Giants
Astros
1 - 3 Final
  for this game

Wigginton comes up big as Astros win fifth straight

Aug 12, 2008 - 6:26 AM By Gene Duffey PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Ty Wigginton may have found a new home in left field.

Wigginton made his first start of the season in the outfield Monday and drove in all three runs to lead the Houston Astros to a 3-1 win over the San Francisco Giants at Minute Maid Park.

Houston's regular third baseman, Wigginton singled to center in the sixth to plate the Astros' first two runs and belted his 12th homer of the season in his next at-bat in the eighth to account for all of the team's runs.

"It was fine," said Wigginton of his new position. "It's not like I got a whole lot of action. I played the outfield a couple of times with the Mets and Tampa Bay."

Wigginton's home run helped the Astros (59-59), who won their fifth in a row, reach .500 for the first time since June 11.

"Anytime you're in the eighth inning, you're trying to add on," Wigginton said.

Manager Cecil Cooper also switched up Wigginton's role in the batting order, moving him up five spots in the lineup to the No. 2 slot for the first time this year.

"He has a real good on-base percentage against left-handed pitchers and he just happened to come up in the right situations for us," Cooper said.

Wigginton assumed the vacancy created by the injury of left fielder Carlos Lee. The National League's RBI leader underwent surgery earlier Monday on his left pinkie finger after being hit by a pitch Saturday in Cincinnati. He is expected to be out six to eight weeks.

"You can't change who you are," Wigginton said. "Nobody's going to replace Carlos Lee."

Houston starter Brandon Backe (7-11) permitted one run and four hits over seven innings, walking three and striking out six to end his four-game winless streak.

"It was an outstanding pitching performance by Brandon," Cooper said. "The game plan was to throw more fastballs tonight and get ahead in the count."

Backe lasted only 3 1/3 innings in his previous start, surrendering nine hits and a career-high 11 earned runs Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"I have to make up a lot of ground for that last start I had," Backe said. "Just being at home is a big deal for me. The mound, the backdrop behind the catcher is very comfortable for me. I stayed with the plan and executed my pitches.

"I pitched well in a game that I needed to. I'm not trying to light up the radar gun. With the breaking stuff I have, it makes it tougher on the hitter."

The Giants saw a better Backe than the one they defeated on May 13 in San Francisco.

"When we faced him (before) he had a curveball, fastball and change," Giants catcher Bengie Molina said. "But now he has a slider. That caught us by surprise. He kept us off balance, mixing in the slider."

LaTroy Hawkins, acquired from the New York Yankees on July 30, pitched a perfect eighth for the Astros before closer Jose Valverde matched it with a flawless ninth for his 29th save.

With his recent performances, Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez (8-9) gave no hint he would do anything special in this game with four losses and two no-decisions over his last six starts. But he was nearly perfect early on against the Astros, walking Backe in the third to give Houston its only baserunner through five innings.

Houston catcher Humberto Quintero broke up Sanchez's no-hit bid though with a broken-bat single just over the outstretched glove of rookie shortstop Ivan Ochoa to lead off the bottom of the sixth.

The lefthander then couldn't field Backe's sacrifice bunt, putting runners on first and second before each runner moved up a base on Kaz Matsui's sacrifice bunt. One pitch later, Wigginton drove in both runners with a liner to center.

Sanchez, who hasn't won since June 29, allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings.

"He threw great," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said of Sanchez, who did not meet with the media after the game. "It was a beautiful game. He got a bad break on that one jam shot (by Quintero). He had great command and great stuff. It's a tough loss for Sanchez."

"He threw fastballs, that was it," said Houston first baseman Lance Berkman, who went 0-for-3 against Sanchez. "He was very deceptive. We got a little window of opportunity and took advantage of it. That's how you beat a tough pitcher."

San Francisco, which scored three or fewer runs for the eighth time in last 11 games, plated its only run in the third when Ochoa doubled with two outs and Fred Lewis singled him home one batter later.








  • NL
    FINAL
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    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    SAN FRANCISCO 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 x 3 7 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: SFO - JONATHAN SANCHEZ, BILLY SADLER (8TH) AND BENGIE MOLINA
    HOU - BRANDON BACKE, LATROY HAWKINS (8TH), JOSE
    VALVERDE (9TH) AND HUMBERTO QUINTERO

    HOME RUNS: SFO -

    Aug 11 10:35 PM


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    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY TY WIGGINTON (12) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF BILLY SADLER.
    CURRENT SCORE: SAN FRANCISCO 1, HOUSTON 3
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M TEJADA (.281, 0-FOR-3)

    Giants 1, Astros 3  Bot 8, 0 OutsAug 11 10:15 PM
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    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY TY WIGGINTON SCORED HUMBERTO QUINTERO AND BRANDON
    BACKE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, T WIGGINTON ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SAN FRANCISCO 1
    HOUSTON 2 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M TEJADA (.282, 0-FOR-2)

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    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY FRED LEWIS SCORED IVAN OCHOA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, 0 LEFT ON, 3 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: SAN FRANCISCO 1
    HOUSTON 0 END TOP, 3RD

    Giants 1, Astros 0  Top 3, 0 OutsAug 11 8:44 PM