Kyle Lohse (4-0, 1.62) v.s. Lucas Harrell (1-2, 4.71)
Kyle Lohse had been unreal so far this year, coming into the game with a 4-0 record and a 1.62 ERA. The Astros spoiled that however as they touched him for 5 runs (3 earned) in 5 innings pitched and held on for a 5-4 win. The Astros have now won 4 games in a row, and improve to 12-14. The Cardinals fall to a still very impressive 16-9.
*Lucas Harrell was just okay tonight, but it was good enough to earn the Win thanks to the good offensive performance the Astros brought forward. Harrell's line: 5.1 IP / 7 H / 4 R / 3 ER / 2 BB / 3 K. He moves to 2-2 on the year with a 4.76 ERA.
*After the first couple of innings, it looked like this could be a very high scoring game. All 9 runs were scored in the first 2 and a half innings. The rest of the game was scoreless.
*Wesley Wright, Wilton Lopez and Fernando Rodriguez threw a combined 2.2 IP yielding only 1 hit and 1 walk, with 2 strikeouts and no earned runs to keep the Astros ahead. All 3 pitchers earned a hold in the game. Brett Myers earned his 7th save in 7 chances with a scoreless 9th - although the inning was not without it's drama.
*Myers allowed leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal to reach first on a single. Jon Jay then came up - a guy who has been absolutely red hot so far this season. He blooped a ball to second base which Altuve easily could have caught in the air for the out. Jon Jay assumed that Altuve would do just that, and slowly jogged towards first. Altuve made a VERY heads up play and instead let the ball drop, quickly throwing to Lowrie at second for the first out, who made the turn and just barely beat out Jay at first base for the double play. A very heads up play by Altuve, absolutely great baseball awareness.
*Altuve didn't just excel at defense - as usual his bat was a huge asset again. Tonight he collected a basehit, but also showed his power stroke with a 3 run shot in the bottom of the 2nd. It was his 2nd homerun of the year, and it put the Astros ahead for good. He finished 2 for 5 with 2 runs and 3 RBI, and his now hitting .360/.404/.550 on the year.
*Jordan Schafer tied the Astros franchise record for consecutive games reaching base to start a season with his 25th straight such game tonight. He reached on an error in his first at bat in the first inning, reached in the 2nd on a fielders choice and also reached via a walk on his last at bat in the 8th. He also notched his 10th and 11th stolen bases of the year. Have I mentioned how much I love the way this guy plays?
*Jed Lowrie. What is there left to say about this guy? He bats from the 5 hole tonight, and goes 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI. He also made a great turn and strong throw on the key double play in the 9th. He's hitting .338/.430/.514 on the season.
*Chris Johnson made his third error of the season tonight, a throwing error. He also went 0 for 4 with a strikeout at the plate.
*Did anybody else watching the game notice when Brad Mills was handing out high fives to everybody after the game that Justin Maxwell and Mills turned away from each other when Maxwell reached him in the line and didn't high five? Maybe i'm reading too much into it, but i'm sensing some conflict there for sure. Perhaps Maxwell thinks he should be starting more often. Who knows. Something could come up in the next few days.
*Since I love to pick on Bogusevic I might as well point out that he went 0 for 3 tonight and is now hitting a lowly .231 on the season. BUT he did pick up a walk, and his OBP - believe it or not - is a very good .348. He'll come around.
*How fun was tonights game to watch? High scoring at the start, including a homerun by Altuve, a pitchers duel in the middle innings, and then some nail biting moments at the end, capped by Altuve's very heads up double play - all ending in the Astros 4th straight win. This is a FUN team to watch this year.
Altuve's 3 run shot in the 2nd put the Astros up 5-2. Although there were some nail biting moments after that....it was all the Astros ended up needing.
Man of the Match:
Altuve again. Not only did he have the huge 3 run shot, but he had the equally huge heads-up double play in the 9th which was potentially a big turning point. Great job by our small second baseman tonight!
Goat of the Game:
From Man of the Match to Goat of the Game in back to back games. Chris Johnson went 0 for 4 with a strikeout and an error.