A gritty catcher from Seton Hall University named Craig Biggio was the first overall pick of the Houston Astros in the June 1987 draft. The Astros had been searching for a replacement for veteran Alan Ashby for several years and the young New Yorker made a beeline through the minor league system, making his first appearance with the parent club just over a year later on June 26, 1988. His first hit came off Dodger ace Orel Hershiser during that pitcher's Cy Young Award winning season.
His first home run came against another star pitcher - one who might welcome him into the membership at Cooperstown someday. Rich "Goose" Gossage was a nine-time All-Star in his 16th major league season. The flamethrowing righthander with the thick moustache and menacing scowl must have been an intimidating sight to a young rookie but Biggio proved he was up to the challenge.
An Eerie Night
The scene was an eerie one for baseball purists. After 70 years, stadium lights had come to Chicago's Wrigley Field. Locals had fought the playing of night games at Wrigley, fearing the impact on neighborhoods altered by waves of fans marching through the nighttime streets on their way to the "Friendly Confines".
The Cubs were allowed to play a limited number of night games at Wrigley, the first one coming in early August. The game against the Phillies was rained out before it could become official. The next night's game, against the Mets, became the first official night game in Wrigley's history although it lacked some of the hoopla that took place the previous evening. The Astros would play just the second official night game and the look of ivy walls at night still seemed peculiar to many a Cub fan.
Houston entered the Monday night contest in a tie for second place in the National League West at 67-57 with the San Francisco Giants, just 5-1/2 games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs were stuck in fourth place in the National League East, one game under .500 at 60-61.
Big Night For Berryhill
In a duel of former Cy Young Award winners, Mike Scott was touched first, allowing a two-run homer to Damon Berryhill in the bottom of the second. But the Astros quickly answered with four runs in the third off Chicago's Rick Sutcliffe, keyed by consecutive doubles from Alex Trevino, Scott and Gerald Young. Ryne Sandberg tripled and scored in the bottom of the third to narrow the margin to 4-3.
There it stayed until the bottom of the eighth when Joaquin Andujar entered in relief of Scott. After a single and an error, Berryhill launched his second homer of the night to give the Cubs a 6-4 lead. Suddenly, Cub fans didn't find night baseball so objectionable.
Gossage came in to nail down the game but put two runners aboard before Rafael Ramirez plated them with a ground ball single up the middle to tie the score. Lefty Juan Agosto shut the Cubs down in order to send the contest to extra innings.
From Off The Bench
Biggio, who entered the game in the bottom of the ninth after Denny Walling pinch-hit for Trevino, stepped in against Gossage to start the top of the 10th. On an 0-1 fastball, Biggio launched a drive into the Chicago night, landing in the bleachers in left-center to give the Astros a 7-6 lead.
Gossage left to boos from the home fans who got even rowdier when his replacement, Drew Hall, surrendered two more runs for a 9-6 deficit. Those runs were critical as Chicago managed an unearned run in the bottom of the 10th to make the final score 9-7, Houston.
Agosto also set a milestone, becoming the first Astro pitcher to boast a 10-0 record to start a season, all of the wins in relief. The Astros closed within four games of the Dodgers before fading down the stretch to finish at 82-80, 12-1/2 games behind the Dodgers.
Even so, they found a catcher who could handle the job in Houston for a long time to come. Or so they thought then.
CHICAGO - Craig Biggio, who at times this month wondered if anyone realized he was still around, made his presence felt in a large way Monday night.
Biggio hit his first major-league home run in the 10th inning as the Astros beat Chicago 9-7. Biggio, the Astros' rookie backup catcher, had batted only twice in the last two weeks and six times in August before his game-winning homer off Goose Gossage.
Juan Agosto continued to be the Astros' good-luck charm. He pitched the final two innings and raised his record to 10-0. The 10 consecutive wins break a club record set by Joe Niekro in 1979. It's also the longest winning streak in the majors this season.
The Astros tied the game in the ninth off Gossage on a stirring rally. Trailing 6-4 and down to their last strike twice, Billy Hatcher doubled to put two runners in scoring position and Rafael Ramirez singled up the middle to tie the game.
The Cubs had taken the two-run lead in the eighth when Damon Berryhill, their rookie catcher, hit his second home run of the game. Joaquin Andujar, who had relieved Mike Scott to start the inning, gave up the three-run homer, and the Astros appeared beaten.
