Biggio Catches Up With Past, Astros Win

Saturday, September 29th 2007, 10:02 pm
By: News On 6

HOUSTON (AP) _ Brandon Backe pitched six strong innings and hit a home run Saturday night as the Houston Astros, with Craig Biggio catching up on old times, beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2.

In the next-to-last game of his 20-year career, Biggio caught for the first two innings. He primarily played the position for his first four seasons in the majors _ he had not been behind the plate since switching to second base in 1992.

Backe (3-1), who missed most of the season after Tommy John surgery, made his fifth start of the year. He allowed a run on four hits and struck out four while walking none.

Brad Lidge pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 19th save in 27 chances.

Jeff Bennett (2-1) made his second career start since coming up from Triple-A Richmond on Sept. 19. He also went six innings, giving up three runs.

Biggio doubled and Lance Berkman followed with his 34th home run for a 2-0 lead in the first. The Braves scored in the second when Jeff Francoeur reached on an infield single, went to third on Brandon Jones' single and scored on an infield out by Brayan Pena.

Backe, who started in the Tampa Bay organization as a position player, hit his second career home run and first this year in the fifth. Backe's first home run came on Sept. 9, 2004, against Cincinnati, also at Minute Maid Park.

Reliever Dennis Sarfate took over for Backe in the seventh inning and Francoeur led off with a double. One out later, he went to third on Pena's single and scored on Willie Harris' sacrifice fly.

Notes: Biggio hit his 667th double. He later singled for his 3,059th career hit. ... Biggio's last appearance at catcher came against Atlanta on Oct. 5, 1991 at Fulton County Stadium. He started 391 games there and made the All-Star team at the position once. ... Brad Ausmus started at 2B while Biggio was behind the plate, making it easy to switch the two in the third inning. Ausmus, who was making his first career start at any position besides catcher, handled one grounder in the first inning. ... Chipper Jones went 1-for-3 before being replaced in the bottom of the sixth. He has a a .339 average with one game left as he vies for the NL batting title.