I should call this entry – fielding matters, but there’s only so many times I can use that one. But anyhow, Brad Penny didn’t look as sharp as usual from the getgo. He went to 3-2 counts on Bourn (grounded out) and then Kaz (more on him later) before getting Lance to GIDP
Cards have Colby Rasmus leading off now, due to Skip Schumaker forgetting how to hit or walk. So he starts off with a K, then Ludwick walks. Uncle goes to 3-2, then hits a grounder to the right of second, but Kaz is moving in the wrong direction, don’t ask me why, and by the time he switches gear, the ball clanks off his glove and into right – and it SHOULD have been an inning ending GIDP. With Ludwick at 3rd, Holliday drives him in with a grounder. Freese walks. At this point, 29 pitches have been thrown, and Arnesberg goes to the mound and a LONG conversation happens, but Yadi Molina grounds out, first pitch.
Cards 1 – Astros zippo (and that run is entirely Kaz’ fault for lousy fielding)
1,2,3 outs for both sides in the second.
In the 3rd, Manzella singles to break up the no-hitter, but Cash GIDP. I wonder how long the Astros are going to keep this guy as a catcher to please the “prominent pitcher” who is neither Roy nor Wandy, when he isn’t hitting, walking or driving in runs, and has already GIDP twice in 10 AB. Oh yeah. Then the next hitter reaches on a throwing error by the SS (who had a bad BAD day), then Bourn singles, Kaz goes to 3-2, then strikes out swinging on a shoulder high ball 4. Kaz had a bad BAD day, too.
So in the bottom of the 3rd, Rasmus flies out, then Ryan Ludwick hits a fly ball to left center and Clank, as usual, gets a late jump and runs too slowly to catch it. So it falls for a double. Then Uncle singles to the 5.5 hole. Then the absolutely ridiculous – Holliday hits a popup to shallow right center. Bourn loses it in the lights, throws his arms out shouting – can’t see it – and Kaz is NOT backing him up, arrives late and the ball falls on the ground. Freese singles home Ludwick and Yadi mercifully GIDP. Well, mercifully for the Astros. So there are TWO runs which should never have scored in the first place and the Astros are behind 3-2.
In the 4th, Penny needs 8 pitches to mow down Berkman, Lee and Pence. Pathetic. Schu singles, Ryan pops up (toldja it wasn’t his day), then Schu goes to second on a WP, then Penny, squaring to bunt, pulls the bat back and pokes a single into center. Schu runs hell bent for leather around third, but is dead meat at the plate when Bourn throws him out. He leads the league in assists. His arm isn’t quiiiite as strong as Pence’s, but he’s very accurate. He EARNED that Gold Glove.
In the 5th, Blum, getting a start at third, singles, Manzella hits into a FC, then for some reason I do NOT get, Mills calls for the hitnrun with CASH at the plate – you know, the guy who can’t hit at ALL, and Manzella is a dead duck at second. There’s no WAY I’m gonna believe that Manzella decided to pull that one on his own – against Yadi Molina, when he isn’t exactly Mr. Base Stealer. Cash, naturally, is out, and it would have been another GIDP 5-4-3 anyway. Then Ludwick singles, and Uncle GIDP (it wasn’t HIS day neither, thank goodness) and Holliday grounds out.
Penny needs 7 pitches in the 6th to mow down 3 hitters. I fugire he’s gonna have himself an EASY complete game. Freese, Yadi and Schumaker go down 1,2,3 – and I figure that this here game is about ovah.
So I’m sitting, holding Jana Brattain Dog kind of draped over my right arm, with my scorebook on the table to my left, and I go to get up and she protests. Guess she wants to watch the rest of the game. OK, I’m easy. Besides, I’m not gonna be able to hold that Dog for real too much longer because she is gonna be a BIG Dog like her Mama. And her Daddy…
So then something amazing happens. Lance takes a ball and then a strike, then flies out to deep center. Then Clank is up. Penny throws a pitch, shakes off Yadi TWICE, then throws the pitch he wants for a called strike, then shakes off Yadi AGAIN and Yadi trots out to the mound, they talk, then he goes back and Penny throws a ball. Then he throws a strike, then Clank hits a ball right to the SS, only he makes a dumb throwing error and Clank is safe. It really was NOT Brendan Ryan’s night. Then Pence fouls one off, then hits a sinker of some sort to deep right center for a double. Dave Duncan trots out – long conversation, but he leaves and he doesn’t get any reliever up. I don’t know why. Something was different – can’t say what, but I could tell.
So then Blum is up and he comes too far inside and hits him (second HBP this game) and it’s Manzella up with bases loaded. And Tommy hits the first pitch – some kind of offspeed pitch – to deep right to drive home Carlos and break up the shutout. Cards 2 Stros 1.
Naturally, Mills sends Cory 0.056 Sullivan up seeing as how 0.056 is more than 0.000 to pinch hit for Kevin Cash. GIDP, sez a certain male, not even sarcastically. But sort of like a couple year back, when Phil Garner decided to let Brad Ausmus, who was like 1 fer 60 against Tom Glavine, bat for himself because he was “due”, guess Sully was “due” and he singled to left, Pence comes home and IT IS A TIE GAME!!! YEEEEE HAHHHHHHHHHH I yell and Jana Brattain Dog sez WOOF!!!!! Little baby Doggie is good luck, it seems. Then Quintero pinch hits for the pitcher and HE singles home a run. Then it is Bourn up and he pops up a bunt over toward the second base bag, but Uncle, who gets the ball, has nowhere to throw it to because Penny is all discombobulated and forgot to cover first. Astros up 4-2. Then Kaz grounds out, stranding 2. Like I said, it was NOT his day neither.
Fulchino comes on to pitch the 7th. He faces pinch hitter Jon Jay – a FINE looking brotha fer SHER – who singles off Kaz’ glove – Kaz got another bad jump (3 strike day, you know what I’m sayin) and it goes for a single instead of an E4 (hometown scorer) and instantly, there’s this big meeting on the mound while Sampson starts warming up. Fulchino is having trouble throwing strikes and walks pinch hitter Tyler Green on 5 pitches. Rasmus flies out on a 2-0 pitch, then Ludwick singles home Jay.
Chris Sampson comes in to face Uncle, induces a slow roller to short, so it is just a FC instead of a GIDP. Holliday grounds out to Blum.
The Astros have actually come back!!! And not given up the lead again!!!!! I cheer!!! and Jana Brattain Dog sez WOOF (well, actually, more like YAP but I’m giving gf the benefit of the doubt here…)
Jason Motte comes in throwing 95+ MPH heat. Lance fouls off a couple of pitches, takes a couple of balls, then smokes a high FB into the RF bullpen. Just like in the old days. Clank flies out to center. Then Pence comes up. Motte throws only sliders. Pence takes a strike, then a ball, then fouls off a couple, then hits one juuuuust over the fence into the LF bullpen – Holliday doesn’t jump for it, lucky for Hunter. Blum and Manzella K. So it is Astros 6, Cards 3.
Lyon and Lindstrom nail it down and Astros win their second in a row!!! But with the win, the Astros lose their death grip on last place in the majors to the hopeless Royals.
Wandy tomorrow!!! I’ll be wearing my Wandy t-shirt!!!