for this game

Backe, Astros shut down Nationals

Jul 13, 2008 - 11:02 PM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Brandon Backe scattered five hits over seven-plus innings, and collected two hits and scored two runs Sunday to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-0 victory over the Washington Nationals.

The two hits - a double in the third and a single in the seventh - led to two runs in each inning.

"The focus is on pitching right now, but I take pride in hitting," Backe said. "You can't throw the ball all the time and make yourself a better pitcher, but you can always hit. And you can help yourself.

"It's something I take pride in, maybe sometimes a little bit too much. I can't imagine anybody working on it more than me. I've always wanted to be a major league baseball player - a fielder, a hitter. That dream was shot down in 2001 when I became a pitcher."

Ty Wigginton homered and Carlos Lee had three RBI to help the Astros enter the All-Star break with a series triumph over the Nationals. Houston's last series victory came June 27-29 against the visiting Boston Red Sox.

Backe, who entered the game hitting .308 with a homer and three RBI, scored in the seventh on a two-run double by Lee that gave Houston a 5-0 lead.

"I just love the everyday playing - diving for catches, running into the wall, getting dirty," Backe said. "I'm just sorry I didn't get to slide today."

Backe, who departed after walking leadoff batter Willie Harris in the eighth, struck out five and walked four.

"He scored a couple runs, (gave us) seven shutout innings - I mean, what could you say?" Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "The guy threw over 100 pitches and I thought he was really, really good today.

"That's the Brandon Backe we like. He was very good today, he really was - not just with his arm, but with his bat and with his legs."

Astros righthander Chris Sampson pitched two hitless innings with one strikeout to complete the shutout.



Wigginton got the Astros going in the second inning with a homer to left on a 2-2 pitch by Odalis Perez (2-6), who allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings.

"I got in trouble in the second and third inning and they scored three runs," Perez said. "After I stopped those guys - they're a good hitting team - I got a loss, but it wasn't a bad outing."

Perez struck out six and walked one.

"He had some problems with the leadoff hitters and getting (the ball) up," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "It's tough to keep working out of jams, but he battled for us today and gave us a good six innings."



Berkman, the National League's first baseman in the All-Star Game and a participant in the Home Run Derby, went 2-for-3 with a run scored.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 0 1 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 5 12 0
    WASHINGTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: HOU - BRANDON BACKE, CHRIS SAMPSON (8TH) AND J.R. TOWLES
    WAS - ODALIS PEREZ, CHARLIE MANNING (7TH), JESUS COLOME
    (7TH), LUIS AYALA (8TH), JON RAUCH (9TH) AND WIL NI

    Jul 13 4:33 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS LEE SCORED BRANDON BACKE AND LANCE
    BERKMAN.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, 0 LEFT ON, 3 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 5
    WASHINGTON 0 END TOP, 7TH

    Astros 5, Nationals 0  Top 7, 0 OutsJul 13 3:44 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CARLOS LEE SCORED LANCE BERKMAN.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C LEE ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 3
    WASHINGTON 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M TEJADA (.274, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros 3, Nationals 0  Top 3, 0 OutsJul 13 2:21 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY LANCE BERKMAN SCORED BRANDON BACKE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, L BERKMAN ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 2
    WASHINGTON 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.299, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros 2, Nationals 0  Top 3, 0 OutsJul 13 2:19 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY TY WIGGINTON (8) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN THE
    2ND OFF ODALIS PEREZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 1, WASHINGTON 0
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.263, 12 HR, 46 RBI)

    Astros 1, Nationals 0  Top 2, 0 OutsJul 13 1:55 PM