Late start this morning, and we sincerely apologize for not having anything for you to read while you watch the Reds take over the Astros for Best Cardinals Rivalry. Oh yeah, and Matt Lindstrom nutted it last night - Astros lose 4-2 to Atlanta, despite the Braves - and Alex Gonzalez in particular - trying to give the game away in the 8th. The Braves were outhit 7-5, and committed three errors. And won.
*The loss marks the 4th time the Astros have had the lead to start the 9th inning, and lost. It's the second time in the last four games.
*We got Dr. J.A. Happ (and not Mr. Hyde) last night. Happ allowed only 2H/1ER, 6K:4BB in 6.1IP. 14 of his 64 strikes were put in play.
*Wilton Lopez and Brandon Lyon combined for 1.2IP of perfect relief, before Matt Lindstrom came in and served up a homer to Brooks Conrad that landed in Navasota.
*Lindstrom has had a rough go of it. In his first 39 appearances (Opening Day to July 30), Lindstrom held hitters to a .278/.337/.348 line, with 35K:14BB and one homer allowed. 65% of his pitches were for strikes. Since August 1 (and we're dealing with a very small sample, but work with it), Lindstrom has allowed hitters post a .438/.500/1.000 line, with three homers - two last night. He had blown four saves until July 30, and has blown two since.
*Which begs the question, if Brandon Lyon had only thrown 11 pitches - nine for strikes - why couldn't he have run out there for a second inning? Granted, Lindstrom's the closer, and it's easy to question the decision now, but it's worth wondering.
*The Astros only got seven hits on the night, and three of them came courtesy of Chris Johnson. We don't have to go into the tear he's on since the All-Star Break, because it feels like I do that after every game.
*Brett Wallace continued hitting, with a 1x3 night, as did Castro. The means that 1-5 in the lineup went 2x20 (Bourn's triple, Sanchez' single), and 6-8 went 5x10. The Astros were 0x9 w/RISP, with Sanchez and Keppinger combining for 0x4.
*The stunner of the night was when Hunter Pence took off running for 3rd in the 8th, and was thrown out. Where he was out is a decent question, it looked like his leg bounced up off the bag. A better question is, why was he running in the first place? Runners were on 1st and 2nd with one out. Chris Johnson was up. A single would have scored him - and that single came.
*Congratulations should go to Michael Bourn - who got his 3rd triple of the season. He played in his 400th game as an Astro last night. In those 400 games, he has a .259/.327/.344 line.
*Pitch Count Hero: Carlos Lee (0x4) - 19 pitches in four PAs.
*Pitch Count Punk: Hunter Pence (0x3, BB) - 10 pitches in four PAs.
*Man of the Match: J.A. Happ.
*Goat of the Game: Matt Lindstrom. Again.