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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS / NATIONAL LEAGUE | HOUSTON ASTROS
VS. SAN DIEGO PADRES REPORT : NOTES

Astros Find Suitable Name for This Victory Over Padres: Finally

October 02, 1998|ROSS NEWHAN

The Houston Astros' Killer Bs had been hearing so much about what they had not been doing during their short postseason experience that they opted to use aliases Thursday. Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, at least.

Actually, according to Bill Spiers, the idea was that of Jack Howell, the Astro utility man.

"Biggio was saying he wanted to change his last name before the game because everybody was talking about them not getting any hits," Spiers said. "So Jack Howell said, 'why don't you change it to Craig Howell?' and Biggio said, 'that's it, I'll be Craig Howell today.' "

Said Craig Howell, a.k.a. Biggio, later: "That's right, and Bags was Mantle, and he hit like him today."

Said Jeff Mantle, a.k.a. Bagwell: "They started it, so I decided to take it a step higher. Mantle was a pretty good hitter in October, wasn't he?

By any name, so were the Bs in Houston's 5-4 victory in Game 2. Biggio walked, singled and scored two runs. Bagwell had a two run single.

And Derek Bell--"he didn't have to change his name because there aren't any killer Bs if there is only one," Bagwell said--hammered a solo homer.

The Bs were two for 37 in last year's three-game division series sweep by Atlanta and 0 for 10 in San Diego's Game 1 victory on Tuesday.

"Whose fault is it [when we lose]?" Bagwell said Thursday. "This is not about just us, it's about all of us.

"This team is plenty good enough to win without two or three of us hitting."

However, he knows the reality.

"If we win, maybe it will be the end of the story," Bagwell said. "If we don't, it'll still be all about the Killer Bs."

*

Houston Manager Larry Dierker would rather play today than draw the second off day in a three-day span.

"I don't like this format," he said. "I'd rather play because the Padres have got some guys who are banged up and I think we're physically stronger. Not stronger lifting weights, but in terms of guys that can go every day and play all out every day. This gives them a chance to recuperate and we don't need a chance to recuperate."

*

No one is pleased with the TV-orchestrated 8 p.m. starting time of Game 3 in San Diego on Saturday night.

"It's ridiculous," Padre General Manager Kevin Towers said. "Would another sport do this? Is anybody going to watch a division series game at 11 o'clock in New York? I'd have preferred prime time nationally, but what it basically tells you is that Houston and San Diego are not the most attractive baseball markets. The only good thing for our fans is that they'll be able to watch almost all of the college football games and still see our game."

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