2001 - Timeline
by Bob Hulsey
Jan 02 - Houston signs infielder Charlie Hayes to a contract. The veteran hits .200 in 50 at bats but might be best remembered for a chair-throwing incident early in the year.
Jan 03 - Righthander Kent Bottenfield is signed to a one-year free agent contract. Two seasons before, he was an 18-game winner but he will win just two for the Astros in his final big league season.
Jan 16 - Jim Deshaies, former Astro lefthander and current broadcaster, receives one vote in the Hall of Fame balloting. It comes from local sportswriter John Lopez. Deshaies receives notoriety for a humorous website openly promoting his candidacy for Cooperstown. At least he would have worn an Astros cap.
Jan 26 - A new rivalry gets a name. The Astros and the Texas Rangers announce together that their new interleague head-to-head matchup will be called the "Lone Star Series".
Feb 08 - Craig Cullinan, the last surviving member of the four men who brought Major League Baseball to Houston, is honored at the annual Houston Baseball Dinner. Jeff Bagwell is also there to pick up his 2000 Astros Most Valuable Player Award.
Mar 10 - Astros drop the first of a two-game exhibition series in Valencias, Venezuela to the Cleveland Indians, 7-6. The following day's game would end in an 8-8 tie after Adam Everett's two-run homer in the ninth produces the stalemate.
Apr 03 - Craig Biggio returns from knee surgery in style with the first five-hit game of his career during an 11-3 Opening Day win against Milwaukee, scoring three times. Daryle Ward and Chris Truby belt homers.
Apr 04 - Richard Hidalgo slugs a three-run homer in the bottom of the 12th to shock Milwaukee, 8-6, after the Brewers grabbed the lead against Jay Powell in the top of the frame. Hidalgo has two homers and five RBIs for the night. Daryle Ward has four hits and Chris Truby adds a two-run blast.
Apr 05 - Chris Truby and Richard Hidalgo stay hot with two-run homers each in an 8-2 drubbing of Milwaukee to sweep the series. Wade Miller and Scott Linebrink combine to scatter seven hits.
Apr 06 - Craig Biggio homers and drives in three to pace a 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh to give the Astros a 4-0 start on the young season. Octavio Dotel tosses seven strong innings for the win.
Apr 07 - Free agent signee Kent Bottenfield loses his Astro debut, a 5-3 decision by the Pirates. Pat Meares is 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs. Jon Vander Wal scores three times.
Apr 08 - Pittsburgh's Aramis Ramirez explodes for three home runs and six RBIs to lead the Pirates over Houston, 9-3. Jeff Bagwell and Julio Lugo answer with homers but they are not enough.
Apr 10 - Chris Truby blasts a three-run homer in the ninth at Miller Park to stun the Brewers, 3-0. Jose Lima and Billy Wagner combine on a six-hitter.
Apr 11 - Lance Berkman goes 4-for-5 with a home run as the Astros spank Milwaukee, 7-1. Wade Miller goes the distance on a three-hitter, striking out twelve. Jeff Bagwell also goes deep.
Apr 12 - Jose Hernandez torches the Astros for two homers and seven RBIs in a 12-4 Milwaukee verdict. Jeff Bagwell is 4-for-4 with another homer.
Apr 13 - A two-run homer by Craig Biggio in the seventh beats the Cardinals, 4-2. Orlando Merced also goes yard. Billy Wagner escapes a jam in the ninth for the save.
Apr 14 - Chris Truby slams two home runs to pace a 7-4 win in St. Louis. Scott Elarton survives three solo homers to pick up the victory.
Apr 16 - Houston outhits the Pirates, 8-5, but are shut out, 3-0. A two-run single by Aramis Ramirez off Wade Miller in the sixth snaps a scoreless tie. Jimmy Anderson needs help from two relievers on the whitewash.
Apr 18 - Aramis Ramirez drives in three to pace an 8-4 Pittsburgh win over Houston. Jon Vander Wal adds four hits. Solo homers by Lance Berkman and Richard Hidalgo are the Astros' response.
Apr 20 - Scott Elarton and two relievers surrender just three hits in a 10-1 stomping of St. Louis. Lance Berkman, Julio Lugo and Orlando Merced supply the long ball. Moises Alou drives in three.
Apr 21 - Jose Lima allows all nine runs as St. Louis gets a 9-2 revenge at Enron Field. J.D. Drew homers twice to lead the Redbirds.
