Braves
Astros
4 - 5 Final
  for this game

Erstad, Astros eliminated from playoffs despite walkoff win

Sep 27, 2008 - 5:09 AM By Gene Duffey PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Darin Erstad hit a line-drive homer to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Houston Astros a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday.

The joy was short-lived for the Astros, who were officially eliminated from playoff contention by the Milwaukee Brewers' 5-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.

"Any time you fall short of the postseason, that's disappointing," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "All in all, I think it was a successful year for us. We had some good things happen for us, a lot of guys stepped up. We could've mailed it in about a month and a half ago. With Carlos (Lee) and Ty (Wigginton) being out, we could've mailed it in."

Erstad's fourth homer of the season on the first pitch from Julian Tavarez (1-4) made a winner out of Jose Valverde (6-3), who allowed a run in the ninth inning to blow his seventh save.

"It's obviously bittersweet to go from winning to, literally three minutes later, watching Milwaukee pull this out," Erstad said. "We didn't hand it to them. They had to win. This team kept fighting."

Brian Moehler pitched 5 2/3 innings and Michael Bourn delivered three singles to help Houston build a 4-0 lead after three innings.

"We ran out of games," Moehler said. "That's what it came down to. Milwaukee won. But we played well the last few months. We battled and we made it interesting when people thought we were out of it."

The Astros appeared to be well on their way to victory as Kazuo Matsui opened the bottom of the first with a double and scored when Braves pitcher Jorge Campillo threw away a bunt by Bourn.

Wigginton hit his 23rd homer in the second, barely out of the reach of Atlanta right fielder Jeff Francoeur.

"I thought I had it," Francoeur said. "I jumped. My arm went all the way back. It would have been a tough play. The fan caught it above me. It's not like he reached over the stands. It would have been really close (whether I could have caught it). He caught it above where my glove was."

"I don't know how that ball went out," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "I have no clue."

Houston added two more runs in the third to stretch the lead to 4-0, but the Braves got two back in the fourth when Casey Kotchman hit a bases-loaded single, scoring Anderson and Kelly Johnson to cut the Astros' lead to 4-2.

After the Braves added a run off reliever LaTroy Hawkins to close the deficit to 4-3, Valverde surrendered two hits and two walks in the ninth to allow the tying run to score.

"Those guys have been terrific and I thought we were going to do it again," Cooper said of Hawkins and Valverde. "Hawk really had a challenge, he had to go through the middle of the order. He did a good job to keep it within one run. The big boy (Valverde) has been terrific. He was probably due for one (blown save)."

Atlanta's Omar Infante walked to lead off the top of the ninth and Francoeur singled him to second. Brandon Jones followed with a grounder to at first, who threw to Miguel Tejada at second for the force out. Tejada's return throw to Valverde at first got away and allowed Infante to touch home.

The ninth-inning run was the first Valverde had allowed in 18 innings, ending a string of 19 scoreless appearances dating back to August 9.

Erstad entered the game on a double switch in the top of the ninth, going to left field as a defensive replacement for Wigginton.






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    Braves 4, Astros 5  FinalSep 27 2:30 AM


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

    BATTERIES: ATL - JORGE CAMPILLO, BUDDY CARLYLE (4TH), JEFF BENNETT (7TH),
    JULIAN TAVAREZ (9TH) AND BRIAN MCCANN
    HOU - BRIAN MOEHLER, TIM BYRDAK (6TH), DOUG BROCAIL
    (7TH), LAT

    Sep 26 11:04 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DARIN ERSTAD (4) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 9TH OFF JULIAN TAVAREZ.
    FINAL SCORE: HOUSTON 5, ATLANTA 4

    Braves 4, Astros 5  Bot 9, 0 OutsSep 26 11:04 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY JOSE VALVERDE ALLOWED OMAR INFANTE TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 4
    HOUSTON 4 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: J BENNETT (.222, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

    Braves 4, Astros 4  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 26 10:54 PM
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    Braves 4, Astros 4  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 26 10:54 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY KELLY JOHNSON SCORED JOSH ANDERSON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M PRADO ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 3
    HOUSTON 4 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: B MCCANN (.302, 2-FOR-2, BB)

    Braves 3, Astros 4  Top 8, 0 OutsSep 26 10:22 PM
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    Braves 3, Astros 4  Top 8, 0 OutsSep 26 10:22 PM


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    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CASEY KOTCHMAN SCORED JOSH ANDERSON AND KELLY
    JOHNSON.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C KOTCHMAN ON FIRST, B MCCANN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 2
    HOUSTON 4 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: O INFANTE (.295, 0-FOR-1)

    Braves 2, Astros 4  Top 4, 0 OutsSep 26 9:05 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY LANCE BERKMAN SCORED MICHAEL BOURN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    HOUSTON 3 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: G BLUM (.239, 0-FOR-1)

    Braves 0, Astros 3  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 26 8:49 PM


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    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY TY WIGGINTON (23) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF JORGE CAMPILLO.
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0, HOUSTON 2
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H QUINTERO (.211, 2 HR, 12 RBI)

    Braves 0, Astros 2  Bot 2, 0 OutsSep 26 8:29 PM


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    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY JORGE CAMPILLO ALLOWED KAZ MATSUI TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M BOURN ON SECOND, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: M TEJADA (.285, 13 HR, 65 RBI)

    Braves 0, Astros 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 26 8:15 PM
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