"It's always nice to come through for your team," Ausmus said.
"It's even nicer to get a win. I don't have a lot of days like that
[where he sees the ball well]. They're enjoyable when they come
Everett doubled with one out in the 11th to set up the winning hit.
"It makes us feel really good," Everett said of the win. "Any time we can contribute [at the bottom of the order], that's nice. Lots
of times you get caught up in what the big guns are doing at the top of
the order, but we can win games just as easily as they can. We finally
put some good at-bats together and won the game."
It looked like it might come much easier for the Astros for much of the
night. After Ausmus homered off the left-field foul pole -- his first
of the year -- in the fourth, the Astros had a 4-3 lead and seemed in
command with strong pitching from Oswalt, Trever Miller and Dan
But in Lidge's first opportunity to shut the door in his new stint as
the closer, he hung an 0-2 slider to Mark Kotsay, who led off the
ninth by yanking it into the right-field bleachers for a home run to
tie the game.
"I was surprised," manager Phil Garner said of Lidge's mistake.
"He's been throwing so well. But he has to stay on task and stay
within himself. He got overamped and tried to make a superhuman slider,
when he only had to throw a nice one. He flew open, and when he does
that, his arm drops down, the ball goes up and it doesn't have much on
Mark Ellis followed with a double down the right-field line and advanced
to third base as the go-ahead run with no one out and the heart of the
Oakland order batting.
It seemed the classic setup for a Lidge meltdown. Instead, Lidge
buckled down and pitched like the dominant reliever he's been for much of
the year, striking out Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez in succession and
inducing a weak popout to shortstop from Bobby Crosby to end the inning,
stranding the potential winning run at third.
"I was real happy to come back," Lidge said. "With the [go-ahead]
runner on third and nobody out, I knew it was going to take some real
work. But I relied on what I've been doing and I was able to get those
"I still feel locked in, so I didn't want to change anything. I
just wanted to keep doing what I've been doing all year and not get out
of my game plan. I was real happy with how the inning ended and happy we
were able to come back and get a win."
Dave Borkowski (1-0) pitched two tremendous innings in the 10th and 11th and
picked up the win, striking out the side in the latter inning and
keeping the game tied before Ausmus delivered.
"[Oakland] notoriously takes pitches," Borkowski said. "You've
got to get ahead of them and get a couple of strikes on them, so now
they have to swing at your pitch. The whole object is to get ahead of
them and kind of turn the table on them and make them aggressive."
Oswalt got in trouble in the second inning, when Oakland starter Joe
Kennedy helped his own cause by drilling a two-out, two-run
double to deep center to put the A's in front again, 2-1. Two
batters later, Ellis singled in Kennedy to extend the lead.
But Oswalt took charge after that, striking out a season-best 10
and holding the Oakland offense scoreless for the remainder of his six
"In the second inning, I gave up too many walks, and then the pitcher
had the hardest hit of the night," Oswalt said. "But I was able to
stay in there and get in rhythm. I hadn't had my curveball [in a
while], and it feels good when you have it."
Craig Biggio rebounded from his slow start to June with a 3-for-5
performance, including a double. He scored the game's first run when he
scored on a first-inning sacrifice fly from Lee. The three hits raised
his career hit total to 2,983, just 17 short of 3,000.
Before the game, Berkman dropped the appeal of his two-game suspension
and served the first of it Tuesday night. Counting the two games
when he was ejected early, the Astros are now 3-0 in games when the
first baseman misses time because of discipline issues.
"We're going to appeal the suspension and see if it can last
longer," Garner joked after the game.
Kennedy allowed four runs on six hits
in five innings, squandering the 3-1 lead given to him early on. Kotsay
led the way for the Oakland offense, going 4-for-5 with a double and
the home run.