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Game balls: Rating Game 310/09/2004 5:35 PM ET
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
MLB.com is awarding "game balls" -- or, in this case, cowboy boots -- as the boys from Houston so often wear -- and peaches -- in honor of Georgia's favorite fruit -- for performances in this year's National League Division Series. Here's a look at the Astros' 8-5 win in Game 3. Five cowboy boots: Freshly shined and a perfect fit, ready for some serious two-stepping
Four cowboy boots: The first choice for a night on the town
Three cowboy boots: A few scuff marks, but no one will notice
Two cowboy boots: Showing serious signs of wear
One cowboy boot: Somebody stepped in something
Carlos Beltran: Plunked in the ribs in Game 1, Beltran played through the pain in Game 2 and rested on Friday's day off. He returned with a vengeance on Saturday, doubling in the first, and homering in the third to give Houston a 2-0 lead.
Four peaches: A tasty cobbler
Three peaches: Juicy and refreshing
Two peaches: Mom packed this instead of a candy bar?
One peach: The last piece of fruit from the bottom of the bin
Paul Byrd: The veteran right-hander entered because of an injury to starter John Thomson, and lasted into the fifth. He allowed four runs and 10 baserunners in 4 1/3 innings, and helped himself by singling in the tying run with two outs in the fourth.
Johnny Estrada: Estrada's opposite-field solo homer with one out in the fourth put Atlanta on the board.
John Thomson: A lingering left oblique injury that plagued the right-hander resurfaced four pitches into his Game 3 outing, and forced him from the game. It was a horrible omen for a 14-game winner who went 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his final six starts of the season.
Chipper Jones: The Braves veteran has been invisible, sinking to 0-for-11 in the series.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.