Maybe next time, Brad Lidge won’t invite so many friends to watch him pitch?

From the Houston Chronicle’s Brian McTaggart :

Brade Lidge blew his third save of the season by allowing the Colorado Rockies to score twice in the ninth to pull out a 5-4 win over the Astros at Coors Field.

The winning run scored when Dan Wheeler (above), called on to relieve the struggling Lidge in the ninth, walked Jamey Carroll on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded to score Clint Barmes from third base.

“It’s inexcusable to walk a run in, especially in that situation,” Wheeler said.

Lidge, who was working for the fourth day in a row after recording saves in the Astros’ previous three games, couldn’t protect a 4-3 lead and was removed from the game after facing four batters.

“I’m pretty (mad) right now, to be honest,” Lidge said. “Obviously, it’s a tough situation. I’m frustrated with myself for not getting the leadoff guy.”

Despite another shaky outing by Lidge, manager Phil Garner said Lidge is still his closer.

“There will be no changes there,” he said.

Well, one welcome change might be giving those same relievers more margin for error entering the 9th. Houston knew exactly when to bail on Octavio Dotel, but I don’t think this is the begining of the end for Lidge. The notion that he’s “not been the same” since Albert Pujols punished him in the NLCS has been expressed more than once on local yack radio, but I don’t think there’s nearly enough evidence to draw upon.

Apology corner : former Met Joe McEwing has been a frequent object of ridicule around here, particularly in the twilight of his career, clinging to a job with the PCL’s Round Rock Express. But it oughta be said that McEwing has been a reliable member of the Astros’ taxi squad, and his sliding grab to his left of an 8th inning liner in last night’s win over Omaha was nothing if not Brooks Robinson-esque. McEwing had a pair of hits, including an RBI double off former Mets prospect Ed Yarnall, in the Express’ 4-3 victory.

The University of Washington’s Tim Linecum struck out 16 Oregon State hitters in the Huskies’ 6-4 triumph Friday night. Linecum now holds the Pac 10 career strike out record, a mark previously held by USC’s Rik Carter. Linecum pitched well last summer for the Cape Cod League’s Harwich squad, and will likely be an early selection in this June’s amateur draft.

Victor Zambrano’s line for the Mets today : 1 1/3 innings, 4 batters faced, 23 total pitches. The end. Zambrano sprinted to the dugout after striking out Atlanta’s Andruw Jones in the top of the 2nd, apparently having suffered an undisclosed injury. Darren Oliver has been called in for long relief, the afternoon after the Mets’ pen was stretched in last night’s 5 hour marathon. New York’s ahead, 1-0 on Carlos Delgado’s first inning RBI single.