Two days ago and 22 years ago, Rafael Ramirez pulled off a franchise feat despite the AStros losing 10-9 to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Ramirez set what was then a franchise record with seven RBIs to pace the losing effort. What's more, Ramirez did it while batting eighth in this lineup, just ahead of starter Mark Portugal. Oh, and did I mention that Ramirez was the only Astro to officially drive in runs in this game? The shortstop went 3 for 5, raising his average to .254 for the season and his OPS to a robust .629.
Ramirez got started driving in runs in the top of the second. With the bases loaded, Ramirez hit a ground ball in the hole to shortstop Shawon Dunston, who promptly airmailed his throw for an error. That allowed Glenn Davis to score from third for Raffy's first RBI. Caminiti also scored from second on the play, but because of the error, that run was unearned. So, Ramirez had a good chance at still being tied with J.R. Towles for the franchise high with eight RBIs.
Alas, it was not to be. Ramirez did drive in two more runs in the top of the fourth with a line drive double to right field. That allowed Craig Biggio and Caminiti to score and run Houston's lead to 4-0.
In the fifth, Houston got back on the board with another no RBI run-scoring play when Billy Doran scored from third on a passed ball while Ken Caminiti was batting. That's an important distinction, since if the ball were classified as a wild pitch instead of as a passed ball, the run would have counted as an RBI for Caminiti. He didn't lose any milestones with that one RBI, since he finished the season with 72. But, it did contribute to the weird fact that Raffy was the only RBI holder on the team that day.
So, we're at three RBIs through four innings for the erstwhile shortstop. He picked up the franchise record in one fell swoop in the top of the fifth. With Davis, Kevin Bass and Biggio all on base, Ramirez sent the first pitch he saw from Dean Wilkins into the left-center field bleachers. That gave Houston a 9-0 lead, which they ended up squandering over the course of the next four frames.
Ramirez only hit 53 home runs in his career and just two grand slams. He also just hit 16 home runs as an Astro and, interestingly enough, never had an on-base percentage above .300 in his five seasons with Houston. In '89, he hit just six home runs and drove in 54 RBIs, which means 13 percent of his entire season's RBI production came in this one game.
Here's the graphic replay of the game, thanks to Back to Baseball.