"I'm excited," Wigginton said. "I loved leading off in college. I led off regularly my junior year -- at least 30, 40 games."
But that was 10 years ago, and since then, Wigginton had never started a game batting leadoff at any level of his professional career. In fact, he had only hit in the No. 1 spot once during a game, and that was nearly six years ago when he pinch-hit in the top of the sixth inning.
Cooper's decision to hit Wigginton leadoff was certainly unconventional, but the skipper had a strategy -- Wigginton, Mark Loretta and Lance Berkman all have very good on-base percentages against left-handed pitchers. So he put all three at the top of the order against Braves lefty Jo-Jo Reyes, with the hope they'd create some traffic for Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada.
"Four times a night, it's a chance to get some guys on in front of Carlos and Miguel," Cooper said. "Do it a couple times over the course of a night, and we have a chance to get four or five runs."
The Astros scored four runs within the first two innings on Saturday. Loretta reached on a walk in the first frame and scored on Lee's RBI single, and Tejada followed with a base hit, which scored Lee. In the second inning, Brad Ausmus singled and moved to second on pitcher Chris Sampson's bunt, and after Wigginton drew a walk, Loretta drove both in with a double to right-center.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.