Twenty-year veteran Craig Biggio announced his intention to retire at the end of the season Tuesday afternoon. Hours later, he appeared determined to go out at a high level.
After lifting the Houston Astros to a win with his fourth career grand slam, Biggio hopes to help the team record its first back-to-back victories in more than three weeks when the Astros close a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.
Biggio, who has spent his entire major league career with the Astros, held a press conference to announce that this season would be his last. The seven-time All-Star is the franchise leader in hits (3,016), runs (1,827) and games (2,799), and is the only player in history to record 600 doubles, 250 homers, 3,000 hits and 400 steals.
He became the first Astro in the team’s 46-year history to reach 3,000 hits June 28, when he joined the elite club with a five-hit performance at Minute Maid Park.
“For me to be able to walk away now, on top, on my own accord, I’m very happy with that,” he said during the press conference. “I’m in a good place. I think I’ve done everything that I was supposed to do on a baseball field. I have nothing to be disappointed about.”
Biggio added to his legacy Tuesday night, hitting his second grand slam of the season on the first pitch of his sixth-inning at-bat to break a 3-all tie. The Astros (43-57) went on to win 7-4, recording their highest run total in 11 games since the All-Star break.
“Emotionally, it was a tough day,” Biggio said. “To have this happen is amazing. I still think I’m going to die early with all that has happened this season.
“I didn’t even feel like I was touching the bases as I ran around them. It was just magical. It was a special, special night.”
Houston hasn’t won consecutive games since a three-game run July 1-3.
For the Dodgers (56-45), the loss snapped their five-game win streak on the road, where they had won 10 of 14 since June 19. Their six hits matched the team’s fewest in a road contest since June 5, when Los Angeles was held to five in a 1-0 loss at San Diego.
Los Angeles hopes to rebound behind Derek Lowe (8-9, 3.48 ERA), who seeks his first win in more than a month. He’s 0-3 with a 4.82 ERA in six games - five starts - since beating Tampa Bay on June 22.
The right-hander matched a career high by giving up nine runs in three innings in a 13-9 loss to the New York Mets on Thursday.
“I’d describe it as live batting practice,” Lowe said. “I made a ton of mistakes and they capitalized on every single one.”
He appeared in relief Sunday, pitching a perfect seventh inning in the Dodgers’ 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Mets.
Lowe has a 2.76 ERA in four starts against the Astros, but is 1-2 in those games. He’s received only one run of support in each of his last three starts against Houston.
Astros outfielder Carlos Lee is 9-for-23 (.391) with two home runs against Lowe.
Houston ace Roy Oswalt was originally scheduled to pitch Wednesday, but he’ll skip his start because of soreness in his upper chest.
“If all goes well, I don’t think Roy will need more than one start,” manager Phil Garner said Sunday. “Roy felt it a little bit today. It was a little bit better, but it’s probably better this way.”
With Oswalt sidelined, 24-year-old right-hander Matt Albers (2-4, 5.76) will make his first start since May 23. Albers was 1-4 with a 6.35 ERA in seven starts before moving to the bullpen, where he was 1-0 with a 3.97 ERA in eight appearances.
He allowed one run and two hits in an inning of relief against Pittsburgh in Houston’s 7-3 loss Saturday. He has never faced the Dodgers.