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This Day In Astros History: April 7, 1975

Just so I don't always bring bad news, let's look at a happy opener, as Larry Dierker and the Astros outdueled the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Opening Day 1975.

Dierker allowed four hits, two runs and a walk while striking out seven for his first complete game and victory of the season. Dierk only won 14 games that season, but also had 14 complete games. His mound opponent was Phil Niekro, who only managed 4 2/3 innings before giving way to someone named Roric Harrison and Gary Gentry.

Of the five runs that Niekro gave up, none of them were earned. What's a little hard to figure is how all five runs were scored unearned. In the crucial inning, Dierker grounded out to lead things off. Enos Cabell and second baseman Rob Andrews each singed on consecutive at-bats, but Cabell was thrown out going first to third. Andrews moved up to second on the throw and went to third on a passed ball. That's what appears to be the crucial error, but it's not one that normally gets the rest of the runs credited as unearned, since it wouldn't have been the third out of the inning.

It's possible what happened was Andrews was unearned because he moved up a base on the passed ball, scoring when Cesar Cedeno singled. Milt May then reached base on a catcher's interference call, which I guess could have been the third out otherwise, making the rest of the runs in the frame unearned. Cliff Johnson's double scored Cedeno before Jose Cruz hit a three-run home run to give the Astros a 5-2 lead.

Cruz was 3 for 4 in the game with 3 RBIs. May, Cedeno, Andrews, Cabell and Doug Rader all had two hits while Cabell, Cedeno and Cruz each stole a base.

Two neat things in this one: the game finished in a brisk 2 hours, 8 minutes and the Braves sported some awesome names in their lineup. Aside from Mike Lum, they had Rowland Office and Larvell Blanks along with some guy named Dusty.