1969: Wilson Shuts Down Padres

June 19, 1969, Houston: Astros 4, Padres 2 (box score)

The Astros, returning home after a six-game jaunt to St. Louis and Atlanta, got to Al Santorini early in this one. In the second inning, Santorini served up singles to the first three batters he faced, resulting in a 1-0 lead for the home team. A grounder to short and fly to center later, and the score was 3-0.

The Padres scored their first run in the fourth. Al Ferrara and Ed Spiezio led off with singles. After Cito Gaston and Chris Cannizzaro were called out on strikes, Tommy Dean singled home Ferrara. Santorini then struck out to end the frame.

San Diego had another golden opportunity in the sixth. Ferrara started the inning with a double to left and advanced to third on a Don Wilson wild pitch. Spiezio then struck out and Gaston walked, bringing up Cannizzaro. The Padres catcher singled to left, plating Ferrara and cutting the Astros’ lead to 3-2. Gaston and Cannizzarro both moved up 90 feet on the play courtesy of an error by left fielder Sandy Valdespino.

Larry Stahl, batting for Dean, was issued an intentional walk to load the bases for the pitcher’s spot. John Sipin pinch hit for Santorini and struck out. Van Kelly then grounded to first to get Wilson out of the jam without further damage.

The Astros added a run in the seventh off reliever Billy McCool and held on to win, 4-2. Wilson went the distance, striking out 11 Padres in the process. San Diego, meanwhile, found itself in full free fall. The Padres had lost 12 of 14 and had just embarked on what would become their longest losing streak of the season.

Trivia: Houston third baseman Doug Rader spent 1976 and part of 1977 as the Padres’ starter at the hot corner.

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