Apr 22 - Richard Hidalgo's sacrifice fly scores Craig Biggio with the winning run to upend the Cardinals, 4-3. Wade Miller works eight innings for the victory before Billy Wagner closes it out.
Apr 24 - Moises Alou bangs two home runs among his four hits as Houston pounds the Braves, 11-6. Tony Eusebio adds a homer and three RBIs.
Apr 25 - Three Atlanta homers are enough to overcome the Astros, 11-3. Kevin Millwood holds Houston in check.
Apr 27 - A solo homer by Eric Owens in the tenth, his fifth hit of the night, settles a 9-8 Florida verdict over Houston. Julio Lugo belts a grand slam for the Astros.
Apr 30 - New York slams Scott Elarton and the Astros, 8-2. It finishes a 12-12 month as the Astros start the season tied for fourth in the Central Division.
May 01 - A grand slam homer by Robin Ventura off Jay Powell keys a five-run seventh that pushes the Mets past Houston, 7-5. Earlier, Mike Piazza goes deep off starter Octavio Dotel.
May 02 - Lance Berkman and Moises Alou slug back-to-back home runs in the tenth inning then hold on to nip the Mets, 6-5. Solo shots are the order of the day as Alou, Craig Biggio and Daryle Ward go yard in the eighth inning as well. Edgardo Alfonso and Jay Payton play long ball for New York.
May 04 - Craig Biggio collects his 2,000th career hit during an 8-4 victory in Montreal. It's an infield single off Javier Vasquez. He later singles before Jeff Bagwell belts a disputed three-run shot in the fifth to open the scoring. Wade Miller, named NL Pitcher of the Month for April, picks up his fifth win.
May 05 - Houston manufactures four runs on just three hits to shave the Expos, 4-3. All four tallies come in the third with a two-run single by Lance Berkman the key blow. Shane Reynolds evens his record at 2-2.
May 06 - Jeff Bagwell hits a grand slam and drives in five while Julio Lugo goes five-for-five during a 13-7 spanking in Montreal. Richard Hidalgo adds a three-run shot. Six runs in the sixth break open a 3-3 tie.
May 07 - Robert Person fires a two-hitter while blanking the Astros, 5-0. The Philadelphia righty fans eight while getting home run support from Scott Rolen and Mike Lieberthal.
May 09 - Glen Barker scores the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth on Ricky Bottalico's throwing error to give the Astros a 7-6 victory over Philadelphia. Billy Wagner gets the win after blowing the save.
May 12 - Houston splits a pair of one-run games in Cincinnati, winning the opener 2-1 but losing the nightcap 5-4. Craig Biggio doubles and homers to score both runs in the lidlifter. After Lance Berkman's three-run shot in the ninth ties the second game, the Reds win on a single by Alex Ochoa.
May 13 - A leadoff homer by Julio Lugo and a two-run double by Chris Truby key a four-run first inning. The Astros hang on for a 4-3 triumph over the Reds. Kent Bottenfield claims his second win of the year.
May 14 - Moises Alou's three-run double is the game-winner in a 6-4 victory in Cincinnati. Roy Oswalt gets his first major league win in relief of Wade Miller. Brad Ausmus contributes three hits.
May 15 - Tony Eusebio belts a two-run blast in the 12th inning to muzzle the Cubs, 9-7. Vinny Castilla, signed earlier in the day, adds three hits including a homer. Castilla becomes one of the best in-season signings in team history, batting .270 with 23 homers and 82 RBIs while solidifying third base.
May 16 - Shane Reynolds allows a two-run homer to Sammy Sosa but no further damage on his way to a 6-2 Houston victory in Chicago. Orlando Merced answers with a two-run blast of his own.
May 17 - Richard Hidalgo blasts a two-run shot in the seventh inning that downs the Cubs, 4-2. The clout comes off Kyle Farnsworth. Roy Oswalt wins his second big-league game while Billy Wagner notches his tenth save.
May 18 - A grand slam by Jason Larue off Kent Bottenfield keys a 7-4 Cincinnati decision at Enron Field. Daryle Ward smashes a three-run shot for the Astros.
May 19 - Lance Berkman has three hits, including his 10th home run, to pace a 6-3 victory over the Reds. Craig Biggio drives in a pair. Jeff Bagwell adds a solo shot.
May 20 - Lance Berkman stays hot with four hits but Cincinnati prevails, 6-5. Moises Alou and Daryle Ward homer. Jose Lima takes the loss.
May 21 - Ryan Klesko belts two home runs and drives in six to lead San Diego over Houston, 7-6. His three-run shot off Jay Powell in the seventh is the game-winner. Jeff Bagwell swats a grand slam in a losing cause.
