Lee quietly reaches hits milestone

Lee quietly reaches hits milestone

SAN DIEGO -- For someone with so many impressive numbers, it might surprise some people that Carlos Lee doesn't keep track of them.

Lee notched his 1,500th hit Wednesday when he hit his first home run of the season -- a solo blast off Greg Maddux in the top of the sixth inning.

That home run also enabled him to become the all-time leader among Panama-born players in RBIs (902), surpassing Ben Oglivie.

Some Lee fans might recall that Lee's first Major League hit was a home run in his first at-bat with the White Sox on May 7, 1999, against the Oakland A's.

"I remember that at-bat," said Lee on Thursday morning. "I was facing Tom Candiotti, the knuckleballer. I got down two strikes and all I was thinking was, 'Don't strike out.' And I was just lucky to connect."

Asked whether he knew he had 1,498 hits coming into the season, Lee said, "I don't track numbers."

But the 31-year-old left fielder has plenty of numbers for others to ponder.

Lee has recorded six consecutive seasons of 25 or more home runs, including 32 in his first season with the Astros last year, during which he played all 162 games.

Since 2003, Lee ranks 12th in the Majors with 164 home runs and fifth with 562 RBIs.

Lee hits in the cleanup spot for the Astros and likes his team's lineup.

"Our lineup one through eight can compete with anyone in the National League," said Lee. "I think the best lineup I was in was when I was with Chicago. Of course, we had one through nine there and I batted fifth."

The Astros became the second visiting team to hit four home runs at PETCO Park on Wednesday with Geoff Blum and Ty Wigginton going back-to-back off Maddux in the second and, of course, Lance Berkman taking Trevor Hoffman deep for his three-run shot in the ninth.

"This is a big ballpark, but all those homers were hit pretty hard," said Lee.

Sandy Burgin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.