HOUSTON (AP) -- Gregg Zaun saved his first career grand slam for
a dramatic moment.
Zaun, pinch-hitting, connected on an 0-2 pitch in the bottom of
the ninth inning for his first career slam, hitting a drive over
the right-field wall to give the Houston Astros a 7-4 win over
Byung-Hyun Kim and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"It's just an unbelievable feeling,'' Zaun said. "Those guys
are the New York Yankees of this league. And to beat them like this
and to get a grand slam was great.''
Kim (3-1) blew his second straight save chance, two days after
giving up a pair of homers against the Astros.
This time, he retired his first batter, Jose Vizcaino, on a
close play. Houston manager Jimy Williams was ejected by first-base
umpire Laz Diaz for arguing the call.
Zaun wasn't sure of the homer as he watched right fielder
Quinton McCracken go back steadily is if he was going to catch it.
But the ball landed four rows up.
"Actually I was kind of scared,'' Zaun said. "I looked up and
the right fielder looked like he had a bead on it. I was just
hoping and praying.''
Williams praised Octavio Dotel (4-3), who pitched two scoreless
"It certainly was a good win,'' Williams said. "It doesn't
happen that way very often. Dotel pitched two strong innings. I
normally don't like to bring him in to pitch like that but he was
The Diamondbacks were surprised Kim had two such bad outings in
"BK has been so good, we've come to think that he was
automatic,'' said Craig Counsell, who tied a career high with four
RBI. "When you think of a closer losing a game, it makes you more
disappointed because you don't expect it. That's why that job is
such a tough job.''
Arizona starter Rick Helling pitched seven innings and allowed
three runs, just one of which was earned. Helling struck out six
and walked none, and was in line to win his fourth straight
"The last half dozen starts he has pitched extremely well,''
Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly said. "If he continues to pitch
like that, he'll be fine.''
Counsell finished 3-for-5 and was 5-for-10 in the three-game
Berkman hit his 23rd home run of the season, giving him his
NL-leading 64th RBI, in the fourth.
Houston tied it at 3 in the fifth on Brad Ausmus' two-run homer.
Houston's Nelson Cruz made his first start in nearly three
years, in place of Carlos Hernandez, who had to miss his turn in
the rotation due to stiffness in his left shoulder. Cruz gave up
three runs on seven hits and a walk in 3 2-3 innings. He struck out
Counsell hit a two-run double in the second inning, and followed
that with an RBI single in the fourth to give Arizona a 3-0 lead.
Counsell has had four RBI two other times, the last coming
April 16, 1998, against Philadelphia when he was playing for the
Florida Marlins. ... Houston is hitting .288 at home but is a
dismal .226 in road games. The Astros are 12-25 on the road. ...
Junior Spivey singled in the first inning to extend his hitting
streak to 11 games. ... McCracken extended his hitting streak to 10
games in the second. He is hitting 20-for-41 in that span.