But Gossage, who was loudly booed when he came on, couldn't get out of the ninth or 10th unscathed, when the Astros scored three off Gossage and Drew Hall.
After scoring 10 runs in the first six games of this trip, the Astros nearly equaled that total in one game. They had 13 hits, seven of them in the final two innings.
The second official night game in Wrigley Field history had a strange ending. With runners on first and third, Shawon Dunston appeared to end the game with a fly ball to center.
However, first base umpire Gerry Davis called a balk to make it 9-7 and keep the game going. Catcher Alex Trevino, who was replaced by Biggio in the ninth, was ejected from the dugout by Davis. But Trevino jumped from the dugout and had to be restrained by Manager Hal Lanier.
As Lanier went back into the dugout, he and first base coach Matt Galante got into a shouting match with a fan behind the Astros' dugout before Agosto got Dunston to ground out, ending the game.
After the first six Astros went down without getting a ball out of the infield, the Cubs took a 2-0 lead on Berryhill's fly ball that got sucked into the wind and carried over the fence in left.
Those two runs equaled the number Scott had allowed in his previous 25 innings.
Something obviously got into the Astros in the third. What it was isn't exactly clear, but after a week of struggling to put two hits together in an inning, they struck for five.
In fact, five of the first six batters reached Sutcliffe for a hit. The only out was made by Bill Doran, who bunted a runner up for a sacrifice.
Ramirez and Alex Trevino, two of the Astros who haven't gone into the hitting coma, started things off. Ramirez singled, and Trevino, who came into the series 6 for 17 in the first six games of the road trip, doubled into the right-field corner.
With runners at second and third, Scott, who was 5 for 59 on the season, lashed a double into left-field corner to tie the game at 2. Gerald Young's looping fly ball fell in front of left fielder Rafael Palmeiro for the Astros' third successive double.
Up 3-2, the Astros pressed on. Doran moved Young up with a bunt, and Terry Puhl's single made it a two-run lead. But just as suddenly, the Astros' offense went back into the stall mode.
CHICAGO - Ho-hum, just another night at Wrigley Field.
In the second official night game at the venerable old ballpark, the Astros overcame a two-run deficit with two outs in the ninth to beat the Cubs 9-7 in 10 innings.
And that doesn't begin to describe Monday's dizzy events on a drizzly night under the lights.
For starters, rookie backup catcher Craig Biggio, the Astros' forgotten man the last three weeks, led off the 10th with his first major-league home run.
The no-doubt homer into the left-field seats off loser Goose Gossage snapped a tie at 6.
"Well, this sure is strange," said Biggio, who had six at bats in August. "You guys (media) are coming over to talk to me with your note pads open. I can't tell you how much this (homer) does for my confidence."
With good reason. Biggio, who entered the game in the ninth after Alex Trevino was lifted for a pinch hitter, helped the Astros win their second successive extra-inning game despite being without injured relief ace Dave Smith.
The winning pitcher?
Need you really ask?
Juan Agosto, whose presence on the mound has become a harbinger of victory for the Astros, pitched the final two innings and raised his record to 10-0.
The 10-game winning streak breaks Joe Niekro's club record of nine set in 1979 and is the longest in the majors this season.
"What can I say? These guys must love me," said Agosto. "I go in there, and they explode."
In the top of the ninth, the Astros trailed 6-4 and twice were down to their last strike against Gossage. Billy Hatcher doubled to put two runners in scoring position, and Rafael Ramirez singled up the middle to tie the game.
"I like that situation," said Ramirez. "I like the way we've been playing the last two days, too."
Manager Hal Lanier liked the way the Astros hit. After scoring 10 runs in the first six games of this trip, they nearly equaled that total in one game. They had 13 hits, seven of them in the final two innings.
"When you come to Chicago, you know you're going to have to score runs," said Lanier. "That was really encouraging to come back the way we did tonight."
The Cubs had taken a 6-4 lead in the eighth when Damon Berryhill, their rookie catcher, hit his second home run of the game. Joaquin Andujar, who had relieved Mike Scott to start the inning, gave up the three-run homer, and the Astros appeared beaten.
But Gossage, who was booed loudly when he came on, couldn't get out of the ninth or 10th unscathed when the Astros scored three off Gossage and Drew Hall.
Even the finish of this game had a strange ending. With runners on first and third, Shawon Dunston appeared to end the game with a fly ball to center.
