HOUSTON – Cavan Biggio grew up at Minute Maid Park, watching his father, Craig, wrap up his Hall of Fame career with the Houston Astros.
On Saturday night, it was Craig Biggio who watched as his son hit his first homer at the ballpark where he made so many memories to help the Toronto Blue Jays to an 8-4 win over the Astros.
“I’ve sat in the seats for hundreds of games watching my dad play and now it’s a little reversed,” he said. “It’s pretty cool to be able to do that in front of him in his building.”
Will Cavan Biggio ever forget this night?
“Never,” he said.
Biggio hit a two-run shot off Cristian Javier (3-1) with one out in the second inning to make it 2-0. Biggio was 5 for 15 with two doubles but no homers at Minute Maid Park before Saturday. His father played at the stadium 590 times after the franchise left the Astrodome.
“This place is very special to me and my family,” Cavan Biggio said. “I spent a lot of time here especially in the locker room and behind the scenes. It was pretty special to go deep here, especially with my family in the stands.”
Craig Biggio, who works as a special advisor to Astros general manager James Click, pumped his fist a couple of times as his son’s ball left the yard.
The elder Biggio played his entire 20-year career with the Astros. Cavan Biggio was 12 and acting as a bat boy the night his father collected his 3,000th career hit in this ballpark on June 28, 2007.
He, his mother and two siblings all came onto the field when his dad reached the mark with the third hit of a five-hit night and was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double. The Astros won that game 8-5 on a grand slam by Carlos Lee in the 11th inning.
That night, Cavan said, is his best memory here.
“I think one that sticks out to me, has to be the 3,000-hit game,” he said. “Just the way he got it … it was just kind of a perfect storm for a great career milestone.”
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Marcus Semien hit a three-run homer in the ninth that followed another family moment.
After Biggio led off the ninth with a walk, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. reached on an error by his brother, first baseman Yuli Gurriel — Lourdes placed an arm around Yuli after the play.
Semien then launched Joe Smith’s two-out slider into the seats on left for his eighth homer.
Steven Matz (5-2), who dropped his previous two decisions, allowed eight hits and three runs in five innings to tie him for the American League lead with five wins.
Alex Bregman doubled to start Houston’s eighth and scored when Gurriel grounded out for the second out of the inning to cut the lead to 5-4. Jordan Romano preserved the lead when he struck out Carlos Correa to end the inning.
Yordan Alvarez homered with three RBIs for the Astros, who’ve lost four of their last six games.
Danny Jansen homered for the second straight game when he opened the third inning with a shot to left field to extend the lead to 3-0. Javier walked Semien before walking Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with one out. A double by Randal Grichuk with two outs scored them both to make it 5-0.
Bregman doubled for Houston with no outs in the fourth before the home run by Alvarez cut the lead to 5-2. Yuli Gurriel doubled after that, but Matz retired the next three batters to end the threat.
Houston had runners at first and second with two outs in the fifth when Alvarez hit an RBI single to centre field to cut the lead to 2. Matz got Gurriel to ground into a forceout to end the inning and limit the damage.
Javier yielded four hits and a season-high five runs while striking out eight in 5 1/3 innings. He’s given up eight runs combined in his last two starts after not allowing a run in his previous three starts.
“They got him pitching out of the stretch and most pitchers aren’t as good out of the stretch as they are out of the windup,” manager Dusty Baker said. “They didn’t miss pitches. He threw the ball well except for the walks.”
Blue Jays: Reliever Rafael Dolis has a strained calf but is not going on the injured list and manager Charlie Montoyo said they hope he can return in a few days. … C Alejandro Kirk (left flexor strain) was transferred to the 60-day injured list on Saturday.
THEY SAID IT
Baker on Alvarez: “He’s getting better and better and better. It’s a pleasure and joy to watch him hit. He just gets the job done, and that’s what you’ve got to do as a really good hitter.”
Montoyo said top prospect Nate Pearson is expected to make his season debut, although Anthony Kay (0-2, 9.82) is also available to start against Houston’s Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA).