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  1. #1
    bandwagoner fans suck ducks's Avatar
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    HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Astros are one win from completing an amazing late-season playoff push.

    Roy Oswalt became the NL's first 20-game winner, and Jeff Kent and Craig Biggio each homered twice, giving the Astros the NL wild-card lead with a 9-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.

    The Astros moved a game ahead of the San Francisco Giants, who lost 7-3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Chicago Cubs were eliminated from the postseason race after losing their fifth straight, 8-6 to Atlanta.

    With a victory in the regular-season finale Sunday or a Giants loss, Houston will clinch the NL's final playoff spot -- an improbable thought almost a month ago when it was four games below .500 and seven games behind the Cubs.

    Roger Clemens was set to take the mound against the Rockies on only three days' rest.

    If the Astros lose and the Giants win Sunday, the teams would play Monday afternoon in San Francisco. The winner would get the wild card.

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    Morgan Ensberg and Eric Bruntlett hit solo shots to help the Astros set a season high with six homers, extending their franchise-record home winning streak to 17 games.

    Kent hit a two-run shot off Adam Bernero in the fifth for his 278th home run as a second baseman, breaking Ryne Sandberg's major league record. Kent got a curtain call from the crowd, emerging from the dugout to doff his cap.

    Oswalt (20-10) won 20 games for the first time in his career, allowing only one run and five hits in seven innings. The 27-year-old right-hander posted the eighth 20-win season in club history, joining Larry Dierker, Mike Hampton, Jose Lima, J.R. Richard, Mike Scott and Joe Niekro, who did it twice.

    The only drama of the evening came in a game being played more than 1,500 miles away at Dodger Stadium.

    The sellout crowd of 43,279 let out an incredible roar in the third inning when the scoreboard in left field posted the news they'd all been waiting to see: Los Angeles 7, San Francisco 3.

    Houston wasted little time jumping out to an early lead for its sixth straight win and eighth in its last nine -- the Astros led off the first four innings with home runs.

    Shawn Estes (15-8) allowed five runs on seven hits, including four homers, in four innings. It was the first time since Aug. 29 that Estes hadn't made it into the seventh inning of a start.


    AP - Oct 2, 9:23 pm EDT
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    Biggio hit a leadoff homer in the first, Kent connected in the second and Biggio went deep again to lead off the third, drawing chants of ``Biggio! Biggio!'' from the crowd.

    With the bases loaded later in the inning, Estes walked Ensberg to score Bagwell and give Houston a 4-1 lead.

    Biggio nearly homered again in the eighth, driving a pitch from Tim Harikkala deep into left field -- almost hitting the scoreboard -- for a sacrifice fly that scored Bruntlett.

    Vinny Castilla homered off Oswalt in the second and the Rockies added two more runs in the eighth on Jorge Piedra's home run and Royce Clayton's RBI double.

    Notes

    Biggio hit his career-high 24th homer. ... Colorado 1B Todd Helton's hitting streak ended at 11. He finished the game 0-for-3. ... The Astros sold out their 23rd game of the season.
    _____________________________
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  2. #2
    Nostradamas Jr.
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    I told all of you the Astros would get to the playoffs. But noooooo, all of you said it would be the Cubs or the Giants.....now, I guess you will be getting on the bandwagon again, eh Spurm?

  3. #3
    Finals MVP GINNNNNNNNNNNNOBILI's Avatar
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    I'm not a huge baseball fan, but if the astros get in.... they will be a legit contender, because its seems they are the hottest team in the league now

  4. #4
    Still Hates Small Ball Spurminator's Avatar
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    It's not over yet, Jim. They have to win today as well, or hope the Giants lose. A one game playoff between the Astros and Giants would not work in Houston's favor, especially when you consider that it will be in SF and neither Clemens nor Oswalt would be available to start.

    I'll wait to get excited until later today.

  5. #5
    Nostradamas Jr.
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    It's not over yet, Jim. They have to win today as well, or hope the Giants lose. A one game playoff between the Astros and Giants would not work in Houston's favor, especially when you consider that it will be in SF and neither Clemens nor Oswalt would be available to start.

    I'll wait to get excited until later today.

    Ok, Spurm, you can get excited now. I told you so!!!! I have both my teams in the playoffs and they both have the best two recordssince the AllStar break Houston vs Boston in the World Series, baby......yes.

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