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This Day In Astros History: June 8, 1996

Since we're obliged to tie every single post this week into the draft (or our SB Nation overlords will activate the shock collars), this bit of nostalgia reaches back to highlight a power arm the Astros drafted and developed in the recent past.

That's right, we're going all the way back to Billy Wagner's first big league victory, as the Astros beat the Phillies 7-3 in the Astrodome.

Darryl Kile started for Houston, but only lasted 5 2/3 innings, while giving up nine hits, three runs and two walks. Of course, Kile also struck out seven, so his pitch count was probably through the roof (102 to be exact). That's when the Astros brought in Billy The Kid, who pitched 1 1/3 innings, giving up no hits or runs and just two walks while striking out two. 

With the game tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Wagner's day was done when John Cangelosi pinch-hit for him to lead off the frame. He reached on an error by Phillies pitcher Russ Springer (!!!) and went to second when Brian Hunter singled up the middle.

Craig Biggio provided the game's biggest blow at that point, hitting a three-run home run on a line drive to deep left field. The Astros added another run later in the inning when Derrick May hit a double to right that scored Derek Bell. Xavier Hernandez pitched the final two innings to bring home Wagner's victory. 

That was the first decision of any kind in Wagner's young career. The lefty had been called up to Houston's bullpen two days before and had appeared in two games, one on June 6th and one in 1995. Wagner pitched 3 1/3 innings two days before this victory, striking out five and allowing three hits, three runs, one walk and a home run against Colorado. He would go on to win 26 games over nine years with Houston, pitching in 464 games for the team. 

Here's the graphic replay of the game, thanks to Back to Baseball.