May 23 - After Houston rallies to tie the Padres in the eighth, San Diego wins, 7-6, when Mark Kotsay gets his fourth hit of the night to drive in the winning run. Billy Wagner is the losing pitcher.
May 25 - Chan Ho Park strikes out ten and the Dodgers scatter seven hits while downing Houston, 4-1. Three of those hits come from Jeff Bagwell.
May 26 - Marquis Grissom bangs two home runs and drives in five for a 7-2 Los Angeles decision. Shane Reynolds sees his record fall to 4-4.
May 27 - The Dodgers sweep the series, 5-4. Lance Berkman slams a two-run shot in the top of the 12th to give the Astros the lead but Los Angeles scores three times off Roy Oswalt with Berkman's fielding error bringing home the game-winner.
May 29 - A two-out bases-loaded double by Craig Biggio gets Houston within one run in the ninth but Trevor Hoffman fans Tony Eusebio for the final out as Houston falls again, 5-4, in San Diego.
May 30 - Wade Miller goes three-for-three and notches his seventh win to stop the Padres, 7-4. The win snaps an eight-game losing skid that had sunk Houston below the .500 mark. Craig Biggio leads off the game with his fifth home run of the year.
May 31 - Vinny Castilla has four hits and Lance Berkman drives in three as the Astros double up San Diego, 8-4. Shane Reynolds homers. Houston concludes a 14-13 month to stand at 26-25 for the season, in fourth place.
Jun 01 - Richard Hidalgo bangs a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth to top the Dodgers, 10-9, at Enron Field. It's Hidalgo's fourth hit of the night and third RBI. Vinny Castilla adds three hits and also goes deep.
Jun 02 - Craig Biggio takes part in both tallies as the Astros nip the Dodgers, 2-1. Roy Oswalt goes six innings for the win, surrendering a solo shot to Adrian Beltre. Billy Wagner claims his 13th save.
Jun 03 - Houston wastes a two-homer, six-RBI night from Vinny Castilla as they lose to the Dodgers in ten innings, 9-8. Ex-Astro Tim Bogar takes Octavio Dotel deep for the deciding blow.
Jun 05 - Former Astro hurler Mike Hampton homers twice and gets the win in a 9-4 verdict over Houston. Craig Biggio and Moises Alou go deep in the thin Colorado air.
Jun 07 - Jeff Bagwell's two-run homer in the first stands up for a 2-1 victory at Coors Field. A solo shot by Brooks Keischnick off winning pitcher Shane Reynolds in the eighth is the lone Colorado tally.
Jun 08 - Houston wins the first-ever in-season meeting with the Texas Rangers, 5-4, at The Ballpark in Arlington. DH Moises Alou is the hero with a solo blast off Tim Crabtree in the 11th for the winning run.
Jun 09 - Ivan Rodriguez smashes two home runs and drives in five to lead a 16-4 mauling over Houston. Three other Rangers go deep. Moises Alou answers with three hits and a home run.
Jun 10 - Orlando Merced belts a two-out pinch-hit three-run homer in the top of the ninth to stun the Texas Rangers, 6-5, and take two of three in the first "Lone Star Series". Jay Powell picks up the win after blowing the save in the previous frame.
Jun 12 - Brad Radke of Minnesota spins a four-hit shutout, blanking the Astros, 7-0. Home runs off Scott Elarton and Nelson Cruz account for five of the runs.
Jun 14 - Houston finally breaks out of their Metrodome funk with an 8-3 triumph over the Twins. Lance Berkman leads the way with four hits, two home runs, and six RBIs. Orlando Merced adds three hits.
Jun 15 - Texas scores five runs in the eighth to take a 12-9 slugfest over Houston. Moises Alou slams two homers and drives in five. Ex-Astro Ken Caminiti has three hits to pace the Rangers.
Jun 16 - Richard Hidalgo's sacrifice fly in the eighth chases home Jeff Bagwell for a 2-1 victory over the Texas Rangers at Enron Field. Nelson Cruz picks up the win in relief of Tony McKnight. Texas would win the next day to claim a split in the inaugural six-game Lone Star Series.
Jun 18 - Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman drive in four runs apiece to drum the Rockies, 13-5. Tony Eusebio adds a double and a homer. Colorado manages to outhit Houston, 14-12, and still lose by eight.
Jun 19 - Roy Oswalt gets his fifth win, with help from four relievers, in a 6-4 victory over the Rockies. Lance Berkman drives in two.
