The Astros are Exhibit A in The People vs. A Second Half of Goodwill. Astros lose 9-3 at Pittsburgh.
*Once again, the Astros held the lead, and lost (obviously). That's the fifth time on this road trip that the Astros have blown a lead.
*Happ pitched a good game, going 6IP, 4H/2R (0ER), 4K:2BB, and managed to get the loss, thanks to Castro's catching error.
*Happ has now thrown 12IP consecutive IP without allowing an earned run. It's his third start of throwing an ER-less outing since coming over from Philadelphia.
*But the screw-gee came at the hands of the bullpen. Of the five relievers used by the Astros, only Wilton Lopez (one batter) and Tim Byrdak (three batters) didn't allow a run.
*Mark Melancon came in for the 7th inning, walked Delmon Young to lead off the inning, gave up a single to Andrew McCutchen, and struck out Jose Tabata. Fernando Abad relieved him and gave up a single and a double - with a flyout in between - to allow two runs charged to Melancon, and one of his own on Pedro Alvarez' double.
*Then, for whatever reason, Felipe Paulino came in for the 8th inning. He allowed a leadoff single to left, threw a wild pitch, got a fielder's choice, allowed a single, another fielder's choice, and an infield single. So it's 6-3 at this point. and Tim Byrdak comes in, gives up a double and a sac fly, with three runs charged to Paulino.
*By the time Houston came up to bat again, the bullpen had turned a 5-3 deficit into a 9-3 loss.
*In this series, the bullpen allowed 12H/9ER, 6K:1BB in 8.1IP.
*Hunter Pence, Carlos Lee, and Jason Michaels had your multi-hit games of the day. Pence provided his 25th homer of the season, Lee and Michaels had a double.
*That's Hunter Pence's 75th homer in the last three seasons, and yes, that's 25 HR in each of the 2008, 2009, and 2010 seasons. With his five total bases today, that puts him at 279 total bases on the year - surpassing his previous career high of 277, set in 2008.
*Jason Castro hit a 9th inning double, breaking an 18PA hitless streak, going back to September 12 against the Dodgers. He struck out in his other three plate appearances. It's the first time he has had multiple Ks in a game since August 21 @ Florida.
*Chris Johnson was 0x4 with a strikeout, and grounded out in his other 3PAs.
. Despite drawing a walk yesterday, he has walked twice in his last 63PAs (23K).
*Pitch Count Hero: Jason Bourgois (1x5) - 21 pitches in five PAs.
*Pitch Count Punk: Carlos Lee (2x4) - Nine pitches in four PAs.
*Man of the Match: Hunter Pence. Got on base three times, brought the game to within two runs.
*Goat of the Game: Jason Castro. 3Ks, crucial error.