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Game Hero, 36 - 33

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Lance Berkman
  • 3 for 4, double, walk, 4 RBI
  • Takes over second place in the NL RBI race, passing Andruw Jones
  • Second 4-RBI game of the year (June 8 vs. Atlanta)
  • Breaks tie with Preston and Bidge for team lead in hits

You almost felt that the season was on the line there in the seventh. After Garner had made the extremely questionable move to pull an effective starter so that the pinch-hitter could bunt--and getting a double play for his stupidity--Qualls had both a runner on third with no outs, and the bases loaded with one out. You felt Taylor's comeback game getting away from the Astros, and the ignominy of lossing a series to the freaking Royals was staring you in the face.

Sure the three straight series wins was nice, but it's still hard to get too excited about them, as they were all over bad teams. And having a home series taken from you by the Royals says a lot more about your club than taking three of four from the Braves, if you catch my drift.

Fortunately, all those dark thoughts disappeared like Royals baserunners on a play at the plate, and a crisp double play finished by a stretching Mike Lamb. Inning over, no KC runs, and the Astros are free to win going away.

Almost like Garner never made the mistake, almost like Qualls never took us to the brink.

Almost.

The other thing about this game is how very poorly it was umpired. Just from what I saw,there were at least four plays that were called incorrectly. JD kept making cases how things evened out, and maybe they did, but no matter how you slice it, that's umpire incompetence:

  • Biggio called out on strikes on an appeal to first base ump Phil Cuzzi. JD took the heat off a bit after he saw the reply, but even if Biggio's bat did go through the zone, it's a call that's given to hitters all the freaking time.
  • Adam Everett, stopped dead in his tracks by Bako at the plate, was pretty clearly out. Again JD tried to give the benefit of the doubt to the umpire, noting that while Everett's foot sliding in missed the plate, he thought his knee--I think--grazed it. Even if this were so, the ump was in no position to see that part of it as Bako blocked things pretty effectively, as Adam might attest, if he was being honest anyway.
  • Emil Brown was out at first. He did not beat Adam's throw.
  • However, Brown was pretty clearly safe at home. Ausmus' tag was more than just a little late as Brown slid in.

The win certainly doesn't feel tainted, and I'm sure Royals fans--if there are any--don't feel that they should have won. But I dunno, it just kind of bugs you to see so many bad calls.