Jun 20 - Moises Alou goes 4-for-4 with a home run as the Astros sweep Colorado, 7-2. Wade Miller wins his eighth, allowing two solo homers for two of his four hits surrendered.
Jun 21 - In Enron Field fashion, the Astros belt five home runs and lose to the Reds, 8-7, in eleven innings. Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell and Richard Hidalgo go deep in a four-run first. Lance Berkman adds four hits and two homers. Cincinnati smacks four long balls of their own but mere singles produce the game-winner.
Jun 22 - Billy Wagner gives up two runs in the tenth as the Reds upend Houston, 7-5. A solo shot by Daryle Ward in the ninth had sent the game into extra frames.
Jun 23 - Astros trade former 21-game winner Jose Lima to Detroit for righthander Dave Mlicki. After his career year in 1999, the excitable Lima would have an 8-18 record leading up to the deal. On the field, Jeff Bagwell and Moises Alou go deep in a 9-3 spanking of Cincinnati.
Jun 24 - An RBI-grounder by Jeff Bagwell in the eighth snaps a 5-5 tie which leads Houston to a 7-5 victory over the Reds. Infielders Julio Lugo and Jose Vizcaino combine for five hits and five runs scored.
Jun 25 - Three pitchers combine to blank Arizona, 6-0. Wade Miller gets the win with help from Jay Powell and Mike Jackson. Lance Berkman and Moises Alou go yard.
Jun 26 - Astros smack five home runs at Bank One Ballpark in a 10-7 slugfest over the Diamondbacks. Lance Berkman hits his 20th long ball and drives in three. Octavio Dotel picks up the win in relief.
Jun 27 - Houston makes another pitching trade, dealing reliever Jay Powell to Colorado for lefthander Ron Villone. Powell has an 8-7 record with four saves during his time in Houston. On the field, Arizona beats the Astros, 7-5, despite two home runs from Moises Alou.
Jun 30 - Vinny Castilla has three hits to pace a 7-4 triumph in Milwaukee. Craig Biggio and Richard Hidalgo both drill their 13th homer of the year. The Astros stand at 41-37 for the season, 4-1/2 games behind Chicago in second place, after a 15-12 month of June.
Jul 01 - Wade Miller wins his tenth game, a 6-1 victory over the Brewers. Moises Alou supports the effort with three RBIs.
Jul 02 - Tim Redding gets his first major league win, downing Milwaukee, 6-4. After six shutout innings, Redding allows a three-run shot to Raul Casanova. Julio Lugo has three hits, two runs scored, a triple, an RBI and a steal.
Jul 03 - Ex-Astro Luis Gonzalez belts two homers off Scott Elarton and drives in five but it leaves Arizona one short in a 6-5 Houston triumph. Julio Lugo stays hot with four hits, including the game-winning homer off Curt Schilling.
Jul 04 - Randy Johnson and Byung Hyun Kim combine for 18 strikeouts in a 3-2 Diamondbacks squeaker at Enron Field. They allow just four hits. Johnson gets an RBI single of his own off loser Shane Reynolds.
Jul 05 - Roy Oswalt finds a groove, striking out eight in a 5-1 victory over Arizona at Enron Field. Lance Berkman, Vinny Castilla and Craig Biggio support him with home runs. The rookie righthander runs his record to 7-1 and shrinks his ERA to 2.26.
Jul 07 - Jeff Bagwell ties a club record with seven RBIs in a 10-8 slugfest in Kansas City. His day starts with a three-run shot off Paul Byrd and finishes with a two-run double in the eighth to give the Astros breathing room. Lance Berkman strokes four safeties to run his hitting streak to 20 games.
Jul 08 - Scott Elarton is ejected after he hits the first batter and misses a 14-5 thrashing by the Astros in Kansas City. After Craig Biggio and Julio Lugo are plunked to start the game, umpires warn both teams. After Elarton hits Rey Sanchez with his fifth pitch of the day, he and skipper Larry Dierker get the thumb. Jeff Bagwell and Mendy Lopez bash three-run homers in the game. Lance Berkman (.365) and Moises Alou (.362) take the league's top two batting averages into the All-Star break.
Jul 13 - Jeff Bagwell and Vinny Castilla bash two home runs apiece off Woody Williams in an 11-3 triumph over San Diego. Both get three hits. Castilla drives in five while Bagwell has four RBIs. Brad Ausmus also goes deep for good measure.
