1969: Padres, Astros Split Doubleheader

July 6, 1969, San Diego: Astros 3, Padres 2 (box score); Padres 1, Astros 0 (box score)

Jim Ray got the start for Houston in the opener. The Padres countered with rookie left-hander Dave Roberts, just up from Double-A Elmira, where he was 7-5 with a 3.50 ERA in 15 games.

Originally signed by the Philadelphia Phillies, Roberts had made stops in the Pirates and A’s organizations before being selected in the expansion draft and making his big-league debut in San Diego. His first start was a dandy.

Houston scored an unearned run in the third when Cito Gaston couldn’t hold onto a fly ball off the bat of Jimmy Wynn. The Padres came back to tie the next inning on singles by John Sipin, Ollie Brown, and Van Kelly.

In the sixth, San Diego took its first (and only) lead. With runners at first and second, and two out, Gaston singled to right, driving home Al Ferrara to make the score 2-1.

The Padres’ defense broke down again in the eighth. With runners at the corners and one out, right-hander Gary Ross came on to face Doug Rader, who grounded to second base. Jose Arcia, inserted into the game that inning, made an error on the play, allowing both runners to score and give the Astros a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish.

The second game featured pitching and lots of it. Jack Billingham and Dick Kelley gave up five hits between them.

The Padres pulled out the victory in the ninth. Sipin led off the inning with a single to left. A sacrifice bunt by Brown bunt moved him to second. After Nate Colbert struck out, Larry Stahl was intentionally walked to bring up Arcia. Ed Spiezio batted for Arcia, knocking a single to center and driving home Sipin for the game’s only run.

Kelley went the distance for his fourth win of the season. He allowed just one hit in the process — an infield single to Dennis Menke with one out in the second.

Trivia: Yet another way in which the game has changed since 1969: Denny Lemaster saved the first game for Houston, just one day after he started against the Padres.

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.