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News » Houston Astros Notes, Quotes 2008-06-30

Houston Astros Notes, Quotes 2008-06-30

Houston Astros Notes, Quotes 2008-06-30
--By winning the Red Sox's first series in Houston 2-1, the Astros have now won three consecutive series. Two of those series were against the teams with the best records in the American League -- Boston and the Tampa Bay Rays.

"That should give us some confidence," manager Cecil Cooper said. "I think it does. I think this is kind of a character win (Sunday). It should build some character and momentum. To play against Tampa Bay and be in every game -- and actually, (we) could have won all there. Really the same could be said here, except for giving up three runs late (June 27), we could have possibly swept the series here. I think it's going to give us a lot of confidence."

--With the Astros leading 2-1 and one out in the seventh, Manny Ramirez welcomed reliever Oscar Villarreal with a home run to right-center. Mike Lowell followed with an infield single that settled in the grass in front of second base. Then Kevin Youkilis walked, prompting another call to the bullpen.

Cecil Cooper acknowledged that he didn't want to use RHP Chris Sampson or Geoff Geary so they could rest, which is why he went with Villarreal.

--RHP Doug Brocail (4-3) set the Red Sox in order in the eighth, finishing with three strikeouts over 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief to earn the victory Sunday.

"When I came out of the seventh, we're in the dugout and (SS Miguel Tejada) said, 'Go back out there, get us three outs and we'll win this thing,'" Brocail said. "It's a confidence builder. That, and I didn't want to let the team down again."

--IF Mark Loretta gave the Astros a 3-2 lead in the eighth with a pinch hit, beating his former Red Sox teammates.

"He just gives you a good at-bat every time," 3B Mike Lowell said of Loretta. "He had a lot of two-out hits like that for us, where he'd just hit a line drive up the middle. Good player."

--RHP Brian Moehler, who needed 49 pitches to get through the order once in 1 2/3 innings, settled down and held the Red Sox to one run on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.

"When you beat a team like that and have guys like Moehler go out and absolutely match up better than their starter (Josh Beckett), who isn't a slouch by any means, it's a massive boost," Doug Brocail said.

--IF Geoff Blum, who can play all the infield positions and the outfield corners, started at second base for the first time this season. He also batted sixth against the Red Sox's Josh Beckett.

Blum ripped a two-out home run to right field in the second inning to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.

"He has seen (Beckett) before," Cecil Cooper said of Blum. "He swings the bat pretty good against him. I thought he swung the bat really well on Friday. And so it's a chance for him to maybe be able to help and protect Miggy (Miguel Tejada, the fifth batter) a little bit and he's a left-handed hitter.

"It's kind of the same thing we did with Carlos (Lee, when putting Blum behind him) a few times with him. He's played second a lot before, played a lot in this spring. This is his first shot at it in the season. He'll be fine."

--RHP Chris Sampson, the first Astros starter sent to the bullpen this year, is blossoming and impressing his manager in relief to move right behind setup man Doug Brocail in Cecil Cooper's pecking order.

"He's been really good in the bullpen," Cooper said of Sampson. "I think in the spring we talked about that, that he's a guy that could be really key for us pitching out of the 'pen. I think he's feeling more comfortable doing it. I'm thinking he still wants to start.

"Most guys that have started before I'm sure they still want to. But Sampson, I think, has kind of bought into the idea that he could be real effective and help us. I've always said that because he's so efficient with his pitches, when he's right he can throw two days in a row and throw maybe two innings two days in a row because he's usually really efficient with his pitches.

"When he's got it right, he could be really good. And he has been good for us. If I can keep him like that, that's what we'll try to do because he's been real effective."

--Astros players turned in their All-Star ballots Saturday. They couldn't vote for themselves, but were able to vote for teammates. Lance Berkman, who leads the fan voting at first base in the National League, voted for teammates Carlos Lee and Jose Valverde as well as Adrian Gonzalez of San Diego and Derrek Lee of Chicago at first base.

--In beating the Boston Red Sox 11-10 on Saturday, the Astros won a game in which they gave up nine runs for the first time since they gave up nine on Aug. 2, 2007, against the Atlanta Braves.

--LF Carlos Lee's 18th home run on Saturday marked the second-most home runs he's had before the All-Star break. He hit 26 home runs before the 2006 All-Star break.

--CF Michael Bourn collected his 31st stolen base on Saturday, tying for the most first-half stolen bases in franchise history with Eric Yelding, who had 31 before the 1990 break.

--IF Mark Loretta had three RBIs on Saturday, marking his first three-RBI game since June 24, 2007.

BY THE NUMBERS: 30 -- By beating the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night, the Astros franchise has finally earned a victory against every team in baseball. They had never before beaten the Red Sox.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "(Ed Wade) started yelling and cussing. I'm sitting there and I said to him very calmly, 'Ed you need to stop yelling (at) me.' Then I stood up and said you better stop yelling at me. I stood up. He continued and was basically yelling and stuff and was like, 'You need to... look in the mirror.' So at that point I lost my cool and I grabbed him by the neck and threw him to the ground. I jumped on top of him because at that point, I wanted to beat his (behind). Words were exchanged." -- Pitcher Shawn Chacon, to the Houston Chronicle. Chacon was placed on waivers by the Astros after the incident.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: June 30, 2008

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