(a) Mike Hampton did what Ed Wade signed him to do
(b) The Astros offense did what the Astros offense does (or, score four runs)
(c) Cecil Cooper's voodoo doll worked
(d) The law of averages caught up with the Astros
Any of the four, I don't care. Hampton was downright money: 6IP, 4H, 0ER, 8K:1BB (and lowering his ERA to 2.45)
Geary: 1IP, 2H, 0ER, 0K:1BB
LaHawk: 1IP, 1H
It was mentioned that this lineup managed to get some runs early. By the 2nd inning, the Astros had doubled the number of innings in which they led. Can I make another point? The last time Hampton struck out 8+ batters in an outing was July 26, 2003.
The Law Offices of Tejada, Berkman and Lee went 6x11, with Lee coming in with a 2-run double and a sac fly, accounting for three of the Astros four runs. Your extra-base hits came from Keppinger, Berkman, Lee and Tejada. And sac flies from the aforementioned Lee and Hunter Pence. In a departure from the previous seven games, the Astros only left runners in scoring position in four ABs: Blum, Pence, Hampton, and Bourn (who broke his season-long hitting streak at 6G).
Basically, the Astros did what they needed to do: jump on Ohlendorf early. They scored four runs. By the end of the 2nd inning, the Astros had led in the same number of innings they had to this point in the season. Pudge did manage to GIDP.
Hampton allowed a leadoff baserunner in the 5th and 6th innings, but got the leadoff man in the first four (obviously). That's what I'm talking about. I do not appreciate Valverde giving up a leadoff homer in the 9th to Adam LaRoche, but it's what it is. A win is a win.
Man of the Match:
This is tough. But for a different reason. Because Hampton and Lee are equally deserving. But because Carlos Lee went 3x4 with 3 RBI, I'll give it to Lee.
Goat of the Game:
Valverde. Blew a shutout. Which would have been very helpful.
May I make a prediction? Thanks. I think Russ Ortiz will do very well tomorrow, because of what I imagine is an era of good feelings in the clubhouse. And it's an afternoon game. Astros pitchers allowed one run on nine hits, and that's huge. God bless the Houston Astros. And God bless Astros County.