However, first base umpire Gerry Davis called a balk to make it 9-7 and keep the game going. Catcher Alex Trevino, who was replaced by Biggio in the ninth, was ejected from the dugout by Davis. Trevino leaped out of the dugout and had to be restrained by Lanier.
As Lanier went back to the dugout, he was hit by a cup and splashed by liquid. He and first base coach Matt Galante got into a shouting match with a fan behind the Astros' dugout.
After all that, Agosto got Dunston to ground out, finally ending the game.
"I'm not saying Juan didn't balk, but Gossage balks eight out of 10 times and they never call it. It should work both way," said Lanier. "As far as the guy I pointed to, I just wanted to let him know he could come down and get me if he wanted."
That wasn't the first run-in the Astros had with the umpires. The other involved another controversy with Scott and his alleged scuffing of the baseball.
After Scott got a 1-2 count on Cubs third baseman Vance Law in the third inning, Law asked home plate umpire Terry Tata to check the baseball. It appeared Tata was about to throw the ball back to Scott when Law pointed to something he saw on the ball.
Tata obviously saw something, too, because he walked toward Scott as Lanier raced to the mound. Tata asked Scott for his glove, checked it and returned it to him.
"A player can ask an umpire to check a ball, but he shouldn't be looking at it and pointing to it," said Lanier. "Since when does the umpire show the ball to the batter?"
Said Law: "It did a funny thing when it went across home plate. I just asked him to check the ball, and he checked it. I was looking at it, too, and I saw a scuff. I said, `There's a scuff right there."'
After Lanier and Tata engaged in what developed into a heated argument, crew chief Bruce Froemming came in and told Lanier that if he saw another ball he believed had been marked, Scott was finished for the game.
"To me, the mark on the ball looked like green, like it had hit the grass," said Lanier. "Once again, they looked in his glove and didn't find a thing."
By then, Scott and Cubs starter Rick Sutcliffe had been touched for seven runs and 11 hits. Berryhill hit a fly ball that got caught up in the wind and landed in the left-field bleachers to make it 2-0 in the second.
Those two runs equaled the number Scott had allowed in his previous 25 innings.
Something got into the Astros in the third. What it was isn't exactly clear, but after a week of struggling to put two hits together in an inning, they struck for four runs on five hits.
Included was a two-run double by Scott, of all people, who was hitting .085 at the time.
After Terry Puhl's single made it 4-2, the next 15 Astros were retired by Sutcliffe and reliever Frank DiPino.
Scott, working on three days' rest, gave up a run in the third but left the game ahead 4-3 when he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth.
Andujar, the Astros' reluctant reliever, deserved better, but he couldn't hold the lead.
Andre Dawson led off with a looping single just over Doran's head into right field. One out later, Andujar got Law to hit a potential double-play ball to third baseman Buddy Bell.
But the ball skipped off Bell's glove for an error, keeping the inning alive. Once again, Berryhill lofted a fly ball to left that kept carrying. It landed in the first row of the bleachers, adding to Andujar's misery.
Ramirez and Biggio wiped all the Astros' hurt away on a long, weird night at Wrigley Field.
"Maybe somebody didn't want night baseball to be played here," said Scott.
Puhl was thrown out stealing, and Glenn Davis was called out on strikes to begin a run of 15 consecutive Astros retired by Chicago pitchers.
Scott, who didn't look sharp in the early going, then quickly gave back one of the runs in the third - an inning in which Cubs third baseman Vance Law raised a question about what Scott was doing to the baseball.
Ryne Sandberg led off with a triple to dead center. Young nearly made what would have been an excellent catch, but the ball just got over his glove.
Mark Grace's infield grounder brought home Sandberg to cut the lead to 4-3. Though the Cubs didn't score again, the inning was far from uneventful. After two outs, Palmeiro singled and stole second.
After Scott got a 1-2 count on Law, Law asked home plate umpire Terry Tata to check the baseball. It appeared Tata was about to throw the ball back to Scott, when Law pointed to something he saw on the ball.
Meanwhile, Lanier and Tata engaged in what developed into a heated argument. Cubs Manager Don Zimmer got the ear of third base umpire Bruce Froemming.
When that broke up, Froemming came down to get in the Lanier-Tata discussion. Lanier and Froemming then got into it. After everything died down, Scott struck out Law to end the inning.
