"What a comeback, huh?" Astros manager Phil Garner said. "The
young guys really came up big for us."
A year ago, fans crammed into the 5,300-seat stadium to get a
glimpse of Clemens and Andy Pettitte, who both left the New York
Yankees to join their hometown Astros for the 2004 season.
Now that some of the novelty has worn off, about half that many
fans -- an announced crowd of 3,097 -- showed up to see the Astros
again. But it wasn't the franchise's familiar names of the past
decade who led the way against Cleveland this time.
Houston got clutch performances from Taveras and Charlton
Jimerson, who both spent 2004 at Double-A Round Rock, and Burke,
who is competing with Biggio to start at second base after playing
with Triple-A New Orleans for much of last season.
Trailing 4-0 in the seventh, Taveras doubled in Morgan Ensberg
and Jason Lane to pull Houston within two. Jimerson and Burke
completed the rally in the ninth with consecutive two-run doubles
off Fernando Cabrera.
"Got to be superior managing," Garner quipped. "That's the
kind of effort you like to see."
Jared Gothreaux pitched a perfect ninth for the win.
Clemens and 44-year-old left-hander John Franco pitched the
Astros to a scoreless tie through three innings before Dave Burba
got roughed up in the fourth.
In the span of just five pitches, Juan Gonzalez hit a two-run
homer and Ryan Ludwick also connected off Burba to give the Indians
a 3-0 lead. Josh Bard scored on a throwing error by shortstop Adam
Everett to put Cleveland up by four.
"I was just bad," Burba said. "It is a big deal and obviously
there's something that needs to be done about it."
Biggio adjusted well to playing second base for the first time
since moving to the outfield in 2003 to make room for Jeff Kent.
Biggio missed Thursday's game against Cleveland in Winter Haven
while Burke took his first crack at earning the starting job.
"It took me a little bit of time to get more acclimated," said
Biggio, a six-time All-Star at second before switching positions.
"Things came back to me real quickly."
Bagwell went 1-for-3 as the designated hitter, a move that
will allow him to rest his nagging shoulder injury. ... 1B Travis
Hafner singled off Clemens in the first. Hafner is 3-for-4 with a
homer, three runs and two RBI in the first two exhibition games of
the year. ... Indians starter Scott Elarton was the opening day
starter for Houston in 2001 after leading the club with 17 wins the
year before. Elarton threw two hitless innings with a strikeout.
... Gonzalez struck out twice.