HOUSTON (AP) -- Ryan Klesko said it's not the park, just good timing.
Klesko hit his eighth career grand slam and matched his career
high with six RBI to lead the San Diego Padres to an 11-6 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.Klesko had his second six-RBI game at Houston, also doing it May 21, 2001, and improved his career average to .345 against the Astros."I don't really know why I've hit so well here,'' Klesko said.
"I think it's just that I happen to be swinging the bat well when
I come in here. The last couple of times I've been here, I came in
on a hot streak."It's not the park, although it's a beautiful place. I see the ball well here. But it's mainly that I've been swinging the bat well lately.''Phil Nevin tied a career high with four hits and drove in two runs, including an RBI single in a seven-run seventh inning.Jeff Bagwell had three hits and two RBI for the Astros, who fell 3½ games behind St. Louis in the NL Central.Manager Bruce Bochy couldn't explain Klesko's hitting in Minute
Maid Park either."I wish I could tell you,'' Bochy said. "It's something that's hard to explain. I don't know if he sees it well here or what. But, knock on wood, I hope he continues.''Astros manager Jimy Williams was impressed that Klesko hit the
home run on a full count.
"And he got his first hit on a two-strike count but that's why
he's as good as he is,'' Williams said. "He's a solid two-strike
hitter.'' With the score tied at 4, the Padres broke the game open in the
seventh. Bubba Trammell, Deivi Cruz and Wiki Gonzalez opened the
innings with singles off Dave Mlicki (4-10) to make it 5-4.After Mlicki hit Gene Kingsale with a pitch, Pedro Borbon came
on and allowed a sacrifice fly to Mark Kotsay. Nevin's single made
it 7-4 before Klesko's 24th homer off Nelson Cruz put the game away."You have to go after him,'' Cruz said. "He's going to play here every year and he's going to be comfortable here. I can't think too much and walk him with the bases loaded."I went after him with my best pitch and he beat me. It was a changeup away. I don't face him that much, maybe once. But I just have to throw my best stuff.''Jeremy Fikac (4-6) pitched a perfect sixth inning for the win.Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman hit consecutive home runs to
start the bottom of the seventh for Houston to cut it to 11-6. Klesko's double to the right-field corner drove in the Padres'
first run in the first inning.Houston answered in the bottom half with three runs on an RBI
double by Bagwell, an RBI single by Jose Vizcaino and a sacrifice
fly by Jason Lane. In the third, Klesko had another run-scoring single and Deivi
Cruz had a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 3 and knock out starter
Carlos Hernandez.Nevin's single down the left-field line drove in Mark Kotsay in
the fourth inning for a 4-3 lead. Bagwell hit his 25th home run of the season in the fifth to tie
it again at 4. Padres starter Mike Bynum allowed four runs, five hits and five
walks in five innings.Hernandez gave up three runs, four hits and four walks in 2 1/3 innings.
Nevin has had four hits four other times, the most recent April 15 against the Giants. ... It was the fifth grand slam of the year for the Padres. ... Biggio and Berkman's homers were the
seventh time this season the Astros have hit back-to-back homers.