This is a doozy, fellas. On this day not so long ago, Craig Biggio picked up his 3,000th hit in one of the most memorable nights in franchise history, as the Astros pounded the Colorado Rockies 8-5 at Minute Maid Park.
Now, Bidge certainly wasn't a productive player at the end of his career. He limped into 2007 needing 70 hits to get 3,000 and it took him a while to get there. He entered this particular game three hits shy of the total, but had gotten inconsistent playing time before that.
He always did have a knack for timing, though. On this night, Bidge picked up five hits, going 5 for 6 with a run scored and an RBI. Before we get into what he did in the game, let me point out one thing. Craig Biggio was a great hitter throughout his career, but only once before this night had he gotten five hits in a game. That was back in 2001 against Milwaukee. The fact that he was able to turn back the clock in this game was pretty amazing.
Biggio led off the game with the only out he made, a grounder to third. He came up again in the bottom of the third with one out and Roy Oswalt on first following a single of his own. Biggio laced a line drive single up the middle, moving Oswalt to second. Unfortunately, the inning ended on a Hunter Pence grounder (probably on a slider low and away) and a popup by Lance Berkman.
Sitting at 2,998 hits, Biggio came up again in the bottom of the fifth, again with one out following a Roy Oswalt grounder to third. Bidge hit a ground ball to third base that was ruled a hit and advanced to second when the third baseman Garrett Atkins threw the ball away.
Unperturbed, Biggio again came up in the bottom of the seventh. Houston was down 1-0 at the time with two outs in the inning and Brad Ausmus at second base. Biggio collected his 3,000th hit on a line drive up the middle on a 2-0 pitch from Aaron Cook, scoring Ausmus from second to tie the game. Unfortunately, Biggio was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double to end the inning.
Just to show that he was soo over the close call in the fifth inning, Biggio led off the bottom of the ninth with the game tied at 4-4. He picked up his fourth hit of the game with a line drive single to right field, but was erased when Hunter Pence hit into a fielder's choice.
Not to be outdone on this special night, Biggio again came to the plate in the bottom of the 11th with two outs. He got his fifth and final hit of the game on a grounder to the shortstop. Four batters later, following a Hunter Pence double and a Berkman HBP, Carlos Lee hit a walkoff grand slam to cap a wild finish (did I mentioned Colorado had taken a 5-4 lead in the top of the inning on a Troy Tulowitzki homer?)
Here's a graphic replay of the game, thanks to Back to Baseball and a tribute from here at TCB published the day after. If you really want a sense of the moment, read through this game thread from that night, featuring a lot of familiar faces, including clack and Joe In Birmingham.