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This Day In Astros History: July 22, 1986

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Glad I caught up for this one. On this day, Nolan Ryan struck out 14 in 9 1/3 innings of a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Expos in the Astrodome.

This was a crazy game. Ryan gave up one hit in his time, before giving over to Dave Smith, who got his third victory of the season by pitching the final two outs of the 10th inning. That doesn't sound very crazy, really, considering some of the other games on this list. What puts it over the top is that Montreal starter Floyd Youmans lost the game, despite giving up just three hits through 9-plus innings while walking none and striking out eight.

With Nolan's four walks added into the one hit he gave up, the Ryan Express actually gave up more base runners than L'Expo starter. That was true in regulation, too, as Ryan walked two in the first nine innings before walking two more in the 10th, which prompted the hook. The only hit Nolan gave up was a double in the top of the fifth by catcher Mike Fitzgerald. 

Ryan was an equal opportunity striker outer, fanning every batter in Montreal's lineup, except pinch-hitter Vance Law, who he didn't face (Smitty struck him out for good measure). Nolan got Andre Dawson and Mitch Webster three times each while Tim Raines fanned twice. 

Houston finally came through against Youman in the bottom of the tenth, when Glenn Davis led off with a solo home run. It was Davis' only hit of the night, as he had gone 0 for 3 with a strikeout before that pivotal half inning.

The victory also put Houston 10 games above .500 for the season and gave them a two game lead over San Francisco in the National League West. Of course, the Astros would play some of their best baseball down the stretch, going 44-24 after this point to hold onto the division title.

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