Jul 15 - Houston puts up three tallies in the fifth to outlast the Indians, 5-3. Tim Redding and the bullpen allow just six hits, half of them by Juan Gonzalez. Moises Alou adds a sarifice fly and a solo shot.
Jul 16 - Vinny Castilla drives in four as Houston scores five times in the eighth to grab a 10-8 victory over the Cleveland Indians. The Astros greet John Rocker for four of those runs. Ron Villone takes the win in relief.
Jul 18 - Jeff Bagwell hits for the cycle during a 17-11 slugfest over St. Louis at Enron Field. Bagwell's three-run homer is the crowning blow in an eight-run fifth after the Cardinals tallied six in the top half of the frame. Bagwell also doubles in the inning and triples in the seventh for the milestone. Moises Alou, Brad Ausmus and Craig Biggio leave the yard as well.
Jul 19 - A three-run homer by Mark McGwire is the difference in a 4-1 St. Louis verdict. Placido Polanco also goes yard off Wade Miller.
Jul 20 - A pinch-hit grand slam homer by Orlando Merced keys a five-run fifth inning and a 5-2 triumph over the Cubs. It makes a winner of Tim Redding for the third time. Three relievers chip in, including Billy Wagner who notches his 21st save.
Jul 21 - Sammy Sosa homers twice off Dave Mlicki as Chicago takes a 5-4 decision over Houston. Lance Berkman and Jeff Bagwell answer with long balls, the 27th homer of the year for each.
Jul 22 - Shane Reynolds and two relievers team to blank the Cubs on five hits, 3-0. Houston has just four of their own, two of them by Jeff Bagwell, including a home run.
Jul 23 - Kerry Wood bests Roy Oswalt in a 6-2 Chicago win that splits the four-game series in Houston, leaving the Astros still three games in back of the Cubs in the division chase.
Jul 24 - Mark McGwire takes Wade Miller deep again but it is one of just two St. Louis hits as the Astros edge the Redbirds, 2-1. Two unearned runs in the third, driven in by Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, make the difference.
Jul 26 - Moises Alou homers to tie the Pirates at 2-2, then Craig Biggio singles home Orlando Merced for a 3-2 triumph. Dave Mlicki allows five hits in seven innings for the win.
Jul 27 - Pittsburgh's Aramis Ramirez goes yard off Shane Reynolds in the sixth for the game-winner in a 3-2 squeaker at PNC Park. Vinny Castilla had gone deep for the Astros.
Jul 28 - A grand slam by Brian Giles off Billy Wagner caps a seven-run ninth as the Astros waste a three-homer performance by Vinny Castilla in a 9-8 loss to Pittsburgh at PNC Park. They make sure not to blow a similar lead in the nightcap of the twinbill, scoring four times in the ninth to seal a 12-3 victory.
Jul 31 - In a pair of deadline deals, Houston ships pitcher Scott Elarton and a minor leaguer to Colorado for pitcher Pedro Astacio then deals pitcher Tony McKnight to Pittsburgh for reliever Mike Williams. On the field, Craig Biggio's tenth-inning homer stops the Mets, 3-2. It caps a 17-11 month for the Astros, who are at 58-48 for the season. They trail the Cubs by 4-1/2 games, four closer than the Cardinals who are 8-1/2 back.
Aug 01 - Mike Jackson allows six runs in the tenth inning, providing New York an 8-2 knockout. The Astros can only dent Bruce Chen for two hits in six innings, collecting just four on the night.
Aug 02 - Orlando Merced cracks a two-run double in the bottom of the ninth to tie the Mets then Moises Alou finishes the job in the tenth with an infield hit that scores Craig Biggio for a 4-3 triumph. Mike Williams, newly acquired from Pittsburgh, takes the win in relief.
Aug 03 - Brad Ausmus swats a three-run homer to pace a 6-2 victory over Montreal. Daryle Ward and Jose Vizcaino notch three hits apiece. Shane Reynolds goes the distance for his tenth win.
Aug 04 - Roy Oswalt spins a complete-game three-hitter, silencing the Expos, 4-1. All of Houston's runs come in the sixth, capped by a two-run double from Brad Ausmus.
Aug 05 - Houston tacks another 4-1 defeat on Montreal, sweeping the series. Moises Alou and Vinny Castilla supply the long ball. Starter Wade Miller leaves after the first pitch but Ron Villone steps in to get the victory.
Aug 07 - A three-run homer by Marcus Giles off Nelson Cruz is the difference as the Braves nip Houston, 6-5. Richard Hidalgo supplies three hits.
