Houston at Florida

W: C. Qualls (4-2) L: R. Messenger (1-5)
HR: HOU - A. Huff (9)   FLA - M. Jacobs (12)

Huff cranks three-run blast in Astros debut

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

MIAMI -- Aubrey Huff made quite a debut with his new team.

Huff hit a three-run home run in his first game with Houston and Lance Berkman had three hits to lead the Astros to a 5-1 victory over the Florida Marlins on Thursday night.

Huff, who was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Wednesday, homered to right-center in the eighth off reliever Randy Messenger (1-5) to give the Astros a 5-1 lead.

"Any time you get to a new team, it's good to get in there and contribute," Huff said.

Houston broke a three-game road losing streak, while the Marlins lost for the fourth time in their last 13 home games.

Huff's homer was part of a four-run eighth. Willy Taveras singled to lead off the inning and advanced to third as Chris Burke reached when first baseman Mike Jacobs failed to handle a low throw by shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Berkman drove in Taveras with a single to right, and Huff followed with his homer, his second hit of the game.

"It was a curveball," Huff said. "I was getting ready to hit a fastball and he just left it up a little bit."

The 30-year-old Huff hit .283 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 63 games for the Devil Rays this season. The third baseman hit safely in 20 of his last 23 games with Tampa Bay, batting .433 with 13 doubles, five homers and 16 RBI during the stretch.

Huff had a game-winning homer against the Marlins in May for the Devil Rays, and is hitting .480 with three home runs and six RBI against Florida this season.

"He's a good hitter," Astros manager Phil Garner said. "We know that and he showed us that tonight."

The game began as a pitcher's duel between the Astros' Roy Oswalt and the Marlins' Dontrelle Willis -- but neither figured in the decision.

Oswalt pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing one run and six hits while striking out four. He pitched at least six innings for the 17th time in his past 18 starts.

"If you keep the score close and let them score late, that's your job," Oswalt said. "I just ran out of gas a little bit toward the end."

Willis, who began the season 1-6, entered having won five of his last six decisions. Willis went seven innings, allowing one run and six hits while striking out five.

"I'll be all right. I'll continue to give the club a chance to win," Willis said. "I won't die over it, but I am upset that we lost."

Garner pulled Oswalt in the seventh after Jeremy Hermida and Miguel Olivo reached with singles. Chad Qualls (4-2) came on and induced Reggie Abercrombie to ground into a fielder's choice and pinch-hitter Cody Ross to pop up.

Willis hit Burke with a pitch in the sixth. Burke advanced to third on Berkman's single. After Huff struck out, Preston Wilson singled up the middle to drive in Burke and give the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Jacobs tied it in the sixth with his 12th homer, a drive into the stands in right.

Florida entered the game 12th in the league with 66 errors and added three more by Jacobs, Ramirez and Willis.

"I'm not sure really why it happens," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. "We gave up extra outs, we get ahead of guys and were not able to put them away. It could be that guys are just trying too hard, or it could be that some of them are tough plays."

Home plate umpire Rick Reed left with one out in the bottom of the second inning, with a broken blood vessel in his nose.


  • Astros 2B Craig Biggio is one hit away from tying Zack Wheat for 35th on the all-time list. He has 2,883 after going hitless Thursday.
  • When Willis hit Burke with the pitch it was his 14th hit batter of the season, tops in the majors.
Copyright 2017 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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Aubrey Huff watches his eighth-inning homer, making the new Astro a hit in his debut.  (AP)
Aubrey Huff watches his eighth-inning homer, making the new Astro a hit in his debut. (AP)

Players of the Game

A. Huff
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

L. Berkman
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0

Related Video

Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B5000012 .276
    Eric Bruntlett, 2B0000000 .256
Willy Taveras, CF5130001 .259
Chris Burke, RF4200012 .291
Lance Berkman, 1B4131001 .322
Aubrey Huff, 3B4123012 .286
Preston Wilson, LF4011011 .283
Brad Ausmus, C4000012 .234
Adam Everett, SS3010100 .237
Roy Oswalt, P1000010 .105
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
   a- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1010000 .227
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
a-singled for Qualls in the 9th
HR - Aubrey Huff (9, Messenger)
SH - Roy Oswalt 2 (8)
RBI - Lance Berkman (80), Aubrey Huff 3 (31), Preston Wilson (47)
2-OUT RBI - Preston Wilson (20)
CS - Adam Everett (3, 2nd base by Willis/Olivo), Orlando Palmeiro (1, 2nd base by Herges/Olivo)
Team LOB - 7
Houston Astros
Roy Oswalt 6.1611041 3.06
Chad Qualls (W,4-2) 1.2000010 3.40
Brad Lidge 1000020 5.65
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Oswalt 98-69, Chad Qualls 14-12, Brad Lidge 18-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Oswalt 8-7, Chad Qualls 2-2
Batters Faced - Roy Oswalt 25, Chad Qualls 5, Brad Lidge 3
Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez, SS4010020 .271
Dan Uggla, 2B4000001 .303
Mike Jacobs, 1B4111001 .277
Miguel Cabrera, 3B4010011 .333
Josh Willingham, LF4000011 .266
Jeremy Hermida, RF4020011 .291
Miguel Olivo, C3010011 .287
Reggie Abercrombie, CF3000012 .217
Dontrelle Willis, P2000000 .118
   a- Cody Ross, PH1000002 .247
    Randy Messenger, P0000000 .000
    Matt Herges, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Willis in the 7th
2B - Hanley Ramirez (20, Oswalt), Miguel Cabrera (26, Oswalt), Jeremy Hermida (13, Oswalt)
HR - Mike Jacobs (12, Oswalt)
RBI - Mike Jacobs (48)
2-OUT RBI - Mike Jacobs (23)
Team LOB - 5
DP - H. Ramirez-Uggla-Jacobs, Olivo-Uggla
E - Mike Jacobs (4, missed catch), Hanley Ramirez (12, wild throw), Dontrelle Willis (2, wild throw on pickoff attempt)
Florida Marlins
Dontrelle Willis 7611150 3.80
Randy Messenger (L,1-5)0343001 3.48
Matt Herges 2200010 3.86
HBP - Burke (by Dontrelle Willis)
Pitches-Strikes - Dontrelle Willis 104-63, Randy Messenger 12-9, Matt Herges 30-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dontrelle Willis 9-6, Randy Messenger 1-0, Matt Herges 3-1
Batters Faced - Dontrelle Willis 28, Randy Messenger 4, Matt Herges 7
Game Information
Attendance - 8216
Game Time - 2:39
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Rick Reed, First Base - Tim Tschida, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Laz Diaz