Corpus Christi Caller - May 18, 1980

Astros fall, 4-2 


By The Associated Press


HOUSTON — Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green said it's never a surprise when pitcher Larry Christenson hits a home run. But Christenson said he was surprised by his home run, a three-run blast that beat the Houston Astros 4-2 Saturday night.


“It’s always a challenge to hit one out in the Astrodome,” Christenson said after his 400-foot blast. "In batting practice I hit a couple of my best shots and they didn’t even reach the wall.”


But Christenson’s second-inning homer, the 10th of his career, sailed into the left-center-field bleachers and provided all the runs the Phils needed against the sluggish Astros.


Houston starter Joe Niekro, 4-3, who delivered the home run pitch, said, “I got a knuckleball up and it didn’t do anything. He's very strong and he just gave it a ride.”


Christenson, pitching for the first time in 11 days, said hia elbow felt fine, but Green didn't want to take any chances.


The Astros lost for the fifth straight time.


Christenson, 3-0, clubbed his homer to key Philadelphia’s four-run second inning. Greg Luzinski led off the inning with a single and later scored the first run on a fielder’s choice grounder by Larry Bowa.


Manny Trillo then singled before Christenson's blast.


The Astros ended a string of 24 scoreless innings in the third. Terry Puhl singled, Jose Cruz walked with two out, and Cesar Cedeno drove them home with a single up the middle.


Kevin Saucier relieved Christenson to start the sixth.