Aug 08 - Julio Lugo's sacrifice fly in the 12th inning gives the Astros a 2-1 victory in Atlanta. Vinny Castilla had driven in the other run. Chipper Jones notches four hits for the Braves.
Aug 09 - Orlando Merced singles home the winning run in the ninth as Houston nips the Braves again, 6-5. Pinch-hitter Daryle Ward had tied it up in the eighth. Octavio Dotel picks up the victory in relief.
Aug 10 - Criag Biggio and Vinny Castilla swat four hits each in a 7-2 triumph at Florida. Castilla and Jeff Bagwell launch homers. Pedro Astacio wins for the first time as an Astro.
Aug 11 - Marlins skewer the Astros, 13-5, pounding 18 hits. Jeff Bagwell hits his 30th homer of the year, his sixth straight year to belt 30 or more home runs.
Aug 12 - Homers from Lance Berkman, Jeff Bagwell, Daryle Ward and Vinny Castilla pace a 10-5 clubbing of Florida. Dave Mlicki allows three long balls but still coasts to the win. Houston moves within 1/2 game of division-leading Chicago.
Aug 13 - Craig Biggio, Vinny Castilla and Daryle Ward go deep in a 9-5 victory over the Cubs to grab the division lead. A pair of four-run innings do the damage. Ward drives in three.
Aug 14 - Chicago reclaims first with a 3-1 decision. Craig Biggio's home run to lead off the first is the only Houston tally.
Aug 15 - Jon Lieber handcuffs the Astros on three hits as Chicago quiets Houston, 5-1. Lance Berkman swats his 31st homer.
Aug 16 - Pittsburgh whacks three solo home runs but Houston wins, 4-3, without benefit of the long ball. Two run-scoring singles by Moises Alou spark the Astro attack. Wade Miller gets his 13th victory.
Aug 17 - Billy Wagner gives up a two-run homer in the ninth but hangs on to scuttle the Pirates, 6-5. He gets his 28th save. Richard Hidalgo leads the offense with three hits, including a home run.
Aug 18 - Carlos Hernandez fires a masterful two-hit shutout over seven innings in his big league debut to snuff the Pirates, 3-0. Hernandez strikes out seven. Octavio Dotel tosses two perfect innings for the save. Moises Alou and Richard Hidalgo drive in runs while Jeff Bagwell steals home in the first inning.
Aug 19 - Houston sweeps the four-game set with Pittsburgh, 12-2. Richard Hidalgo stars with three hits and four RBIs. He blasts a homer as do Jeff Bagwell and Vinny Castilla. Roy Oswalt fans ten for his tenth win.
Aug 21 - Astros snap a 2-2 tie with six runs in the seventh to flush the Phillies, 8-2. A two-run double by Lance Berkman and a two-run triple by Brad Ausmus break the game open for winner Pedro Astacio.
Aug 23 - Craig Biggio chases home Orlando Merced in the 12th for a 2-1 triumph in Philadelphia. Jeff Bagwell had plated Biggio in the opening frame with the first Houston run. Mike Jackson wins in relief.
Aug 26 - Ron Villone and four relievers outduel the Pirates, 3-1. Billy Wagner claims his 30th save, the fourth time in five years he has achieved that mark.
Aug 28 - Jeff Bagwell's two-run blast in the seventh topples Cincinnati, 6-4, at Enron Field. Moises Alou adds three hits. Houston fends off two home runs from Dmitri Young.
Aug 29 - Moises Alou and Jeff Bagwell drive in two runs each as the Astros knock off the Reds, 6-2. Nelson Cruz wins in relief of Carlos Hernandez.
Aug 30 - Rookie Roy Oswalt tosses a complete-game three-hitter to subdue the Reds, 6-1. It's his 12th win. Jeff Bagwell and Richard Hidalgo drive in a pair of runs each to support the cause. Houston stays four games ahead of Chicago in the NL Central chase.
Aug 31 - Vinny Castilla stuns the Brewers with a two-run homer in the ninth for a 3-2 triumph at Miller Park. Castilla plated the other Houston run with a single in the seventh. Mike Williams gets the win while Billy Wagner notches the save. It caps a 21-7 month of August to stand at 79-55 for the season.
Sep 01 - Milwaukee's Richie Sexson smashes a solo shot in the ninth off Mike Jackson, his second homer of the game, to stun Houston, 4-3. Jeff Bagwell's two-run blast had given the Astros the early edge.
