Wood walks none and hits one batter. Derek Bell is the final victim as Wood sets a National League single-game strikeout mark, tying Roger Clemens for the major league record.

May 16 - Craig Biggio swats a dramatic ninth-inning homer off Kerry Ligtenberg to drop the Braves, 3-2. Houston had scored twice on Greg Maddux but Atlanta evens it with two against Shane Reynolds. Doug Henry throws two perfect innings of relief to get the win.

Jun 14 - The Astros tag Cincinnati closer Jeff Shaw for five runs in a 6-3 ten-inning stunner. Barry Larkin's error lets Houston tie it in the ninth. Bill Spiers completes a four-hit night with a two-run homer in the tenth after an error by Reggie Sanders broke the deadlock.

Jun 17 - Houston nails closer Jeff Brantley with four runs in the bottom of the ninth to stun the Cardinals, 6-5. After Jeff Bagwell launches a two-run bomb to tie the game, Brad Ausmus singles home Carl Everett with the game-winner. C.J. Nitkowski is the beneficiary, picking up his second win.

Jun 30 - Jeff Bagwell and Moises Alou each belt a pair of homers and drive in four as the Astros sink the White Sox, 17-2, at the Astrodome. Their first homers go back-to-back off Jamie Navarro. The bats are working so well that Dave Clark can contribute a two-run double.

Jul 01 - Sean Berry raps four hits, including a homer, to pace a 10-4 triumph over the Chicago White Sox. Jeff Bagwell and Moises Alou also go deep. Houston plays "deuces wild", scoring two runs in five separate innings to complete the scoring.

Jul 15 - Billy Wagner is KO'd when Arizona's Kelly Stinnett swats a line drive off the pitcher's head . After Houston climbed back from a 7-1 deficit to take an 8-7 lead, a stunned Jay Powell must replace Wagner and gives up a game-tying double. Mike Magnante surrenders the game-winner in a 9-8, eleven-inning loss. Wagner would not return to action until August 9th.

Jul 20 - Doug Henry blows the save, allowing a two-run ninth-inning blast to Dante Bichette, but comes out the winner when Tim Bogar singles home Carl Everett for a 10-9 thriller over the Rockies. Everett touches home for the fourth time in the game, notching four hits and driving in three.

Jul 23 - Down 6-0 in Los Angeles after the first inning, Houston rallies for five in the eighth to tie the game then tallies twice more in the tenth for an 8-6 comeback win. Moises Alou's two-run homer leads the charge. Ricky Gutierrez draws a bases-loaded walk for the game-winner then Derek Bell singles home an insurance run.

Jul 31 - Prospects John Halama, Freddy Garcia and Carlos Guillen are traded to Seattle for pitcher Randy Johnson in the most celebrated mid-season trade in team history. Before the midnight deal, the Astros upend the Pirates, 7-4, to take their record to 65-44 on the season, 3-1/2 games ahead of the Cubs in the Central Division.

Aug 02 - Randy Johnson makes his first start as an Astro during a 6-2 victory in Pittsburgh . Johnson trails, 2-1, in the eighth when Ricky Gutierrez slaps a two-run double to put Houston ahead. A double by Tony Eusebio adds another run. Scott Elarton gets the save.

Aug 07 - Randy Johnson makes his Astro home debut a triumphant one, blanking the Phillies, 9-0, on a five-hitter. He fans eight and walks just one. Jeff Bagwell provides the run support with two homers and five RBIs. Moises Alou also goes deep.

Aug 12 - Randy Johnson fans 13 on his way to a five-hit, 3-0, whitewash of Milwaukee. It's Johnson's second straight shutout. In three starts since his trade from Seattle, Johnson is 3-0 with a 0.72 ERA. Craig Biggio supports him with three hits, including his 13th homer.

Aug 22 - Moises Alou goes 4-for-5 with a home run to lead Houston past the Cubs, 8-3. Bill Spiers and Craig Biggio also go deep. Randy Johnson fans nine over seven innings to get his fourth win in three weeks.

Aug 23 - Craig Biggio and Brad Ausmus team up to massacre the Cubs, 13-3. Biggio blasts a pair of three-run homers for six RBIs while Ausmus drives in five on a 4-for-4 afternoon at Wrigley. Jose Lima is the beneficiary in an easy win.

Aug 28 - Randy Johnson fans 16 as he blanks the Pirates, 2-0. Astro-killer Francisco Cordova is the victim of a balk and two errors as Brad Ausmus scores the game's only tallies. Johnson's month helps Houston increase their division lead over Chicago to seven games.

Aug 31 - Five straight Houston singles in the top of the ninth tie the Braves, 3-3, then Brad Ausmus delivers Derek Bell with the game-winner for a 4-3 shocker. Jay Powell takes the win in relief while Billy Wagner racks up his 26th save.

Sep 02 - Randy Johnson outduels Atlanta's Greg Maddux for a 4-2 triumph. Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and Sean Berry take Maddux deep. Billy Wagner closes for his 27th save.

