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Astros Beat Nationals 5-0

Final - 7.13.2008 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston Astros 0 1 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 5 12 0
Washington Nationals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
WP: Brandon Backe (6 - 9)
LP: Odalis Perez (2 - 7)

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Great game all around. Obviously Backe was the player of the game with his performance, but the entire team helped out with timely hits and some excellent defense. I didn't get to watch the entire game, but the running catch that Erstad made in center field was very nice along with the sliding catch by Tejada in foul territory.

Backe went 7 innings allowing just 5 hits, 4 walks with 5 strike outs and no runs. Backe didn't pitch flawlessly today allowing multiple base runners and got himself into some situations where the Nationals could have started a rally... but he pitched through it and with the help of the defense worked through them all. Backe was also one of the better offensive players in the game going 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored. We got to see something today that doesn't really happen too often... the pitcher singles and then the lead off hitter lays down a sacrifice bunt to move him over. Not a big accomplishment by any means, but still not the most common thing to see. Lee (still dedicated to driving in runs) went 2 for 4 driving in 3 runs to put him at 76 RBI's on the season(and 2nd place in the NL, just 3 ahead of Berkman).

Today was just a good day... every Astros starter except for Towles had a hit, and 4 of them had multiple hits(Backe, Matsui, Lee and Wigginton).

In the 8th inning, after walking a batter(still not sure why Cooper started the inning off with Backe if his leash was going to be that short...) Sampson came in and finished off the final 6 outs of the game, facing just 5 batters(inducing a double play on the inherited runner) on his 1st batter. I'm starting to get more and more convinced that Sampson should stay in the bullpen. The way he's pitching right now, he could easily be an 8th inning guy for the Astros... he also has the ability to pitch multiple innings when we need him(and even make spot starts). Sampson's value goes WAY up as a reliever in my opinion.

Well, the Astros now have 4 days off with the All Star Home Run Derby starting tomorrow at 7:00PM CST and then the All Star Game on Tuesday at 7:00PM CST... Wednesday and Thursday are off days and then the Astros come back to start a new series with the Cubs at home.

Next Game

Chicago Cubs
@ Houston Astros

Friday, Jul 18, 2008, 7:05 PM CDT
Minute Maid Park

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