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Matchup/Game Thread Game # 107 at Padres

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Brandon Backe Woody Williams
1 - 1, 5.82 4 - 2, 3.69

Ah! A reunion of sorts!

The last time Brandon Backe and Woody Williams faced off, the circumstances were just a bit different. The atmosphere was just a bit more charged, the lineups just a little bit more dangerous.

I couldn't stop the memories from flooding back even if I wanted to.

Dangerous lineups or no, Backe and Williams combined to forge an all-time classic not quite two years ago. And because the celebration of Houston's 2005 NLCS victory over the Cardinals was 1) carried out on foreign soil and 2) somewhat subdued after the excruciating loss in Game Five, I believe that it was a classic that still represents the very emotional pinnacle of the Astros franchise.

It was Brandon Backe who put Jeff Kent in the position to hit that spine-tingling three-run homer, Backe who almost entirely by sheer hyperintense will allowed the Astros to win that game.

Backe's emotions that night, and his guts, spilled over onto anyone and everyone fortunate enough to witness the game he pitched. Few big-stage performances compare, and the ones that do usually involve the all-time greats.

Backe amazed the world that night, or at least the part of the world that was watching, and he amazed himself. Remember? After getting a groundout or a K, he kept slapping himself on his side, kept exhaling, doing anything he could to keep his focus as he rolled through a fearsome lineup. And then he walked back to the mound, and retired another Cardinal, and another.

I'm getting goosebumps thinking about it right now, two years later. Sheesh.

Anyway, here's hoping Brandon Backe finally gets his win over Woody Williams. Lord knows he deserved it last time.