2005 - Timeline
from This Date in Astros History

Jan 08 - Hopes of retaining free agent center fielder Carlos Beltran are dashed when the deadline to re-sign him expires. Beltran had rejected a reported seven-year $105 million dollar offer, the richest in club history, before signing with the New York Mets a few days later.

Jan 21 - Roger Clemens forestalls retirement yet again, signing the richest salary ever for a pitcher as he agrees to return to the Astros for an $18 million dollar paycheck.

Jan 23 - After signing 30-something veterans Turk Wendell and Dave Burba to spring contracts, the Astros really get "old school", inking 44-year-old lefthander John Franco to a one-year $700,000 deal. The 21-year veteran comes to Houston in second place all-time for career saves (424) and appearances (1,088) but is released with a 0-1 record after 31 games.

Feb 09 - Sometimes they seem like Siamese twins even though Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio are not. The two infielders receive induction into the Hall of Fame - the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco, that is. Soon to be Astro teammates for 15 years straight, the pair are closing careers they hope will land them in a bigger hall - the one in Cooperstown, NY.

Feb 10 - Houston avoids arbitration for the eighth straight year by coming to terms with pitcher Roy Oswalt on a two-year deal worth $16.9 million. A 20-game winner in both 2004 and 2005, he will receive $11 million in 2006.

Mar 19 - Lance Berkman is signed to a six-year contract worth $85 million dollars. Eligible for free agency after the season, Berkman had set a deadline to be re-signed by Opening Day. Berkman is glad to be under contract for the rest of the decade.

Mar 23 - The burnt orange Hummer owned by Koby Clemens' father is stolen from the Memorial High School parking lot. It is recovered later in a southwest Houston apartment complex, apparently unharmed. The Hummer was a gift from the New York Yankees to celebrate father Roger's 300th major league win. The elder Clemens returns from the Astros' spring training camp to aid in the investigation. Koby is later drafted and signed by the Astros as an infielder.

Mar 28 - In the first trade of Tim Purpura's tenure as General Manager, the Astros send pitcher Tim Redding to San Diego for catcher Humberto Quintero. On the field, Houston outslugs the Tigers, 14-11 as Roger Clemens tosses 106 pitches in his first start since pulling his hamstring.

Apr 08 - Roger Clemens wins for the 329th time in his career - tying Steve Carlton for ninth on the all-time list - using his bat as well as his arm. Clemens' infield hit in the sixth scores two for a 3-2 squeaker over the Reds. Luke Scott and Willy Taveras, two rookies making the jump from AA ball, score runs with Scott pounding a triple for his first major league hit - just 16 behind Clemens on the all-time hit list.

Apr 20 - Back-to-back homers by Adam Everett and Craig Biggio in the first pace the Astros over Ben Sheets and the Brewers, 6-1. Biggio drives in himself for the 1,000th RBI of his career, the second Astro to achieve that many in a Houston uniform. Later, he swipes third for his 399th career steal. Roy Oswalt tosses a complete-game four-hitter while Everett enjoys a three-hit night.

Apr 29 - For the first time in 113 years, a National League game features two starting pitchers with over 300 wins in their careers. Chicago's Greg Maddux edges Roger Clemens for a 3-2 verdict on Jeromy Burnitz' solo homer off Clemens in the seventh. Jeff Bagwell launches the 449th and final homer of his career.

May 08 - The Astros find themselves in last place after a 16-0 drubbing by the Braves. Ex-Astro Mike Hampton tosses a complete-game two-hitter and swats a homer while reserve outfielder Ryan Langerhans drills two home runs and drives in six. The loss ties the most lopsided defeat in team history.

May 15 - On the same night that Jeff Bagwell announces he will need shoulder surgery, Morgan Ensberg fills his role with three home runs and five RBIs as Houston wallops the Giants, 9-0. Brandon Backe spins a complete-game four-hitter. Craig Biggio swats his seventh homer of the year, tying Ensberg for the club lead.

Jun 29 - Houston drills Colorado, 7-1, as Roy Oswalt wins his 10th of the year. Morgan Ensberg blasts his 20th homer and Jason Lane belts his 13th. But the day's headline belongs to Craig Biggio who is hit in the elbow by Byung-Hyun Kim to claim the modern day career record for being hit by a pitch. It's his 268th plunking, passing Don Baylor. He's third on the all-time list. Biggio thanks the Rockies with a solo homer his next time up.

Jul 03 - Roger Clemens tosses seven shutout innings on his way to a 9-0 whitewash in Cincinnati for his 335th career win. He shrinks his ERA for the season to 1.41. Clemens adds two hits of his own including an RBI single. To top off his day, Roger is named to the All-Star team for the 11th time, his second as an Astro. Closer Brad Lidge is also named to represent Houston. Morgan Ensberg, who swats his 22nd homer, and Roy Oswalt are later added as injury replacements.

Jul 21 - In their first game in our nation's capitol, the Astros top the Washington Nationals, 3-2. The team is the former Montreal Expos, still under ownership of Major League Baseball. Roy Oswalt tosses eight innings of shutout ball and plates two runs. Mike Lamb homers. The Astros, at 49-46, have won 34 of their last 50 to climb back into the Wild Card race, four games back of Washington.

