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Houston at Colorado

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Colorado000000001181

Biggio leaves mark with record as Astros rip Rockies

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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DENVER -- Craig Biggio's arm guard is headed to the Hall of Fame.

The way Houston Astros manager Phil Garner sees it, the player won't be far behind.

Biggio set the modern record for being hit by pitches and added a solo homer, helping Roy Oswalt win his fourth straight start in Houston's 7-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.

"When you look at where he stands (with) offensive numbers, he's pretty impressive," Garner said. "The guys that are ahead of him are baseball icons that live forever. The guys that he's passed and he continues to pass are baseball icons too. So he's in high cotton, he deserves to be there."

Biggio was hit on the left elbow in the fourth inning by Byung-Hyun Kim, breaking Don Baylor's post-1900 record of 267 times hit by pitches. Biggio calmly turned and trotted to first as he had so many other times, but this time he pointed to the ball and asked the ball boy to send it back to the Astros' dugout as a keepsake for his years of pain.

"Anybody that's been hit that many times, you have no understanding about how many times that is and how painful it is over the years," said Biggio, who had two hits to move into 52nd place with 2,718.

Many of the fans at Coors Field gave Biggio a standing ovation, and Cooperstown asked for his arm guard. As for the ball, it's headed home to his kids.

"My kids collect a bunch of stuff, it's amazing," Biggio said. "We have a rotation going on, I don't know if it's my daughter's or my oldest boy's -- somebody is going to get it. They treat everything with respect, they respect the game."

Baylor, now a Seattle Mariners coach, complimented Biggio.

"It was an honor to watch him play," Baylor said before the Mariners played Oakland. "I've always liked his style. When he became a free agent, I tried to lure him to Colorado."

He didn't mind Biggio breaking the record wearing protective gear.

"It's all right. I had a lot of close calls," Baylor said. "Body parts are not going to Cooperstown. I got hit in the elbow, the back, the head, the shins. You play and prepare for the next at-bat. I never missed a game or an at-bat because of it, but I charged the mound a few times."

Houston did plenty of damage to the Rockies, too, getting 12 hits for its seventh win in nine games. Morgan Ensberg hit his 20th homer, Jason Lane added 13th and Lance Berkman had three hits to extend his hitting streak to nine games.

Kim (2-7) kept the Rockies close despite his usual control problems, but Colorado had trouble against Oswalt (10-7).

The right-hander gave up a two-out double to Todd Helton in the first inning, but allowed just one more runner to reach second. Oswalt gave up six hits, struck out six and walked just one. He hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in nine of his last 10 starts and has given up three runs and 21 hits in 32 1/3 innings during his win streak.

"He is one of the best," Colorado's Brad Hawpe said. "The combination of hard stuff and offspeed stuff make him that way -- he varies his speed so well. And he's a tough competitor."

Especially against the Rockies.

He's 5-0 against Colorado and has had particular success at Coors Field, where he's 2-0 with a 1.92 ERA. Oswalt said the key has been lowering his release point to fight the effects of Denver's thin air.

The adjustment caused him to jam his fingers on the mound after a curveball in the fifth inning, but it clearly works.

"The thing about this park is you can't throw your curveball with your regular release point, you've got to throw it a little bit further out," said Oswalt, who tied Eric Gagne, Jay Powell and Bill Swift for most wins against the Rockies without a loss. "You don't have the bite that you have other places, so you have to compensate with speed and location."

Chad Qualls pitched the eighth and Colorado finally got a run in the ninth on J.D. Closser's groundout off Mike Burns. That led to sarcastic cheers from the fans, who spent most of the early innings booing as the Astros rounded the bases like it was batting practice.

Knowing that Closser has struggled at throwing out runners this season, Houston ran at nearly every opportunity. The Astros stole six bases, including three by Chris Burke. Two came in the fourth inning and one in the second on a play in which Closser threw the ball into center for an error that allowed Houston's second run.

"I think they took advantage of the situation," said Closser, 2-for-31 throwing out runners after nabbing 5 of 23 last season. "I don't think it is any one guy teams go after. It was a situation they took advantage of and they were successful."

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle called Kim effectively wild in previous start -- a 12-4 Colorado victory over Kansas City on Friday -- and this one looked pretty much the same.

Kim struck out five in five innings, but also walked three and hit Biggio and Berkman on consecutive pitches in the fourth inning. But like he has so many time as a starter this season, Kim limited the damage. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth by getting Ensberg to pop out and gave up just three runs -- two earned -- despite allowing 11 runners.

"The pitch count was inefficient to say the least," Hurdle said. "He had two good starts, but today was a mixed bag."

