This was more like it. The Astros scored the last eight runs of the game to win 9-4, and salvage a decent day. When the Nationals were up 4-1 after the top of the 3rd, I thought to myself, "Self, you were talking about being a half-game back of the Brewers if they could win one inning plus a game at home against the Nationals. But you forgot, this is the Astros we're talking about."
But this was much better. Ortiz had another rough go of it, getting his ERA up to 4.44 with a poor outing, but the bullpen held the Nationals down until the bats could get going, and get going they did. Let's get the pitching done first...
Ortiz: 3IP, 6H/4ER, 1K:2BB, 7/16 First-pitch strikes, 15/36 non-contact strikes (11 called/4 swinging). 68 pitches.
Fulchino: 1IP, 1H, 1K, 3/4 FPS, 2/11 NCS
Arias: 2IP, 1H, 2K:1BB, 4/8 FPS, 6/16 NCS (4c:2s)
Byrdak: 1IP, 1/3 FPS, 1 NCS (1c)
Sampson: 1IP, 1K, 2/3 FPS, 3 NCS (3c)
Valverde: 1IP, 1H, 2K:1BB, 3/5 FPS, 9/15 NCS (4c:5s)
So let's do a quick recap:
Ortiz: 3IP, 6H/4ER, 1K:2BB
Bullpen: 6IP, 3H/0ER, 6K:2BB
Ortiz never looked comfortable. After getting Morgan to hit a leadoff groundout in the 1st, Johnson singled to center, then advanced to second on a wild pitch, then advanced to third on a Pudge throwing error. Zimmerman singled in Johnson, and Dunn doubled in Zimmerman. He then got Willingham to line out to left, and struck out Guzman. Next time around in the 3rd, Ortiz walked Johnson, allowed Zimmerman a single to center, hit Willingham (after getting Dunn to fly out), then a two-out, two RBI single to Bard. 4-1, and Ortiz' day is done.
It broke open in the bottom of the 6th:
Pudge: leadoff double
Blum: infield single
Keppinger: 2-run triple (4-4)
Michaels: K swinging
Buorn: RBI triple (5-4)
Tejada: RBI single (6-4)
There were multi-hit games from Lee (3x5), Bourn (2x5), Berkman (2x4), Pence (2x4), Blum (2x4), and Keppinger (2x4). The Astros were 7x15 with RISP. 6 of the Astros 16 hits were for extra-bases, with doubles from Lee, Blum, and Pudge; triples from Keppinger and Bourn (his 8th), and the game-sealing three run homer in the 8th by Berkman - his 18th of the season.
Pitch count alert:
Most pitches seen: Pence - 24 in 5 ABs
Fewest pitches seen: Tejada - 10 in 4 ABs
Man of the Match: Lance Berkman. 2x4 with 3RBI and 3 runs scored.
Goat: Russ Ortiz - lucky for him the bullpen bailed him out, because that was getting out of hand.