Jul 25 - Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman set a franchise first by blasting back-to-back homers twice in the same game . It happens in the first and third innings against Cory Lidle during a 7-1 victory over Philadelphia. Jason Lane later blasts the fifth Houston homer. Andy Pettitte works seven solid innings for the win.

Jul 28 - Brad Ausmus doubles home Orlando Palmeiro in the bottom of the ninth to nip the Mets, 3-2. Rookie Ezequiel Astacio battles Pedro Martinez to a draw, helped by a solo homer from Adam Everett and an RBI squeeze bunt by Ausmus. The win puts Houston into a tie with Washington for the wild card slot after starting the season with a 15-30 mark. All the excitement overshadows the return of 2004 postseason hero Carlos Beltran who then rebuffed the Astros and signed with New York. Beltran is booed relentlessly by the sellout crowd as he struggles through an oh-for-four night.

Sep 02 - Morgan Ensberg and Brad Ausmus surprise St. Louis closer Jason Isringhausen with homers to extend the game into extra innings. The Cardinals take the lead yet again in the 13th but the Astros rally with two in their half for a 6-5 thriller. Eric Bruntlett delivers the game-winning single to keep the Astros a half-game behind the Phillies in the wild card race.

Sep 07 - Craig Biggio blasts a dramatic three-run homer off ex-Astro Billy Wagner with two outs in the ninth to stun the Phillies, 8-6. Lance Berkman and Mike Lamb had previously gone deep. It's the second night in a row the Astros tag their former closer for the winning run, extending Houston's mastery over Philadelphia to 12 straight, not having lost to them since May of 2003. The Astros maintain a one-game lead over Florida in the wild card chase.

Sep 10 - It's another milestone moment for Craig Biggio. With a two-run double to right in the second, Biggio becomes the 13th major leaguer to reach 600 doubles in his career. He's the first player in big league history to combine 600 doubles, 2700 hits, 250 homers and 400 steals. His three hits give him 2777, passing Andre Dawson for 43rd on the all-time list. Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte notches his 15th win and Brad Lidge claims his 36th save in a 7-5 triumph at Milwaukee to stay a half-game ahead of Florida in the wild card race.

Sep 14 - On the day his mother Bess passes away from emphysema, Roger Clemens notches his 340th career win, a critical 10-2 victory over Florida that halts a three-game losing skid and keeps Houston 1/2 game behind in the wild card race. Mike Lamb has three hits to pace the offense. Clemens often credited his mother for his success and had thoughts of retiring so she could attend his eventual Hall of Fame induction. Roger's sister claims Bess correctly predicted the final score of the game from her deathbed and foreshadowed an encounter with the Chicago White Sox.

Sep 16 - This wasn't just an ordinary game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth for Jeff Bagwell. It was his first big league hit since mid-May when he decided on surgery to help an arthritic shoulder. There were no guarantees the franchise's home run champ would be able to resume playing. His hit scores Willy Taveras for a 2-1 triumph over Milwaukee to keep the Astros a half-game ahead in the wild card race. Elsewhere, former Astro owner John McMullen, the man who signed the first million-dollar free agent (Nolan Ryan), dies at age 87. McMullen owned the ballclub from 1979 to 1992.

Oct 01 - Roger Clemens adds career win number 341 and career strikeout number 4,500 while Craig Biggio sets a personal best with his 26th homer of the year in a 3-1 victory over Chicago. More importantly, the triumph snaps a two-game skid and clinches a tie for the N.L. Wild Card spot. Clemens also becomes the fifth Astro hurler to claim the league ERA title (1.87). The next day, Roy Oswalt clinches with his 20th victory, a 6-4 thriller that ends when Brad Lidge notches his 42nd save .

Oct 05 - Morgan Ensberg drives in five runs on three singles and a bases-loaded walk to pace a 10-5 victory in Atlanta in Game One of the N.L.D.S. Andy Pettitte allows four hits over seven innings for his 14th career postseason win. The .081-hitting Pettitte adds a double and two sacrifice bunts that lead to runs. Craig Biggio scores three times.

Oct 08 - Mike Lamb homers and Craig Biggio swats three doubles to pace the Astros in a 7-3 triumph over the Braves to take a 2-1 edge in the N.L.D.S. Roy Oswalt goes seven innings for the win. Houston smacks seven doubles in all to tie a league postseason record. Eight of their 12 hits go for extra bases.

Oct 09 - In the longest game in postseason history, Chris Burke's solo homer off Joey Devine in the bottom of the 18th gives the Astros a 7-6 victory over the Braves, winning the N.L.D.S., three games to one . Trailing 6-1 in the eighth, Lance Berkman puts Houston back in it with a grand slam homer off Kyle Farnsworth. With two outs in the ninth, Brad Ausmus blasts a solo home run off Farnsworth to left center than just clears the yellow line and just eludes the reach of Andruw Jones . The belt ties the game at six apiece. After the bullpen is spent, Roger Clemens enters in the 15th and gets the victory. Burke had hit just five homers all season.

