2008 - Timeline
from This Date in Astros History
Jan 15 - During congressional hearings about the use of performance enhancing drugs, an order is issued for the FBI to investigate statements from shortstop Miguel Tejada for possible perjury charges. Tejada, acquired the month before in a trade, is in the Dominican Republic and unavailable for comment.
Feb 13 - Former Astro pitcher Roger Clemens has his day before Congress, denying again in testimony that he had used steroids or other performance enhancing drugs while his accuser, former trainer Brian McNamee, sat at the other end of the table facing accusations of his own. Clearly both can't be telling the truth but the only bombshells to come out were an admission from Clemens' teammate Andy Pettitte that he tried human growth hormones during the 2004 season when he injured his elbow and that Clemens' wife admitted to using human growth hormones while preparing for a swimsuit layout in Sports Illustrated. The prospect of federal charges still loom ahead.
Feb 19 - The first full day of spring training is a rough one for a trio of Astros. Outfielder Hunter Pence arrives with cuts all over his hands and knees after crashing through a sliding glass door while leaving the hot tub of his rental home. Shortstop Miguel Tejada is grilled by the press about his legal troubles stemming from the Mitchell Report and infielder Mark Loretta learns he has lost his arbitration case, receiving $2.75 million in salary instead of the $4.9 million he sought.
Mar 17 - Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL, which was home for 60 years to the Dodgers, bids them farewell. The Astros make Dodger fans bluer in the finale with a 12-10 win, keyed by five home runs including a game-winning two-run shot from Nick Gorneault in the ninth.
Apr 25 - A triple by Miguel Tejada and a solo homer by Carlos Lee key a three-run rally in the ninth off Jason Isringhausen to stun the Cardinals, 3-2. After starting the season 6-12, the revamped Astros notch their sixth win in a row to climb back to the .500 mark.
May 02 - Consecutive homers by Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee highlight a 7-4 victory over Milwaukee. The feat happens in the sixth off Carlos Villarreal. Tejada's blast comes after he promised a homer to a child with muscular dystrophy before the game. Hunter Pence accounts for the other three tallies with a pair of long balls.
May 11 - Hunter Pence breaks up a no-hit bid in Los Angeles with a single after two outs in the seventh. The bats wake up and clobber the Dodgers with an 8-5 thrashing. Houston wins their eighth game in their last nine while climbing within 1-1/2 games of the division lead.
May 14 - Lance Berkman's incredible month continues during a 6-3 win at San Francisco. He hits a two-run homer to give him a majors-leading 14. He also leads the National League in RBIs (40), runs (43) and OPS (1.264). He's batting .580 for the month and his current batting average (.388) is second overall. Miguel Tejada and Brad Ausmus drive in the other runs. The next day, Berkman homers into McCovey Cove to complete an 8-7 comeback. Houston has won 18 of their last 24 after a 6-12 start.
May 23 - Jose Valverde takes a line drive off the face yet stays in the game to notch his league-leading 15th save in a 4-3 triumph against the Phillies. Hunter Pence had drilled two solo homers and Brandon Backe allowed just one run over 7-1/3rd innings but Valverde steals the spotlight with his amazing toughness.
May 27 - Hunter Pence goes 5-for-5 and Miguel Tejada blasts a two-run homer to pace an 8-2 win in St. Louis behind seven strong innings from Shawn Chacon. The Astros and Cardinals are in a tie for second in the division behind Chicago.
Jun 26 - Astros release pitcher Shawn Chacon a day after he grabbed General Manager Ed Wade by the throat and threw him to the floor in a pre-game altercation. Chacon had become increasingly defiant after getting yanked in the first inning of a start in Milwaukee then later getting dropped from the starting rotation. On the field, the news was better in a 7-2 win over the Texas Rangers but a sour month had left the club in fifth place, five games below .500 at 37-42.
Jul 27 - Geoff Blum smacks two homers and Brad Ausmus goes 4-for-4 to lead Houston out of the division cellar in an 11-6 win at Milwaukee. Randy Wolf makes his Astros debut but can't last long enough to qualify for the victory. Chris Sampson claims it in relief.
Aug 01 - Mark Loretta drills a grand slam off Aaron Heilman in the eighth to give the Astros a 7-3 victory over the Mets. Solo homers by Kaz Matsui, Brandon Backe and Carlos Lee supply the other three tallies. Doug Brocail picks up the win in relief.
Aug 02 - Mark Loretta and Hunter Pence crash into New York catcher Ramon Castro at almost the same time, scoring the tying runs in the bottom of the ninth. Geoff Blum has the single off ex-Astro Billy Wagner that brought the runs home . In the tenth, Darin Erstad's liner to left allows Lance Berkman to tag up and score the winning run in a 5-4 thriller.
Aug 08 - Carlos Lee picks up his league-leading 100th RBI and the 1,000th RBI of his career with a two-run double that defeats the Reds in ten innings, 9-5. Lee has four hits, including a solo homer. Kaz Matsui, Humberto Quintero and Hunter Pence also go deep. Chris Sampson gets the win with three innings of relief work. The next day, Lee's season would end when he is plunked by Bronson Arroyo, breaking his pinkie finger.
Sep 06 - Roy Oswalt spins a one-hitter, blanking the Rockies, 2-0. A single by Brad Hawpe is the only Colorado safety. Oswalt fans six and walks two. Hunter Pence's two-run homer provides the only runs of the game. The Astros are 28-11 since July 26th but remain in fourth place in their division with only faint playoff hopes.
Sep 09 - For the first time in National League history, instant replay is used to help officiate a game. Hunter Pence's double in the sixth inning is reviewed to see if it might have been a home run but replays set up in New York back the umpire's call. Nonetheless, Houston drops the Pirates, 9-3, to suddenly climb within four games of the faltering Brewers in the wild card race. Lance Berkman homers and drives in four to reach 100 RBIs for the sixth time in his 10-year career.
Sep 13 - Hurricane Ike, a massive Category 2 storm, crashes into Galveston Island doing damage throughout the upper Texas and Louisiana coasts. Minute Maid Park survives with little damage but Houston fans learn that a key three-game series with the Cubs delayed by Ike will be moved to Milwaukee. The Astros have crept within 2-1/2 games of the Brewers in the wild card race after winning 14 of their last 15 before the weather disaster but lose five straight when forced to hit the road. Ultimately, they finish third in the Central Division with an 86-75 record.