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Biggio helps Astros win in final game

Sep 30, 2007 - 10:25 PM By Ted Dunnam PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Craig Biggio, capping a 20-year major league career, doubled in a three-run first inning to lead the Houston Astros to a 3-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in Sunday's season finale.

The Astros (73-89) and Braves, who met in the playoffs in 2001, 2004 and 2005, both will miss the postseason this year.

Atlanta finished the season with an 84-78 record, marking the 16th winning season for the Braves in the past 17 years.

Biggio finished his distinguished career - exclusively with the Astros - with 3,060 hits, good enough for 20th on the all-time list. He exited in the eighth inning for a defensive replacement, departing to a standing ovation.

"I've always respected the time I've been here," Biggio said. "I was just taking it all in today. I've had so many great teammates - Cammi (Ken Caminiti), Mike Hampton, DK (Darryl Kile).

"When I came out, Glen Hubbard (Atlanta first base coach) said he appreciated the way I played the game. I said, "No, no. I played that way because of you guys.'"

Fittingly, Biggio's last game produced a victory.

Josh Anderson walked to open the Houston first, Biggio doubled to left and Lance Berkman walked to load the bases. Carlos Lee then singled to left to give the Astros a 2-0 lead.

Hunter Pence followed with a double to bring home Berkman for a 3-0 Houston advantage.

That would be more than enough offense for Felipe Paulino (2-1), who pitched six standout innings, allowing two hits, walking three and striking out three.

Mark McLemore and Brian Moehler bridged the gap to Dave Borkowski, who struck out the side in the ninth to record his first save.

After the first five Astros reached base, Atlanta starter Buddy Carlyle managed to avoid any further damage. The righthander (8-7) pitched four innings, allowing three runs and five hits, striking out five and walking two.

The Braves' lone scoring threat came in the seventh when Brandon Jones singled and Clint Sammons doubled with one out. But Pete Orr and pinch-hitter Chris Woodward struck out to end the inning.

Chipper Jones, contending for the NL batting title, went hitless in three at-bats.

"I can't complain. I barreled two balls," Jones said. "That's baseball. Sometimes they fall in and sometimes they don't. I went 0-for-3 today, but I was pleased with the way I swung the bat.

"If it happens, it happens. I've submitted my body of work for the year. I'm going to go home and get ready for a nice off-season."

Biggio, meanwhile, plans to move forward with his family life, but won't soon forget his final day as a player.

"Seeing Roger McDowell standing over there - I got my first RBI off of him," Biggio said. "It got choked up looking at those guys (Braves). That's a first-class organization. And classy people do classy things.

"Standing in the on-deck circle, looking at your shoes for the last time, knowing it's your last at-bat ... that's tough. I just wanted to try to put the bat on the ball. I didn't want to strike out in my last at-bat."

Biggio eventually grounded out to Jones at third.

"Chipper tried to play it into a hit," Biggio said, "but I'm too old and slow."

Former teammate Jeff Bagwell even made a post-game appearance.

"The Biggio-Bagwell era is over," Bagwell said. "In five years, he'll be in Cooperstown. It's a great day for him. No. 7 will still by symbolized in the rafters and the Hall of Fame.

"He deserves everything he receives."

Braves manager Bobby Cox and Biggio were part of some memorable confrontations since Cox first took over the Braves' helm.

"I was with (Biggio) when he first came up. I started managing in 1991," Cox said. "He could do it all, and to do it for 20 years in the same city is hard to do - and still be productive. And he was productive to the end."

Atlanta's John Smoltz, an 18-year veteran, has the opportunity to pull off a similar feat.

"I have the utmost respect for him," Smoltz said of Biggio. "He's had a career filled with the numbers he's put up, and he did it right. To finish in Atlanta, that's always been my desire."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
    HOUSTON 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 3 7 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: ATL - BUDDY CARLYLE, OSCAR VILLARREAL (5TH), JOEY DEVINE (6TH),
    ROYCE RING (6TH), RON MAHAY (7TH), JOSE ASCANIO (8TH) AND
    CLINT SAMMONS
    HOU - FELIPE PAULINO, MARK

    Sep 30 4:33 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY HUNTER PENCE SCORED LANCE BERKMAN.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, H PENCE ON SECOND, C LEE ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    HOUSTON 3 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M LORETTA (.286, 4 HR, 41 RBI)

    Braves vs. AstrosSep 30 2:21 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS LEE SCORED JOSH ANDERSON AND CRAIG BIGGIO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C LEE ON FIRST, L BERKMAN ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    HOUSTON 2 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.321, 17 HR, 68 RBI)

    Braves vs. AstrosSep 30 2:19 PM
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