Oct 12 - Andy Pettitte is hit by a line drive during warmups and struggles through a 5-3 loss to St. Louis in Game One of the N.L.C.S. Reggie Sanders powers a two-run blast in the first off Pettitte as the Cardinals build a lead they would never surrender. Chris Burke stays hot for Houston with a pinch-hit two-run shot of his own.

Oct 13 - Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge combine to silence St. Louis, 4-1, to even the N.L.C.S. at one game apiece . Chris Burke stays hot with two hits, two runs scored and an RBI. A solo shot by Albert Pujols in the sixth accounts for the only Cardinal run.

Oct 15 - Houston grabs a 2-1 lead in the N.L.C.S. with a 4-3 triumph over St. Louis. Mike Lamb doubles and homers to key a pair of two-run rallies while Roger Clemens, Chad Qualls and Brad Lidge hold the Redbirds to seven hits. Craig Biggio adds a pair of hits.

Oct 16 - Jason Lane homers and Morgan Ensberg hits the decisive sacrifice fly to nip the Cardinals, 2-1, giving Houston a 3-1 edge in the N.L.C.S. Brandon Backe and four relievers hold St. Louis to just five hits. Frustrations spill over for the Redbirds as skipper Tony LaRussa and slugger Jim Edmonds are ejected for arguing pitches with home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi. Sparkling defense ends the ninth when Eric Bruntlett and Adam Everett turn a double play on John Mabry's roller.

Oct 17 - Houston is ready to explode, one out away from the World Series but Albert Pujols slams a three-run homer in the ninth off Brad Lidge to stun the Astros, 5-4. Houston wastes a three-run shot by Lance Berkman that could have made history . They still lead the Cardinals in the N.L.C.S., three games to two and, like last year, will need to win one more back in St. Louis to advance.

Oct 19 - CELEBRATE! For the first time in 44 seasons, Houston is champion of the National League! Behind series MVP Roy Oswalt, the Astros claim the N.L.C.S. with a 5-1 triumph in St. Louis . In the last game played at Busch Stadium II, Brad Ausmus leads the attack with three hits while Jason Lane goes deep off Mark Mulder. Houston will face the Chicago White Sox in the World Series. Chicago fans have waited since 1959 to return to the Fall Classic. That was the same year Houston joined the Continental League in the Houston Sports Association's first attempt at a big league franchise.

Oct 22 - In the first World Series game of their 43-year history, 43-year-old Roger Clemens starts for the Astros but lasts only two innings in a 5-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Clemens' hamstring tightens in the 50-degree weather. Mike Lamb homers and Lance Berkman spanks a two-run double to highlight the Houston attack . Jermaine Dye and Joe Crede go deep for the Sox. On two occassions, speedy Willy Taveras leads off an inning with an extra-base hit but the heart of the Astros lineup cannot drive him in.

Oct 23 - Scott Podsednik homers off Brad Lidge in the bottom of the ninth to give the White Sox a 7-6 thriller, putting them up 2-0 in the World Series. Jose Vizcaino had just rapped a two-run single in the top of the inning to tie it . Earlier, Morgan Ensberg hit a solo shot for Houston while Paul Konerko smacked a grand slam for Chicago. The game is played in rain and 45-degree temperatures.

Oct 25 - Ex-Astro Geoff Blum breaks Houston's heart with a 14th-inning homer off Ezequiel Astacio to win the longest game in World Series history for the White Sox, 7-5, to take a 3-0 lead over the Astros in the first Series game held on Texas soil . Roy Oswalt loses an early 4-0 lead but the Astros tie it in the eighth on Jason Lane's double. Houston squanders numerous other chances to score (aided by a dozen walks) until Blum decides the outcome.

Oct 26 - The Astros finally get to the World Series but are swept by the Chicago White Sox in four games as former Astro farmhand Freddy Garcia blanks Houston over 7-2/3rds innings to pace a 1-0 shutout. Sox shortstop Juan Uribe makes two defnsive gems to clinch the title . Sox shortstop Juan Uribe makes two defensive gems to clinch the title. Series M.V.P. Jermaine Dye's RBI single off Brad Lidge in the eighth scores Willie Harris with the only run. The offense wastes a gutty seven-inning performance by Brandon Backe. For Chicago, it ends an 88-year drought between Major League championships. For Houston, it is a nice ride with a bitter end, outscored by just six runs in the four-game sweep.

Oct 28 - Thousands attend a victory rally near City Hall to celebrate the Astros' first pennant in their 43-year history. Getting swept in the World Series did little to dampen the enthusiasm. Owner Drayton McLane says "give us one more year" to bring a World Championship to Houston.

Dec 19 - Owner Drayton McLane presents to star pitcher Roy Oswalt a $200,000 Caterpillar bulldozer to fulfill a promise he made before Game 6 of the N.L.C.S. Oswalt's strong performance catapulted the Astros into their first World Series as he pitched two of the four victories over St. Louis.