HOUSTON -- Several of Morgan Ensberg's teammates said they knew he'd win the game for the Astros after Joe Borchard crashed into Dan Uggla, knocking the ninth-inning, bases-loaded foul pop out of the second baseman's glove.
They were right.
"Oh, now it's over," Carlos Lee remembered thinking after the near miss. "They had their chance and they blew it."
Chad Qualls (2-1), who allowed no hits and struck out three in 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win, agreed.
"I looked at everybody in the dugout and we all said, 'For sure the game is over,"' Qualls recalled. "That's just what happens in this game when you give somebody a second chance."
Ensberg wasn't as sure as his teammates, but was simply thankful for another opportunity.
"After fouling off three of them, I was very excited," he said. "You absolutely want to be in that situation - the ninth inning with a chance to win the game. It's what you play for."
Kevin Gregg (0-1) walked Mark Loretta and Lance Berkman in the ninth inning, and Lee singled to load the bases with no outs for Ensberg. Uggla backpedaled for the popup and was under it when Borchard ran into him from behind.
Uggla and Borchard weren't available for comment after the game. Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez downplayed the importance of the mistake, which was not ruled an error.
"We still would have to play the infield in, and then we face (Luke) Scott and a pinch hitter," Gonzalez said. "We would've liked to have had the opportunity, but I don't think that's the ballgame."
Gregg allowed two hits and one run with two walks in the ninth.
"It was unacceptable to walk those two guys," he said. "That's just not going to get the job done."
He also defended the play by Uggla and Borchard.
"They were trying hard," Gregg said. "They were just trying to catch the ball and ensure the out. You can't blame them for that."
"I felt good and had good control today," Rodriguez said.
Astros manager Phil Garner was happy with the performance of Rodriguez, who hasn't gotten a win since last July.
"I would like for him to get the win out of it, but I thought he threw the ball really well," Garner said.
|Morgan Ensberg provides the heroics after a Marlins gaffe breathes new life into his at-bat. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Hanley Ramirez, SS||4||0||2||0||1||1||1||.371|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||3||0||1||1||1||1||2||.277|
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.372|
|Josh Willingham, LF||3||0||0||0||1||0||0||.244|
|Mike Jacobs, 1B||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.341|
|Cody Ross, CF||4||2||2||0||0||1||2||.296|
|Miguel Olivo, C||4||0||1||1||0||2||2||.225|
|Joe Borchard, RF||4||1||2||1||0||1||1||.270|
|Anibal Sanchez, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|Matt Lindstrom, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Aaron Boone, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.300|
|Renyel Pinto, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Randy Messenger, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Jason Wood, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.143|
|Kevin Gregg, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Lindstrom in the 7th|
|b-struck out for Messenger in the 9th|
|2B - Cody Ross (4, White), Miguel Olivo (2, Rodriguez)|
|3B - Hanley Ramirez (2, Rodriguez)|
|SH - Anibal Sanchez (1)|
|RBI - Dan Uggla (6), Miguel Olivo (6), Joe Borchard (6)|
|2-OUT RBI - Dan Uggla (2)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Cabrera-Jacobs|
|Kevin Gregg (L,0-1)||0||2||1||1||2||0||0||2.84|
|IBB - Berkman by Matt Lindstrom|
|Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 106-54, Matt Lindstrom 28-15, Renyel Pinto 4-2, Randy Messenger 16-10, Kevin Gregg 26-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 2-9, Matt Lindstrom 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 24, Matt Lindstrom 7, Renyel Pinto 2, Randy Messenger 4, Kevin Gregg 4|
|Craig Biggio, 2B||5||0||2||0||0||1||0||.240|
|Adam Everett, SS||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.267|
|Mark Loretta, SS-2B||4||1||2||2||1||0||1||.250|
|Lance Berkman, 1B||2||0||1||0||3||1||2||.206|
|Carlos Lee, LF||5||0||1||0||0||0||5||.302|
|Morgan Ensberg, 3B||2||1||1||1||3||0||0||.289|
|Luke Scott, RF||3||0||0||0||1||1||4||.250|
|Chris Burke, CF||4||1||1||0||0||1||2||.211|
|Chad Qualls, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brad Ausmus, C||2||0||0||1||1||1||1||.273|
|Wandy Rodriguez, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||3||.000|
|a- Orlando Palmeiro, PH||0||1||0||0||1||0||0||.250|
|Rick White, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Trever Miller, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jason Lane, CF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.167|
|a-walked for Rodriguez in the 6th|
|SF - Brad Ausmus (1)|
|RBI - Mark Loretta 2 (2), Morgan Ensberg (5), Brad Ausmus (1)|
|2-OUT RBI - Mark Loretta 2 (2)|
|SB - Lance Berkman (1, 2nd base off Sanchez/Olivo), Chris Burke (4, 2nd base off Lindstrom/Olivo)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|Outfield Assists - Chris Burke 1|
|DP - Ensberg-Biggio-Berkman, Ensberg-Biggio-Berkman|
|Rick White (BS,1)||1.1||3||2||2||1||0||0||2.35|
|Chad Qualls (W,2-1)||1.2||0||0||0||0||3||0||2.84|
|Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 93-58, Rick White 35-20, Trever Miller 2-2, Chad Qualls 23-16|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 8-2, Rick White 2-2, Chad Qualls 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 23, Rick White 8, Trever Miller 1, Chad Qualls 5|
|Attendance - 30665|
|Game Time - 3:18|
|Temperature - 68|
|Umpires - Home - Mark Wegner, First Base - Bruce Froemming, Second Base - Brian Runge, Third Base - Mike Winters|