The way he's hitting, it may soon be time to make Chris Burke an official member of the Astros' "Killer B's."Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, who have played together in Houston for 14 years, are the original "Killer B's," and over the years Derek Bell, Carlos Beltran and Lance Berkman have been part of the run producers' fraternity. "He's been phenomenal," Biggio said of Burke following the Astros' 4-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday. "He has not had a chance to play much the in postseason but two home runs in consecutive at-bats and tonight coming through with a big hit, he's played great left field for us." Burke, 25, was a platoon player during the regular season, when he hit just .248. But in the postseason he's had five hits in eight at-bats, including two homers, a triple and a double, as well as four runs and four RBIs. His most memorable hit was the 18th-inning homer he slugged in Game 4 of the NLDS against Atlanta that sent Houston to the NLCS. On Thursday Burke got a chance to start, and he responded with a triple to center in the second inning. He eventually scored the first run of the game on a passed ball. He also hit a two-out single in the eighth to knock in a run, and he eventually scored on Adam Everett's triple. Burke is among those who are surprised by his sudden offensive outburst. The home runs are especially out of character, given that in 335 regular-season at-bats, the former two-time All-American from the University of Tennessee has hit just five homers in the Major Leagues. "I'd say probably nobody is more surprised than I am," Burke said. "At the same time, you know, I've been in favorable counts and I've got good pitches. I think every player, especially at this level expects themselves to do something when they get a good pitch to hit, and luckily for me, they have gone out of the park." But Burke admits that he likes the challenge of making the big play, whether it's at the plate or in the field. And he's not about to shy away from trying to do it, despite the situation or importance of the game. "My personal opinion on any game or any sport is that the most fun is when it comes down to a certain play, whether it be you and I are bowling or playing golf or shooting hoops or whatever it is. I just feel like that's the fun part of any game," he explained. For now, Burke is enjoying his new fame and the wisecracks of his teammates. "It's been fun. We have a pretty loose clubhouse," he said. "You'd better be able to take some ribbing or you probably won't have much fun in our clubhouse. Everybody jokes and laughs and this type of opportunity is a great spot for guys to give a lot of good-hearted ribbing."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.