Wandy Rodriguez (7-9, 3.79) vs Armando Galarraga (0-0, 0.00)
Et tu, Wandy? Armando "Almost Perfect" Galarraga pitched well in his first Astros start, and Wandy did likewise in his debut on the other side of the line. But Houston's bullpen did them in once more, sending the Astros to a franchise record 12th consecutive loss. 4-3 final, dropping Houston to 34-68 on the year.
*Galarraga gave up a tape-measure home run to the game's second batter (Alex Presley), and a triple to Garrett Jones later in the inning, but he settled in well after that, finishing with this line: 5 IP / 5 H / 3 R / 2 ER / 1 BB / 5 K. Wesley Wright took over for Galarraga in the 6th after a single and a Matt Downs error allowed the first two Pirates to reach. Wright then hit a batter to load the bases, got a double play to nearly escape, but a passed ball by Carlos Corporan let the tying run score. New Astro Chuckie Fick pitched a scoreless 7th, but he left with runners on the corners and no outs in the 8th, in favor of Fernando Rodriguez. F-Rod likewise almost escaped, getting the first two outs, before allowing the RBI single to Rod Barajas that would be the final blow. Wilton Lopez pitched a perfect 9th.
*Jose Altuve had his 36th multi-hit game of 2012, going 2 for 5 with a run scored from the leadoff spot. El Escorpion is 13 for 33 (.394) in the last 8 games.
*Carlos Corporan also continues to swing surprisingly well since getting the call from OKC. He was 2 for 4 with a RBI tonight, raising his batting average to .409 (9 for 22) in 9 games so far.
*Justin Maxwell had a clutch two-out triple in the bottom of the 5th that drove in two runs and gave Houston a 3-2 lead at the time. He'd go 1 for 3 with a run scored and a walk.
*Matt Downs (1 for 4) and Scott Moore (1 for 2) also had hits, while Chris Johnson, J.D. Martinez, Ben Francisco, and Brian Bixler all went hitless but reached on walks.
The above-mentioned 8th inning. The justification given for Fernando Rodriguez's continued presence on this team is his success in keeping inherited runners from scoring, but for the second night in a row, he was brought in in just such a situation and allowed a run to score both times. As both games were 1-run affairs, that has cost Houston dearly.
Man of the Match:
Justin Maxwell. His clutch hit today, as well as his obvious enthusiasm after reaching third, are both things that this team sorely needs more of right now.
Goat of the Game:
We'll go with the bullpen collectively, excepting Wilton Lopez. Wright, Fick, and Rodriguez all played parts in letting the tying and winning runs score. Toss in Downs and Corporan for their error and passed ball contributions, as well. The Astros could have easily won 4 of their last 5, but the bullpen has made sure that the now-record losing streak continued instead.