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HOUSTON (AP)—For the first time since its first month of play, Houston has a .500 franchise record.
The win, Houston’s fourth straight, puts the franchise at .500 for the first time since the Colt-.45s, as the team was known, were 6-6 before a 2-1 loss to the Milwaukee Braves on April 27, 1962. The franchise record is 3,507-3,507, making Houston the 13th team in the majors with a record of .500 or better.
“Considering that it’s been since the 12th game of the franchise this is a pretty amazing event,” Astros general manager Tim Purpura said. “Forty-four years is a long time, but just look where we have come from in the last 12 or 13 years. Since Drayton (McLane) owned the club we have just continued to pump out winning seasons and that’s why we’ve made up so much of the ground.”
Houston’s low point was 228 games under .500 at 1,254-1,482 after play on Sept. 24, 1978, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Astros manager Phil Garner briefly savored the milestone before moving on to a new goal.
“It means that the franchise has been pretty successful,” he said. “I don’t think there are many franchises who play over .500 at this point. It’s a pretty significant milestone. Our objective now is to just stay way above it.”
Like Purpura, Craig Biggio said the mark is noteworthy because it is a testament to the team’s success over the past decade.
“It’s pretty nice because we’ve made up a lot of ground,” he said. “We’re focusing on this season, but over the last 10-to-12 years our fans have had a lot to cheer about and you can’t say that for every franchise.”
Houston roughed up Doug Davis (0-1) for nine runs and eight hits in just 2 2-3 innings.
“I made a few mistakes obviously,” he said. “I usually can get away with some of those, but not today.”
Ensberg, who has homered in a career-high four straight games, had a solo shot in the first and a two-run drive in the sixth off Chris Demaria. Biggio was 3-for-5 with a leadoff home run and a three RBIs.
Ensberg said he’s excited about his quick start since he normally doesn’t hit that well in April.
“Historically April’s bad for me,” he said. “But I’m seeing the ball and I’m capitalizing on pitchers mistakes. I’m happy I’m not starting slowly, but the most important thing is we’re playing some good baseball.”
Houston led 11-2 after six innings but Milwaukee hit three two-run homers in the next two innings to cut the lead to 12-10. Carlos Lee hit a pair of two-run homers for the Brewers.
Brewers manager Ned Yost saw his team’s offense as a bright spot in the loss.
“The offense is starting to kick in now and that’s a good sign,” he said. “It shows the character of your club when you’re down 11-2 and come back.”
Brad Lidge replaced Miller with one out in the eighth, struck out the next two batters, then allowed Lee’s second homer before finishing for his fifth save in five chances.
Everett’s RBI single on a flyball to center field in the eighth pushed Houston’s lead to 13-10.
Roy Oswalt (3-0) won his sixth straight decision, allowing six runs—four earned—and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings.
The Astros led 5-2 in the third when Everett drove in two runs with a ground-rule double. Oswalt chased Davis in the second with a 2-RBI single to center field.
Biggio’s home run was his 45th career leadoff home run and gave him sole possession of second place behind Rickey Henderson’s 80.
The win improves Houston’s record to 10-4, tying the club’s best start through 14 games.
Gross’ home run marked the second straight day that he had a pinch hit homer. … Oswalt’s three RBIs this season is one more than he had last year. … Lee has hit safely in 12 of his 14 games this year and leads the team in with eight home runs. … Lidge has recorded saves in the last three games.