Houston Astros 9, Chicago Cubs 7
Game Played on Monday, August 22, 1988 (N) at Wrigley FieldHOU N 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 - 9 13 3 CHI N 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 1 - 7 10 1BATTINGHouston Astros AB R H RBI BB SO PO A Young cf 5 2 3 1 0 0 3 0 Doran 2b 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 7 Puhl rf 3 0 1 1 0 1 4 0 Bass ph,rf 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 Davis 1b 5 0 1 1 0 3 13 0 Bell 3b 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 Hatcher lf 5 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 Ramirez ss 4 1 2 2 0 0 3 3 Trevino c 3 1 1 0 0 0 5 0 Walling ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Agosto p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Scott p 2 1 1 2 0 1 0 1 Fishel ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 Andujar p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Biggio c 1 1 1 1 0 0 2 0 Totals 40 9 13 8 0 9 30 11FIELDING - E: Bell (10), Ramirez (19), Trevino (6).BATTING - 2B: Trevino (15,off Sutcliffe); Scott (1,off Sutcliffe); Young (16,off Sutcliffe); Hatcher (23,off Gossage). HR: Biggio (1,10th inning off Gossage 0 on 0 out). SH: Doran 2 (3,off Sutcliffe,off Hall). Team LOB: 3.BASERUNNING - CS: Puhl (3,2nd base by Sutcliffe/Berryhill); Davis (2,3rd base by Hall/Berryhill).Chicago Cubs AB R H RBI BB SO PO A Webster cf 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 Sandberg 2b 3 1 1 0 2 1 4 5 Grace 1b 5 0 0 1 0 1 12 1 Dawson rf 5 0 1 0 0 0 3 0 Palmeiro lf 5 2 2 0 0 1 1 0 Law 3b 5 2 0 0 0 1 1 3 Berryhill c 5 2 3 5 0 0 9 1 Dunston ss 5 0 2 0 0 1 0 3 Sutcliffe p 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 Varsho ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 DiPino p 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 Gossage p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Hall p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 Totals 42 7 10 6 2 5 30 16FIELDING - E: Webster (5).BATTING - 3B: Sandberg (7,off Scott). HR: Berryhill 2 (4,2nd inning off Scott 1 on 1 out,8th inning off Andujar 2 on 1 out). Team LOB: 7.BASERUNNING - SB: Palmeiro (9,2nd base off Scott/Trevino); Sandberg 2 (18,2nd base off Scott/Trevino 2).PITCHINGHouston Astros IP H R ER BB SO HR Scott 7 7 3 3 2 2 1 Andujar 1 2 3 2 0 1 1 Agosto W(10-0) 2 1 1 0 0 2 0 Totals 10 10 7 5 2 5 2BK: Agosto (4).Chicago Cubs IP H R ER BB SO HR Sutcliffe 7 5 4 4 0 5 0 DiPino 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 Gossage L(2-2) 1 4 3 3 0 1 1 Hall 1 3 2 1 0 1 0 Totals 10 13 9 8 0 9 1Gossage faced 1 batter in the 10th inningUmpires: HP - Terry Tata, 1B - Gerry Davis, 2B - Gary Darling, 3B - Bruce FroemmingTime of Game: 2:47 Attendance: 30417
Play by PlayStarting Lineups: Houston Astros Chicago Cubs 1. Young cf Webster cf 2. Doran 2b Sandberg 2b 3. Puhl rf Grace 1b 4. Davis 1b Dawson rf 5. Bell 3b Palmeiro lf 6. Hatcher lf Law 3b 7. Ramirez ss Berryhill c 8. Trevino c Dunston ss 9. Scott p Sutcliffe p ASTROS 1ST: Young grounded out (second to first); Doran struck out; Puhl struck out; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 0, Cubs 0. CUBS 1ST: On a bunt Webster singled to catcher [Webster to second (error by Trevino)]; Sandberg lined to right; Grace struck out; Dawson grounded out (shortstop to first); 0 R, 1 H, 1 E, 1 LOB. Astros 0, Cubs 0. ASTROS 2ND: Davis struck out; Bell grounded out (shortstop to first); Hatcher grounded out (first unassisted); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 0, Cubs 0. CUBS 2ND: Palmeiro singled to right; Law popped to catcher in foul territory; Berryhill homered [Palmeiro scored]; Dunston singled to third; Sutcliffe grounded out (second to first) [Dunston to second]; Webster flied out to right; 2 R, 3 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Astros 0, Cubs 2. ASTROS 3RD: Ramirez singled to center; Trevino doubled to right [Ramirez to third]; Scott doubled to left [Ramirez scored, Trevino scored]; Young doubled to left [Scott scored]; Doran out on a sacrifice bunt (pitcher to first) [Young to third]; Puhl singled to right [Young scored]; Puhl was