Astros FANS didn’t think there was gonna be no miracles, that is fer sher, because the stands were pretty empty – maybe 1/3 full. Maybe.
But the guys sure nuff didn’t care because they looked overjoyed and relieved to see Lance. I know all yall wanna know who was removed for Lance and the answer is that Chris Johnson went on the DL with a muscle strain which happened I don’t know when. Maybe it is a leftover from ST – but he didn’t get sent down. You KNOW Drayton doesn’t want to release Kaz only to see some other team pick him up and he suddenly hits like Barry Lamar (Himself, not Dog…)
Anyway, it sure didn’t look real too good for the motley crew (not crue) in the first when the first 4 Marlins singled and they led 2-0 at the end of their half. But Bourn took the first of his 2 walks and stole second, then stole 3rd, then scored on a Berkman groundout to first (yeah, first AB and Lance already has more RBIs than Clank) to cut the score in half.
In the second, Chris Coughlin drove in Wes Helms to make it 3-1 (Chris Coughlin always looks like a MVP with the bat when he faces the Astros) but the Astros got lucky when Pence got a checked swing single on a dribbler just inside the fair line. Then Feliz grounded into what should have been an easy 6-3 with Pence already taking off for second, but Hanley Ramirez made a foolish mistake when he tossed the ball to Uggla, trying to force Pence and Uggla, who wasn’t really expecting the ball, turned and airmailed it over the 1B head, so Pence went to third on the error and Feliz was safe. JR Towles singled home Pence
Miracle #1 – JR Towles gets his BA over his weight
to make it 3-2, Manzella had a 9 pitch AB before Bourn field out to left – Coughlin making an excellent catch to deprive Bourn of a RBI double.
In the 3rd, Berkman made an excellent diving stab of a hard hit ball for a lineout (forget Blum/Feliz making THAT play – gloves DO matter at first base, believe it or not. Well, after watching Feliz for a couple of weeks, all yall believe it more than you used to…) then hit a ball to the RF bullpen for a double – would have been a triple if his legs were 100% as they were in 08.
In the 4th and 5th, both pitchers got 1,2,3 outs. Then, in the 6th
Miracle #2 – Clank hits his FIRST really well hit ball, not a flyout, but a smashed liner to the RF bullpen for his FIRST EXTRA BASE HIT OF THE YEAR!!!!! (no RBIs yet, cain’t be askin for too many miracles at a time)
MIRACLE # 3 – Pence doesn’t swing at pitches out of the strike zone and TAKES HIS FIRST WALK – and yes, I know that only the 4th ball was anywheres near the strike zone, but hey like I said, patience is a virtue – not just for Pence you know what I’m sayin here…
Feliz flies out, then JR singles home Pence for his second RBI of the day. (JR’s heating up – he tore the cover offn the baseball in AAA last year, and so far, Castro isn’t doing real too much – 8 fer 34 with 7 BB and no XBH, so maybe he’s relaxed a little.)
Then, Mills, and I am NOT kidding you, pinch hits for Manzella with Cory Sullivan – yeah, with his OPS less than MY weight. I understand why you might could want to pinch hit for Manzella – he’s not exactly Hanley Ramirez with the bat, but with a WORSE hitter? Just because the hitter is a lefty? Please. What IS it with these managers who think that a terrible lefty is ALWAYS better than a good righty vs a righty pitcher??? And if you insist on a lefty, why the WORST lefty on the bench?
So after the 7th inning stretch, Fredi Gonzlez pulls Volstad, who had been pinch hit for by Mike Lamb, who returned to the ML after spending 08 sucking for Minnesota/Milwaukee and last year sucking at AAA (mostly hurt) and Blum, who is NOW pinch hitting for the pitcher, immediately greets Wood, the reliever, with a single. Then Bourn walks again. The boy he has got the right idea – getting on base is always better than getting out (unless it is an out that drives in a run – but I’m getting ahead of myself here.)Kepp has moved to short and Kaz is in at second. Mills has Kepp, at this point, the best hitting guy on the team, sac-bunt???!!! but the strategy works as Berkman is NOT walked with 1B open (???why?????) and he ties up the game with a groundout to first. More RBIs than hits. Clank pops out stranding Bourn on 3rd.
Lyon comes in – I was a little surprised, as Sampson had been warming up, but
Miracle #4 – Lyon managed to get 3 straight outs this time and then
Miracle #5 – Fredi Gonzalez sent his ineffective pitcher back out and
Miracle #6 – Hunter Pence hit his first extra base hit of the year AND on a 2-0 count!!!!! Feliz singles him to 3rd, JR Ks (a leeeetle too eager this time) and then Kaz, 0fer his last 18, squeeze bunts Pence home with a perfect bunt down the 1st base line. I think you can call it a squeeze even if it IS down the 1st base line, and I THINK that Pence was breaking for home, but it’s hard to tell. Then Jason Michaels hits a pinch hit homer over the Crawford Boxes into the Hall and
Miracle #7 – the Astros have their second come from behind hitting in a week!!!!!
to lead 7-4. I thought Bourn was gonna get walk #3, but he flied out to center on a 3-2 pitch that would most definitely have been strike 3.
Lindstrom gives up a run with a single, groundout, wild pitch and a 10 pitch single, then after Mills goes out to the mound and threatens to play “Sugar Plum Fairy” as his entrance music, he gets the last guy on a groundout to preserve the Astros First Home Win of 2010!!!
I can’t call THAT a miracle because it was bound to happen SOMEtime before the end of September.
Interesting thing – Lindstrom is reminding me of Brad Lidge (when he’s not hurt) with his motion and use of fast fastball and wild slider. The hits he has given up so far have been groundball singles that are hit hard through the holes and his slider is, uh, crazy. He’s not as incredible as Brad was at his best, and he sure doesn’t get near the number of swings and misses, but youneverknow…
Tomorrow, it’s Bud Norris vs Josh Johnson, LHP, who hasn’t done very well vs Houston – 0-3 in 2 GS and 1 in relief with a 7.36 ERA over 11 IP with THREE homers.
Maybe we can get some MORE miracles tomorrow…