Gwynn gives Padres victory over Astros
Hit with bags full pushes san diego 16 games over .500
SAN DIEGO — Tony Gwynn Jr. started growing a beard at the beginning of June and doesn’t plan to shave it until he lifts his batting average to .250.
He took a slight step backward Sunday, but it was worth it.
After going hitless in his first four at-bats, Gwynn hit a bases-loaded single up the middle against a drawn-in infield with one out in the ninth inning, to give the San Diego Padres a 3-2 victory against the Houston Astros on Sunday.
Gwynn’s average dipped from .228 to .227.
“I don’t know how much longer my face can take it, but I’m going to roll with it as long as I can,” said Gwynn, the Padres’ leadoff batter and center fielder.
Gwynn helps the Padres by doing the little things, unlike his Hall of Fame father, who had 3,141 hits and a .338 lifetime average in a 20-year career for San Diego.
The NL West-leading Padres (49-33) are 16 games above .500 for the first time this season. This was their 11th win in their final at-bat at home.
Houston had been shut out two games in a row. Lance Berkman ended that with a home run in the first inning. He also tied the game with an RBI triple in the eighth.
“It’s tough to come in with their pitching staff because you know they’re going to be low-scoring games,’’ Berkman said. “Your defense is critical, and we made some mistakes. We gave them the game.”
The Astros messed up a couple of routine plays that allowed the Padres to build a slight lead.
Houston’s starters allowed only three earned-runs in 252⁄ innings during the series for a 1.05 ERA — yet they lost three of four games.
Brett Myers went six innings for the Astros, allowing two runs and four hits. He extended to 17 his franchise record for consecutive starts of six-plus innings to begin a season.
San Diego’s Tony Gwynn Jr. makes a diving catch of a ball hit by Houston’s Brett Myers on Sunday. Gwynn later delivered the game-winning single in the ninth inning as the Padres won 3-2.