Sep 02 - Wade Miller and Billy Wagner combine for a six-hit, 12-strikeout shutout of the Brewers. Miller attains his 15th win. Jeff Bagwell drives in Jose Vizcaino for the game's only score.
Sep 04 - Lance Berkman has three hits and drives in three to pace a 7-1 triumph over the Reds. Vinny Castilla adds four hits. Roy Oswalt tosses seven shutout innings for the victory.
Sep 05 - Vinny Castilla blasts a homer and two doubles to drive in six and give the Reds the blues, 10-3. Daryle Ward and Jose Vizcaino also double twice. Dave Mlicki coasts to the easy victory.
Sep 06 - Mark Loretta singles home Lou Collier in the tenth to edge Houston, 4-3. Milwaukee strikes out 15 times at the hands of Astro hurlers but deliver the knockout blow off Billy Wagner.
Sep 07 - Wade Miller fans ten in a 5-3 victory over the Brewers. Lance Berkman's two-run double puts Houston ahead to stay.
Sep 09 - Roy Oswalt fans a dozen Brewers in a complete game shutout, 8-0. Four home runs provide plenty of support. Oswalt runs his record to 14-2 in his rookie season but injuries keep him out of the stretch drive. Houston expands their division lead to 5-1/2 games over St. Louis. They will not play again for nine days.
Sep 11 - We will never forget. Baseball is interrupted for a week as the nation responds to terrorist attacks that kill thousands on the East Coast. The missed games are added onto the end of the schedule.
Sep 18 - In their first game since the terrorist attacks of a week ago, the Astros stun Robb Nen with two runs in the ninth to edge the Giants, 3-2. Jeff Bagwell's triple chases home Adam Everett before Moises Alou's sacrifice fly breaks the tie. Mike Williams wins in relief while Billy Wagner notches his 37th save.
Sep 19 - Jeff Bagwell and Moises Alou go deep to guide a 10-3 blasting in San Francisco. Julio Lugo and Lance Berkman chip in three hits each.
Sep 20 - Lance Berkman's double in the tenth completes a sweep of the Giants, 5-4. It's his second run-scoring double of the game. Barry Bonds swats his 64th homer of the season.
Sep 21 - Fred McGriff homers and drives in five as Chicago bashes Houston, 12-4. Sammy Sosa goes deep and scores four times. Lance Berkman stays hot for the Astros with three hits, including his 32nd homer.
Sep 22 - A pinch-hit bases-loaded triple by Orlando Merced keys a six-run fifth that buries the Cubs, 8-4. Two homers by Todd Hundley and another long ball by Fred McGriff are not enough for Chicago.
Sep 23 - Sammy Sosa blasts three home runs off Tim Redding but the Astros stll come away with a 7-6 victory at Enron Field. The Chicago slugger notches his 58th dinger of the year. Moises Alou and Lance Berkman answer with long balls of their own. Mike Williams improves to 4-0 out of the bullpen.
Sep 24 - Houston greets 20-game winner Matt Morris with a seven-run fourth to drub the Cardinals, 9-2. Dave Mlicki wins his seventh since a mid-season deal with Detroit. The Astros extend their division lead over St. Louis to 5-1/2 games with a dozen left to play. It's the same lead they have over the entire National League.
Sep 26 - Mark McGwire homers twice as the Cardinals stay alive with a 5-1 decision in Houston. The Astros' only run is a ninth-inning blast by Jeff Bagwell.
Sep 27 - Vinny Castilla's three-run homer is the game-winner as Houston nips the Cubs, 6-5. Winner Shane Reynolds drives in two for himself. Sammy Sosa has four hits, including a homer, to delight the fans at Wrigley Field.
Sep 29 - Three first-inning homers off Dave Mlicki key a 6-2 Chicago verdict. The Astros manage just four hits against Kerry Wood and the Cubs bullpen.
Sep 30 - A sacrifice fly by Ricky Gutierrez in the eighth gives the Cubs a 6-5 squeaker over Houston. The Astros still have the National League's best record but their lead over St. Louis in the division has shrunk to one game. Houston's record is 91-65 after a 12-10 month of September. They need one win to lock up a playoff spot.
Oct 03 - Jeff Kent and Benito Santiago drive in three runs each as the Giants humble Houston, 11-8. A five-run Astro rally in the ninth makes the score more respectable. Houston is still a win away from clinching a playoff spot.