Sep 07 - Randy Johnson fires a six-hit shutout, 1-0, over Cincinnati to sport a record of 7-1 with a 1.00 ERA since his midseason trade from Seattle. He fans 14. Derek Bell supplies the game's only run with a solo shot off Steve Parris in the sixth.

Sep 08 - Jeff Bagwell launches his first career grand slam and drives in six as Houston mauls the Reds, 13-7. Bagwell and Derek Bell contribute three hits apiece. Sean Bergman picks up the victory.

Sep 15 - Houston splits a doubleheader with the Mets, taking the opener in twelve innings, 6-5, for their record 97th win of the season. They lose the nightcap, 8-4. Houston wins the N.L. Central crown but the champagne is a little stale. The Astros "back in" to the title when the Cubs lose.

Sep 18 - Craig Biggio bangs four hits, including his 50th double of the year, during a 5-2 victory over the Pirates. Randy Johnson fans twelve en route to his ninth win in a Houston uniform. The 6-10 Johnson adds a double and a sacrifice bunt in the effort.

Sep 20 - Shane Reynolds earns his 19th win while Richard Hidalgo belts two solo homers for a 2-0 whitewash of the Pirates. Reynolds gets help from Jay Powell and Billy Wagner on the shutout. The Astros reach 99 wins for the first time in their history.

Sep 23 - Astros reach 100 wins for the first time in their history. The triumph is a 7-1 drubbing of St. Louis. Randy Johnson takes the victory to go 10-1 (1.28 ERA) during his two-month stint in Houston. Craig Biggio swipes his 50th to become only the second big leaguer to record 50 doubles and 50 steals in one season. Biggio would also set a team record with 210 hits.

Sep 27 - Carl Everett triples off Rod Beck in the 11th inning and scores on a sacrifice fly by Richard Hidalgo to drop the Cubs, 4-3. It ends a 102-60 regular season for the Astros (a .629 percentage), most wins in team history.

Sep 29 - Kevin Brown fans 16 Astros in eight innings as he outduels Randy Johnson in Game One of the N.L.D.S. Greg Vaughn's solo homer puts the Padres up by two. Bill Spiers doubles off Trevor Hoffman in the ninth and scores on a Ken Caminiti error . but Carl Everett flies to center for the final out. Houston loses, 2-1.

Oct 01 - Bill Spiers singles home Ricky Gutierrez in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 victory over San Diego in Game Two of the N.L.D.S. Jeff Bagwell brings home the first three runs while Derek Bell adds a solo shot. A two-run homer by Jim Leyritz ties it for the Padres, setting up the dramatic end. The series is tied at 1-1.

Oct 03 - Houston loses another 2-1 heartbreaker to the Padres in Game Three of the N.L.D.S. A walk to Craig Biggio forces home Carl Everett for their only run off Kevin Brown. Mike Hampton has a no-hitter for the first five innings but is touched for a run in the sixth. Jim Leyritz homers off Scott Elarton for the decisive run. 2-1 is also San Diego's lead in the series.

Oct 04 - San Diego shuts the door on Houston's best season ever with a 6-1 verdict in Game Four of the N.L.D.S. to claim the series, 3-1. After a Jim Leyritz homer, Jeff Bagwell plates Craig Biggio with a single to tie it. An error by Sean Berry gives the Padres the lead before they break it open with four runs in the eighth.

Nov 11 - Larry Dierker is named National League Manager of the Year, outpacing San Diego's Bruce Bochy, whose team eliminated Houston in the playoffs. He's the second Astro skipper to claim the award.

Nov 16 - Ken Caminiti signs a free agent deal to return to the Astros after four years in San Diego. In parts of two injury-plagued seasons, he would bat .293 with 28 homers and 101 RBIs as well as giving a clutch performance in the 1999 N.L.D.S.

Nov 30 - Randy Johnson signs a four-year deal with Arizona, ending hopes that the Astros could retain the dominating southpaw they surrendered three players to obtain. The trade is rehashed as the farmhands find success with Seattle in the coming years but General Manager Gerry Hunsicker insists he does not regret the move.

Dec 13 - Efforts to bring Texas legend Roger Clemens to the Astros collapse in spectacular fashion when General Manager Gerry Hunsicker blasts additional contract demands made by Clemens' Houston-based agents during a press conference at the winter meetings. It was a rare stipulation in Clemens' contract with the Toronto Blue Jays that allowed him to demand a trade. The Astros are willing to part with outfielder Derek Bell and pitcher Scott Elarton among others to acquire Clemens until they are informed the pitcher is also demanding a $43 million dollar contract extension rather than the $16 million dollars left on his two-year deal. Talks quickly reduce to name-calling. Owner Drayton McLane says he still hopes to make a deal but decides to stand with his negotiators. Ten days later, Clemens withdraws the trade demand but later invokes it when a deal is arranged with the New York Yankees.

Dec 14 - Outfielder Glen Barker is drafted in the winter supplemental draft from the Detroit Tigers. As a reserve, Barker bats .232 and steals 30 bases over three seasons.