Marcos Carvajal wasn't any better. He gave up a solo homer to Biggio in the sixth inning, then Ensberg, who hit a grand slam Tuesday night, followed Berkman's double with a two-run homer that landed on the concourse just inside the foul pole in left.

Berkman put Houston up 7-0 in the eighth with an RBI double off Jay Witasick.

Notes

  • Berkman is 15-for-32 during his hitting streak.
  • Ensberg has 28 RBI in June, one shy of the team record for the month. Jose Cruz had 29 RBI in 1984.
  • Helton extended his hitting streak to eight games and reached 20 doubles for the eighth straight season.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Houston's Craig Biggio gets plunked in the fourth inning, breaking Don Baylor's post-1900 record.  (AP)
Houston's Craig Biggio gets plunked in the fourth inning, breaking Don Baylor's post-1900 record. (AP)

Players of the Game
Houston

C. Biggio
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Houston

R. Oswalt
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 0
BB 1
K 6
 
Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF5121021 .288
Craig Biggio, 2B4121011 .285
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
    Mike Burns, P0000000 .000
Lance Berkman, 1B3121111 .279
    Eric Bruntlett, PR-2B0000000 .222
Morgan Ensberg, 3B5112006 .276
Jason Lane, RF4121111 .235
Adam Everett, SS5120003 .237
Chris Burke, LF3110202 .233
Brad Ausmus, C5000014 .214
Roy Oswalt, P4000013 .121
    Mike Lamb, 1B0000000 .209
Totals3871264722 
Batting
2B - Lance Berkman 2 (10, Carvajal, Witasick), Jason Lane (17, Kim), Adam Everett (19, Kim)
HR - Craig Biggio (10, Carvajal), Morgan Ensberg (20, Carvajal), Jason Lane (13, Kim)
RBI - Willy Taveras (13), Craig Biggio (34), Lance Berkman (26), Morgan Ensberg 2 (54), Jason Lane (35)
2-OUT RBI - Willy Taveras (6), Craig Biggio (14), Morgan Ensberg 2 (24)
SB - Willy Taveras (18, 2nd base off Kim/Closser), Craig Biggio (8, 2nd base off Kim/Closser), Chris Burke 3 (6, 3rd base off Kim/Closser, 2nd base off Kim/Closser, 3rd base off Kim/Closser)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Everett-Biggio-Berkman
E - Jason Lane (4, dropped fly)
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt (W,10-7) 7600160 2.54
Chad Qualls 1100010 4.46
Mike Burns 1111000 7.88
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 102-71, Chad Qualls 13-9, Mike Burns 15-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 7-8, Chad Qualls 2-0, Mike Burns 1-2
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 28, Chad Qualls 4, Mike Burns 4
Colorado Rockies
Cory Sullivan, LF4010021 .302
Aaron Miles, 2B4000012 .283
Todd Helton, 1B4020010 .264
Preston Wilson, CF4000011 .259
Garrett Atkins, 3B3010111 .316
Bradley Hawpe, RF4120002 .285
Eddy Garabito, SS4010002 .323
J.D. Closser, C4011002 .205
Byung-Hyun Kim, P1000000 .000
   a- Jorge Piedra, PH1000001 .310
    Marcos Carvajal, P0000000 .000
    Dan Miceli, P0000000 .000
   b- Dustan Mohr, PH1000011 .183
    Jay Witasick, P0000000 .000
    Bobby Seay, P0000000 .000
   c- Luis Gonzalez, PH1000000 .267
Totals351811713 
a-fouled out for Kim in the 5th
b-struck out for Miceli in the 7th
c-flied out for Seay in the 9th
Batting
2B - Todd Helton (20, Oswalt)
3B - Bradley Hawpe (3, Burns)
RBI - J.D. Closser (13)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Atkins-Miles-Helton
E - J.D. Closser (4, wild throw)
Colorado Rockies
Byung-Hyun Kim (L,2-7) 5632361 6.04
Marcos Carvajal 1333002 4.99
Dan Miceli 1000100 0.00
Jay Witasick 1211010 2.37
Bobby Seay 1100000 6.00
HBP - Biggio (by Byung-Hyun Kim), Berkman (by Byung-Hyun Kim)
Pitches-Strikes - Byung-Hyun Kim 109-62, Marcos Carvajal 13-9, Dan Miceli 25-15, Jay Witasick 17-12, Bobby Seay 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Byung-Hyun Kim 2-7, Marcos Carvajal 2-1, Jay Witasick 1-1, Bobby Seay 2-0
Batters Faced - Byung-Hyun Kim 26, Marcos Carvajal 6, Dan Miceli 4, Jay Witasick 5, Bobby Seay 3
Game Information
Attendance - 23494
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Tom Hallion, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Rob Drake, Third Base - Kevin Kelley