Astros History Spotlight: Preston Wilson

Bob Levey

Preston Wilson may not have left a deep impression in Astros history, but he had a moment or two in the Texas sun.

For those of you who could not watch the game yesterday, you missed a good one. As readers know, wins have been hard to come by to this point in the season. I am pretty sure I will be able to count the number of walk-off wins this year without taking off a shoe. J.D Martinez matched a record set by Preston Wilson in 2006 for whiffing five times in one game. In honor of whatever comes after the “golden sombrero”, today’s post is dedicated to Wilson’s time with the good guys.

A former All-Star with the Rookies in 2003, Wilson enjoyed employment with the Astros in 2006. If you are wondering where he fits in the Astros timeline, Wilson had played the majority of his career as a center fielder, but moved the left to accommodate Willy Tavarez. A year later, Wilson was replaced by Carlos Lee. Wilson found lack luster results in Houston with a slash line of .269/.307/.423, 6 HR and 55 RBI in 417 plate appearances. However, on May 28th, Wilson had himself a day.

Houston had come into the game with a five game losing streak and was in danger of being swept by the Pittsburg Pirates. Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman and Adam Everrett had the day off and Fernando Nieve had been called upon to take the ball against Oliver Perez. Looking back at the box score, there were a lot of little things that seemed weird to my Astros fan brain. First off, I could not find any other game where the 3-hole was occupied by Chris Burke. Second, Oliver Perez averaged 5 1/3 innings per start, but went 8 innings in this one. I am pretty sure that is the only time he did that in 2006. Lastly, Mike Lamb (the slowest player I have ever seen) attempted to steal home.

The game itself was a pitcher’s duel until Jason Bay opened the scoring with a solo homerun in the bottom of the 4th. The score would stand at 1-0 until Nieve gave up a 3-run homer to Jose Bautista in the 7th. Things were not looking good as Perez had cruised through eight innings, allowing no runs on 2 hits and 3 walks.

Going into the top of the 9th, Houston’s offense finally decided to play as Perez gave up back to back singles to Morgan Ensberg and Mike Lamb. Mike Gonzalez came into to kill the rally, but Preston Wilson loaded the bases with a single. Houston kept the carousel going as Jason Lane walked to score Ensberg and Eric Bruntlett singled to bring in Lamb. Willy T took the second walk in the inning to plate Wilson and Brad Ausmus was able to drive in the tying run with a sac fly to right field off of Pirates closer Salomon Torres.

Houston would not be able to push across another run in the 9th and Chad Qualls set the Pirates down in order to take to game to extra innings. The Astros would again lead off the 10th with a pair of singles by Ensberg and Lamb to set the stage for Preston Wilson to lace a ground ball through the infield that would Ensberg score from second. Brad Lidge would come in and shut to door to preserve the extra inning win.

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