It is an understatement to say that Houston has stumbled out of the gate this season coming into today’s game at 8-22. It is also fair to say that this team is a far cry from where they were on this day in 2006. If you had nowhere to go that Wednesday night, watching Andy Pettitte take the hill against Chris Carpenter for a matchup between two teams that had fought for the NL pennant the last two years was not a bad option. Former Astros and Tigers manager Phil Garner notched his 156 win as the Astros skipper moving the team to an impressive 19-9 record with a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Each team went down in order in the first, but the Cardinals would get on the board in the 2nd as So Taguchi doubled to left scoring Jim Edmonds and Yadier Molina. Houston would strike back in the forth with a 2-run bomb by Lance Berkman. After scoring on the homerun in the 4th, Willy Tavarez came back in the 5th with a 2-run single that drove in Adam Everett and Andy Pettitte.
Pettitte would give up three runs and finished 6 2/3 innings with help from an inning ending 4-6-3 double play in the 6th. Chad Qualls would record the final out of the 7th while Adam Wainwright and Dan Wheeler were solid in the 8th to keep the score at 4-3 going into the 9th. Brad Lidge made it interesting in the ninth, but got Gary Bennett to ground out to Morgan Ensberg with two on to earn the save. (Lidge did not face Albert Pujols, if you were wondering.)
Former Astro and Tiger, Brad Ausmus came into the game hitting .362, but failed to reach base.
Garner managed the Brewers, Tigers and Astros over a total of 15 seasons. In his time with Houston, Garner had his best stint of his managerial career collecting 277 wins and 1 National League Pennant (2005). Check out the “Where are They Now” video Astros.com did for Garner a few years back.
As a baseball fan, I tend to think that Saturday afternoon is the great time for a baseball game. A win over a rival on a Saturday afternoon would put me in a good mood for the entire week. The only thing better than a win over the Cardinals in the late 2000’s is a victory over the Braves in the late 90’s when Wagner shuts the door.
As the Astros transition in to the AL, I would like to see the Astros begin a rivalry with the Tigers. I know that it would be more natural to have a rivalry in the division, but like the Braves, I want to see the Astros competing with good teams in the playoffs in the future. The Tigers look like they are going to be a contender for many seasons to come. Not to mention they have the same uniforms.