This Day In Astros History: May 31, 2003

On this day eight years ago, the Astros set a franchise record with 23 strikeouts in a game, but it came in a 16-inning, 1-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Roy Oswalt started for the Astros, throwing seven shutout innings and striking out eight. He allowed five hits and no walks, throwing 95 pitches and 67 strikes before turning it over to Octavio Dotel. Ducky threw two hitless innings of his own, allowing just two walks while striking out four.

Brad Lidge came in next, throwing three scoreless innings, allowing three hits and one walk, but striking out six. This was Lidge's rookie season, though he threw 8 2/3 innings the season before. Lidge struck out 97 in 85 innings in 2003, saving one game in 78 appearances.

Houston manager Jimy Williams brought in his closer, Billy Wagner next and The Kid didn't disappoint. Wagner struck out four of the six batters he faced in two 1-2-3 innings. Ricky Stone followed him with his own 1-2-3 inning, adding a strikeout of catcher Damian Miller to set the record. Unfortunately, the wheels came off for Stone in the 16th, as he gave up a walk to Luis Gonzalez with one out, then right fielder Brian Hunter misplayed a line drive single by Corey Patterson, allowing Gonzo to take third. The Cubs won the game one batter later when Sammy Sosa hit a line drive single of his own to right that sent Gonzo home.

The Cubs' Carlos Zambrano shut Houston down for eight innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out four. Then, a collection of relievers kept Houston off the board for the next eight frames. Todd Wellmeyer got the victory for the Cubs, his first of that season.

Houston had a chance to win the game in the top of  the ninth, as Morgan Ensberg sent a single to left field with Lance Berkman on third. Berkman broke for home but former teammate Moises Alou was able to get to the ball quickly and fire home and Miller tagged Berkman for the third out of the inning.

Here's the graphic replay of the game, thanks to Back to Baseball.

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