Oct 04 - After being walked eight times in the three-game series, San Francisco's Barry Bonds belts his record-tying 70th home run of the season off Wilfredo Rodriguez in the ninth inning of a 10-2 rout at Enron Field. The Astros, in a six-game tailspin, are booed by the home fans both for pitching around Bonds and for threatening to miss the playoffs after having almost sewn it up a week ago.
Oct 05 - With their season in turmoil, Lance Berkman delivers twice in a crucial 2-1 triumph in St. Louis, clinching a tie for a playoff spot. Berkman homers off Jeff Tabaka in the eighth to tie it then doubles home Craig Biggio in the ninth for the game-winner.
Oct 06 - St. Louis outmuscles Houston, 10-6, to keep their division hopes alive. Craig Paquette delivers four hits for the Redbirds. Craig Biggio answers with a three-run homer.
Oct 07 - Shane Reynolds wins his 100th game as an Astro and it comes at the best possible time. He drops St. Louis, 9-2, to claim Houston's fourth division title in five years. Richard Hidalgo blasts a two-run homer in the second off Darryl Kile and the Astros never look back. While the two clubs share 93-69 records, the Astros claim the title by winning nine of 16 head-to-head matchups.
Oct 09 - A three-run homer by Chipper Jones is the difference as Houston falls again to Atlanta, 7-4, in Game One of the N.L.D.S. at Enron Field. Wade Miller held a slim lead going into the eighth but Mike Jackson and Billy Wagner fail to hold the fort. Brad Ausmus hit a two-run homer to help the Astros build the lead. Vinny Castilla adds a solo shot in the ninth.
Oct 10 - Tom Glavine and John Smoltz combine on a seven-hit shutout to blank the Astros, 1-0, in Game Two of the N.L.D.S. The only run is scored by B.J. Surhoff on a double-play grounder after a double and an error by Julio Lugo.
Oct 12 - Astros are swept by the Braves at Turner Field, 6-2, to close out another disappointing N.L.D.S, their third such fate at the hands of Atlanta in five years. Former Houston backup Paul Bako homers off Shane Reynolds and drives in three. Daryle Ward's two-run blast is the only response for the Astros. In six post-season series in their history, not only have the Astros never won a game where they could clinch a series but have also never won a game where they could avoid elimination.
Oct 18 - Larry Dierker resigns as manager, ending a five-year run that can be argued as the most successful in team history. His winning percentage (.553) is tops for the franchise. His 448 wins rank second to Bill Virdon. The good news was four division crowns in five years. The bad news was a 2-12 post-season record, failing to escape out of the first round of the playoffs each year. But the numbers don't begin to capture Dierker's story, one as unique as the Hawaiian-shirted lanky Californian that has spent practically his entire adulthood with the franchise.
Oct 19 - Coach Matt Galante ends a 22-year run in the Astros organization when he accepts a coaching position with the New York Mets. Galante managed Houston farm clubs and skippered the Astros in 1999 while Larry Dierker recovered from a brain seizure.
Oct 24 - Bill Spiers announces his retirement. Back problems limit the versatile utilityman from continuing a career that saw its heyday in Houston after stops in Milwaukee and New York. He bats .288 with 21 homers and 199 RBIs during six years as an Astro, and is best known for his clutch hitting and solid infield play.
Nov 01 - Jimy Williams is introduced as the new Astros manager. A former infielder, Williams proclaims his love for developing young players and compares it to tending a garden.
Nov 06 - Brad Ausmus wins the Gold Glove for National League catchers, given annually in recognition of defensive skills. He becomes the first Houston catcher so honored and the first Astro to be selected since Craig Biggio in 1997. Ausmus would win the award again in 2002.
Nov 14 - Former Astro Ken Caminiti is arrested on drug possession charges. The infielder had previously battled alcoholism and will admit the following year that he used steroids in his MVP season with San Diego.
Dec 03 - Reserve outfielder Brian Hunter is signed to a free agent contract. It is his second tour of duty with the Astros.
Dec 08 - Catcher Gregg Zaun is signed to a free agent contract while Houston loses third baseman Vinny Castilla to Atlanta in another free agency move. Zaun backs up Brad Ausmus behind the plate and also serves as the player rep during a year almost cut short by strike.
Dec 14 - Astros co-host a job fair for laid-off employees of Enron. The power giant, who owns naming rights to the Astros' downtown ballpark, is in a freefall after accounting scandals come to light.
Dec 21 - Pitchers C.J. Nitkowski and T.J. Matthews are signed to free agent deals. Nitkowski would not make the parent club while Matthews does briefly before injuries end his season.