If Everett had been called safe, Luke Scott would have crossed the
plate with the game-tying run. Instead, the inning ended there, and the
Astros put themselves in deeper holes during each successive inning
through the seventh.
Now, they're in a 3 1/2-game hole for the Wild Card once again after
closing the gap to just a game and a half a couple of days ago.
"We've got a lot of good things going on right now," manager Phil
Garner said. "We would like to have gone ahead and, at least, win the
series while we're here at home, but we couldn't seal the deal, and now
we have to get back on track."
The Astros were indeed on track for a series win with a 1-0 lead in
hand during the early innings. Third baseman Mike Lamb kept that lead
intact after the third with a slick, inning-ending double play diving
to his right to escape a bases-loaded situation.
"I had some great plays behind me to keep me in this ballgame, that's
for sure," said right-hander Brandon Backe, who benefited from Lamb's
play. "It could have gotten ugly really quick, but it was a great play
by him to keep us in the ballgame."
Backe lost his grip on the one-run lead in the fourth, though. That
inning, he allowed a leadoff double to Gonzalez and hit Khalil Greene
with a pitch. Both of those players eventually scored after Backe
surrendered an RBI single and an RBI groundout.
Still, the Astros fought back in the their half of the fourth. Luke
Scott singled and moved over to third on a couple of groundouts, but
was left on base following Everett's bang-bang play at first.
"Clearly for me, he's safe," said Garner, whose club matched a season
high with 17 hits allowed. "So we did lose a run there. It might make a
difference because what you do in the middle part of the game might be
a bit differently, so that hurts."
The middle part of the game is where the Astros lost this one. Backe
put Mike Cameron and Gonzalez on base in the fifth, and nearly escaped
the inning after Everett stabbed Todd Walker's hard grounder with a
dive at short.
Unfortunately, second-base umpire Bill Welke ruled Gonzalez safe at
second following Everett's toss to Chris Burke. And that put Backe in
yet another bases-loaded situation.
"I thought we got out of the inning," said Everett, who also launched a
solo homer Sunday into the Crawford Boxes. "It's unbelievable, the
matter of inches."
Those inches cost Backe a third run, because he walked Geoff Blum to
plate Cameron and put his club down by two.
"It was a very tough game for me," Backe said. "Every inning I had
somebody on base. It was pretty much the toughest five innings I've
Relievers Russ Springer and Trever Miller won't include their
appearances Sunday among their best, either. Springer allowed a
two-run homer to Cameron and a solo shot to Josh Bard, while Miller
surrendered a run on four hits in an inning.
Despite those efforts, Garner found something to be pleased about
"Nobody got hurt, the best I can tell, so that's one positive," he said.
"We had some bruised egos, I'm sure."