This is the first time I've seen the Astros in the first five minutes of SportsCenter, in which we learned that the Cardinals had to make room in the clubhouse for 25 cases of champagne. Good news is that the Korbel has to stay on ice for another day, and the Cardinals will have to wait for a little while, Dave Clark got his first managerial win, and the Astros avoided their first ten-game losing streak since 2007 with the 3-0 win over St. Louis.
Let's do the thing:
Norris: 6IP, 6H/0ER, 3K:2BB, 14/24 first-pitch strikes, 27/61 non-contact strikes (12called:15 swinging)
Fulchino: 1IP, 3K, 2/3 FPS, 7/9 NCS (4c:3s)
LaHawk: 1IP, 1H, 3/4 FPS, 6/11 NCS (5c:1s)
Valverde: 1IP, 2K:1BB, 2/4 FPS, 6/12 NCS (4c:2s)
Norris, obviously, was effective, especially at limiting damage. He only had one 1-2-3 inning (the 5th), and the Cardinals had a runner on second in each of the first three innings, and The Troof got out of it with nary a runner advancing to third.
The bullpen got their crap together, at least for one night, allowing just one hit and a walk in three innings - with Fulchino getting three swinging strikeouts in one inning. And I'll look forward to seeing him in 2010.
Yes yes, the Astros won. However, they still only scratched out three runs. And in this little 1-9 stretch, the Astros have only scored 23 runs. Of their six hits, Tejada and Lee provided two hits each, with Matsui and Norris getting the other two. The Astros were 3x11 with RISP (Tejada, Lee, Norris). That said, Carlos Lee's two RBI put him at 98 for the season, and he should be the only Astro - by a long shot - with 100 RBI this season.
Brutal note: J.R. Towles was 0x2, and is now 1x21 in September, for an .048 average.
Man of the Match: Bud Norris. Did what no other pitcher has been able to do in this little stretch - be (mostly) perfect. The only way the Astros were going to win another game this season was if the other team didn't score a single solitary run, and that's what The Troof did.
Goat of the Game: I think this one's going to Hunter Pence. 0x3 with a walk, and three strikeouts, ending the inning twice. Pence, while hitting .311 in Setpember, has three hits in his last 17 ABs.