I should call this one – All About The Brandon – he blows the save, he throws almost 30 pitches in the 9th, he goes up to bat with 2 out, man on second in the 10th – and this is a guy with ONLY one other ML AB (he walked) and he doubles down the LF line to drive in Quintero for the 3rd run – first ML hit – first ML RBI, and then he blows through 3 guys in the 10th to get the W (of course, they weren’t Braun or Fielder, but I’m getting ahead of myself…)
Well, it was a good game tonight. Carlos Lee hit a 2 run homer, Pence hit a solo homer, Bourn has an 8 game hitting streak and hit into his second GIDP in 3 days, Bill Hall went 3 fer 4 with a walk, Angel Sanchez hit 2 doubles and so did Brett Wallace, Quintero hit the game winning double and CJ looked absolutely dreadful at the plate again and left SEVEN on base – but he did make a really great play.
Stros went up 3 in the first – Sanchez doubles, Carlos homers, Wallace doubles and Bill Hall drives him in with a single. Milwaukee gets a run in the second with a couple of singles, a walk and a sac-fly.
In the 3rd, Hunter Pence hits a home run like 400 something feet to almost straightaway center, which is a good thing because the Crew comes back with a couple of singles, and score runs on a WP, SB and a groundout RBI.
4th and 5th are 1,2,3 out. 6th, 2 on for CJ who Ks, swinging wildly. Crew gets a cxouple of 2 out singles, but no runs.
Gets interesting in the 7th. Marcum was pulled for a PH to end the 6th – and remember, ther Astros bullpen has been, um, heavily used – let’s put it that way – and apparently, the relievers and/or manager and/or pitching coach is not into relievers pitching multiple innings, but prefer to have them all get up and throw/warm up every day.
So with a 1 run lead, Michael Bourn hits a 2 out single, then Angel pulls a ball (???!!!) into the LF corner and Michael steps on the gas and coasts into home before Braun can get the ball and throw it back. Then Hunter singles to right, and Sanchez, running with the crack of the bat, makes it home ahead of Kotsay’s throw – and he has a GREAT arm. But it ends there as Carlos Ks on a checked swing on a pitch at his neck.
But back comes the Crew – Craig Counsell (isn’t he like 50 years old or something? Benn kicking Astros ass since I can remember – he’s one of those Pest gritty little guys) singles, Carlos Gomez tries to bunt his way on and actually, in my opinion, beats the throw from the pitcher, but he’s called out, and then it happens. Braun is up, takes a curve for a called strike, fouls off a couple of FB, then SHOULD have been out on a curveball which was absolutely positively in the strike zone – perfectly placed, inside, waist high, but the ump called it a ball. All I could think was – oh noooooo, don’t give this guy another chance. And sure enough – ball in dirt, then a FB down the middle and gone POW and it’s 6-5 with Da Prince coming up.
In comes Abad and he gets Prince. Then it’s Fulchino – he gives up a double, but then gets the 3rd out.
In comes a lefty to pitch to Wallace – but he hits him. Looked like it was the lower back and looked like it hurt. In comes the righty, gives up a single to Bill Hall, then gets CJ on a soft flyout, then Q. 2 left on again.
Clinging to that 1 run lead is Melancon, who has been rode hard and put away wet, as the saying goes. And flogged. He’s pitched in 13 of the Astros 21 games and last night, managed to get hisself out of a bases loaded jam with 20+ pitches. So in he comes, and he gives up a single to Yuni Betancourt. Then Lucroy goes to sac-bunt – which I do NOT get, seeing as how the guy is hitting .355 – and he lays it down, only Brett Wallace and Melancon go to field it, no one calls it, I guess, and they trip over each other, so Lucroy, who would have been dead meat – actually, Yuni would have been dead meat – is safe and Yuni is at 3rd, nobody out. Just great.
But then the amazing happens: Pinch hitter Erick Almonte hits a grounder up the 3rd base line – CJ fields it and Yuni is caught between 3rd and home in a rundown – and he’s waving for Lucroy to take 3rd while he dodges the fielders. But he doesn’t and Lucroy is caught off second and is tagged out by Q, who throws the ball to Wallace – but it is in the dirt, or he would have gotten Almonte off first – it would have been a baseball first - a triple play involving 3 rundowns.
You talk about luck – first the bad luck of a guy reaching base when there should have been an out. Bad luck. Then absolutely idiotic baserunning leading to 2 outs instead of the 1 they should have gotten, with men still on second and third. Bolstered by this bizarre double play, Melancon gets Counsell for the last out. No runs.
So top of the 9th, the Crew sends in their closer, John Axford, who gets 3 quick outs – he has some kind ov vicious breaking ball – all KINDS of swing and misses.
And bottom of the 9th, in comes Brandon Lyon to face the very dangerous meat of the lineup. Gomez flies out. Braun goes the other way and sends a ball into right – probably could have gone for a double, but stops at first. Then it’s Da Prince, who sends a 3-2 FB to the RF corner. Braun was off like a shot – Pence gerts the ball, sends a strike to Bill Hall, who sends a bullet to Quintero, but Braun slides in before the tag. The ump made the right call, sad to say – Q was jumping up and down and Brad Mills went out – I guess told Q that the call was right. No one got tossed, Q settled down, and Lyon gets McGehee to FO to shallow center. Then they IBB Kotsay to face Yuni Betancourt, who has a well earned reputation as a free swinger, but Lyon doesn’t throw him stuff that is close enough and he walks. Bases loaded. But Lucroy hits a choppeer which Lyon makes a great play on, jumping, then turning to throw Lucroy out.
Crew doesn’t send Axford back out for a second inning. Either he’s too tired, or he can’t because it’s against The Unwritten Rules, or something. BAD mistake. Crew sends up righty Sean Green, who the Stros hit arond yesterday. And they hit him around again. Bourgeois, who was sent in to play left at the beginning of the 9th, is up and he flies out. Brett Wallace fouls a ball off his shin or knee – tough to tell (man he’s been getting hurt all night), but then doubles to right center. Then Green goes to 3-0 on Hall, and they decide to put him on to face the badly slumping CJ. I root for him to at least single home Wallace, but he grounds out to second, advancing the runners.
So it’s up to Quintero, and he sends a 3-1 curve over Gomez’ head where it bounces over the CF wall for a GR double and 2 runs are in!!!! Then Brandon Lyon, who like never EVER comes up, naturally, is left in to hit (well, if he was pulled for a PH, who was gonna pitch? Del Rosario? Aneury? Jose Valdez?) and he fouls off a FB down the middle, then takes a curve for a ball – and it was a strike – same exact location as the curve to Braun that shoulda been strike 3) then he didn’t swing at 2 pitches out of the zone, then he swung through a FB, fouled one off, then hit one down the LF line into the corner to score Q. He stood on second base looking stunned – probably hadn’t hit a baseball since, Ida know, high school (had 2 PA in the minors in 04 and 1 in 07 with the DBax). But Bourn struck out, so he didn’t have to run any more.
He came back out to the mound and got 1,2,3 out – a little easier when you are facing Wil Nieves, Counsell and Gomez…
So at least we won’t get swept.
Tomorrow afternoon, it’s Wandy vs Randy Wolf. I’ll have to record this one because I’ll be taking the kids to Easter Parties. They too old to believe in the Easter bunny, but you best believe they not too old to eat all that candy (not that they gonna get near as much as they think they are…)