caught stealing second (catcher to second); Davis was called out on strikes; 4 R, 5 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 4, Cubs 2. CUBS 3RD: Sandberg tripled to center; Grace grounded out (second to first) [Sandberg scored]; Dawson popped to catcher in foul territory; Palmeiro singled to left; Palmeiro stole second; Law struck out; 1 R, 2 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Astros 4, Cubs 3. ASTROS 4TH: Bell grounded out (second to first); Hatcher flied out to right; Ramirez grounded out (second to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 4, Cubs 3. CUBS 4TH: Berryhill grounded out (first unassisted); Dunston singled to shortstop; Sutcliffe grounded out (pitcher to first) [Dunston to second]; Webster flied out to right; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Astros 4, Cubs 3. ASTROS 5TH: Trevino grounded out (shortstop to first); Scott struck out; Young grounded out (second to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 4, Cubs 3. CUBS 5TH: Sandberg walked; Sandberg stole second; Grace grounded out (first unassisted) [Sandberg to third]; Dawson grounded out (shortstop to first); Palmeiro flied out to center; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Astros 4, Cubs 3. ASTROS 6TH: Doran flied out to right; Puhl grounded out (shortstop to first); Davis grounded out (third to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 4, Cubs 3. CUBS 6TH: Law flied out to center; Berryhill made an out to shortstop; Dunston lined to right; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 4, Cubs 3. ASTROS 7TH: Bell made an out to second; On a bunt Hatcher grounded out (third to first); Ramirez lined to right; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 4, Cubs 3. CUBS 7TH: VARSHO BATTED FOR SUTCLIFFE; Varsho grounded out (second to first); Webster grounded out (first unassisted); Sandberg walked; Sandberg stole second; Grace grounded out (second to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Astros 4, Cubs 3. ASTROS 8TH: DIPINO REPLACED VARSHO (PITCHING); Trevino grounded out (pitcher to first); FISHEL BATTED FOR SCOTT; Fishel was called out on strikes; Young singled to right; Doran struck out; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Astros 4, Cubs 3. CUBS 8TH: ANDUJAR REPLACED FISHEL (PITCHING); Dawson singled to center; Palmeiro forced Dawson (second to shortstop); Law reached on an error by Bell [Palmeiro to second]; Berryhill homered [Palmeiro scored, Law scored (unearned)]; Dunston struck out; DiPino grounded out (first unassisted); 3 R (2 ER), 2 H, 1 E, 0 LOB. Astros 4, Cubs 6. ASTROS 9TH: BASS BATTED FOR PUHL; GOSSAGE REPLACED DIPINO (PITCHING); Bass singled to right; Davis struck out; Bell forced Bass (third to second); Hatcher doubled to left [Bell to third]; Ramirez singled to center [Bell scored, Hatcher scored]; WALLING BATTED FOR TREVINO; Walling flied out to left; 2 R, 3 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Astros 6, Cubs 6. CUBS 9TH: BIGGIO REPLACED ANDUJAR (PLAYING C ); AGOSTO REPLACED WALLING (PITCHING); BASS STAYED IN GAME (PLAYING RF); Webster flied out to center; Sandberg struck out; Grace grounded out (second to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Astros 6, Cubs 6. ASTROS 10TH: Biggio homered; HALL REPLACED GOSSAGE (PITCHING); Young singled to center; Doran out on a sacrifice bunt (first to second) [Young to second]; Bass reached on an error by Webster [Young scored (no RBI), Bass to third]; Davis singled to right [Bass scored (unearned)]; Bell singled to left [Davis to second]; Davis was picked off and caught stealing third (pitcher to second to third) [Bell to second]; Hatcher struck out; 3 R (2 ER), 4 H, 1 E, 1 LOB. Astros 9, Cubs 6. CUBS 10TH: Dawson reached on an error by Ramirez; Palmeiro struck out; Law forced Dawson (second to shortstop); Berryhill singled to right [Law to third]; Agosto balked [Law scored (unearned), Berryhill to second]; Dunston grounded out (shortstop to first); 1 R (0 ER), 1 H, 1 E, 1 LOB. Astros 9, Cubs 7. Final Totals R H E LOB Astros 9 13 3 3 Cubs 7 10 1 7
Game data courtesy of Retrosheet