ATLANTA -- The Houston Astros were hoping to get the start of a lifetime
from Shane Reynolds.
Instead, they got the shortest postseason outing by an Astros
pitcher in franchise history.
Reynolds lasted only four innings in a 6-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves in
game three of the Division Series, a game the
Astros had to win in order to stay alive in the playoffs and force a Game
But a two-run homer by former Astro Paul Bako in the second inning gave
the Braves the early lead, and although Daryle
Ward's pinch-hit, two-run shot in the seventh narrowed Houston's deficit to
4-2, the Astros were silenced for good when
Chipper Jones added another two-run homer in the eighth off Octavio Dotel to
put the game out of reach.
"Granted, I'm frustrated at this point as much as anybody," Reynolds
said. "Going out there and letting them get ahead,
it's tough to battle back in any situation, but especially in a game like
this against (the Braves) and their pitching."
"Granted, I'm frustrated at this point as much as anybody. Going out there and letting them get ahead, it's tough to battle back in any situation, but especially in a game like this against (the Braves) and their pitching."
--Astros pitcher Shane Reynolds.
"Shane wasn't horrible, but he certainly wasn't his best," Manager Larry
Dierker said. "Probably the first indication of
that was when Bako was hitting with first base open. We elected, as we
almost always do, to try to get the eighth hitter out
so we can start the next inning with the pitcher."
The Astros' strategy may have backfired because of Bako's familiarity
with his former manager's philosophies.
"Playing for Dierker, I know he doesn't like to pitch around the eighth
hitter," the Braves' catcher said. "So I knew I
was going to get something to hit."
Bako's homer took Dierker somewhat by surprise.
"I realize sometimes when you do that the guy's gonna get a hit and drive
in that run. I think this is the first time in
five years where the guy's hit a home run."
Dierker was a bit miffed at Reynolds' pitch selection in that particular
Shane Reynolds battled, but his effort wasn't enough for the Astros to stave off elimination.
"With all the experience Shane has and the kind of control he's got, I'm
just dumbfounded that he made a pitch the guy
could hit out of the park," he said. "Particularly with two strikes in the
Dierker targeted Bako's home run as the turning point of the game.
If (Reynolds) had thrown the ball down around the ankles or up around the
shoulders and (Bako) managed to get a hit off
it, then you just tip your cap," he said. "He hit it out of the ballpark,
but it's very unusual to see Shane make that kind
It wasn't the first time General Manager Gerry Hunsicker has seen one of
his former players come back to haunt the
"It's hard to give out and give up a couple runs early, especially to an
unlikely home run hitter," he said. "And (Turner
Field) isn't exactly one of the top parks to hit home runs in. It's kind of
like the saga continues. It's always the same.
The unlikely always seems to come up and bite us."
Like the rest of the team, Hunsicker was hoping for a better outing by
Reynolds, the lone over-30 member of the Astros'
"It's a shame, especially after the way he pitched in St. Louis (to
clinch the division title)."
After the game, Reynolds tried to look at the bright side.
"One day, that monkey's going to fall off our back," he said of the
Astros fourth Division Series loss since 1997. "And
we're going to continue to run. We've got too good of a ballclub and play
too good of a game of baseball in the whole regular
season against everybody for this to continue to happen.
"We still have a great nucleus and we're getting some young guys, there's
a very positive outlook for us this year that's
going to be a great lift for us next year. Like I said, that monkey's going
to fall off. And when it does, we're going to run
and it's going to be hard to stop us."
Alyson Footer is the site reporter of astros.com.