Lucas Harrell (7-6, 4.33) vs A.J. Burnett (9-2, 3.31)
Bloody 'ell. Here's the good news: at least Houston didn't have Roy Oswalt's night in Chicago. The bad news: Remember Drew Sutton? Mr. PTBNL-traded-for-Jeff-Keppinger back in 2009? The Astros couldn't hold leads of 4-0 and 6-2, and 9th inning heroics by Jason Castro were wasted when Sutton stroked a walk-off homer to dead center, sending Houston to a heartbreaking 8-7 defeat. The Astros officially close the first half of 2012 with six straight losses and a 32-49 record.
*It started out so promising... Lucas Harrell tied a career high with 9 K, through only 3.2 innings. But all those strikeouts ran up his pitch count to 90 after 5, and pitches 91-100 in the 6th resulted in three straight singles and three Pirate runs, betraying how well he pitched up to that point. Harrell's final line: 5 IP / 9 H / 5 R / 5 ER / 0 BB / 9 K. He was still in line for the win at that point, but Brandon Lyon gave up a two-run homer to Garrett Jones, then Wesley Wright surrendered the walk-off to Sutton. Fernando Rodriguez looks like he escaped unscathed, with one scoreless inning, but that doesn't tell the whole story - he inherited two runners from Harrell, and allowed both to score following a wild pitch and a single.
*The offense actually did a great job tonight, with 13 hits their highest total since they also had 13 in a 9-8 victory over St. Louis on June 5.
*Houston had six doubles - two for Carlos Lee, and one apiece for Scott Moore, Jose Altuve, Chris Synder, and Jason Castro.
*Four Astros had two hits each - Jordan Schafer (2 for 5, 2 RBI), Jed Lowrie (2 for 3, BB, 2 RBI), Carlos Lee (2 for 5), and Lucas Harrell (2 for 3).
*Snyder had a multi-walk night, going 1 for 2 with 2 BB and 2 runs scored.
*Castro pinch-hit for Lyon in the 9th with Lowrie on first, and he delivered a two-out, two-strike double to right off Joel Hanrahan that tied the game at 7 all.
*J.D. Martinez was the only Houston starter without a hit, going 0 for 5 with a K.
Wesley Wright's hanging curveball to Sutton with one out in the 9th. Following Castro the Astro in the top of the inning, you thought this just might be the night Houston finally got that first extra-innings win. Alas, it was not to be.
Man of the Match:
Jason Castro. At least he had us feeling great for a little while...
Goat of the Game:
It's hard to go with anyone but the losing pitcher in a walk-off scenario, so... sorry, Wesley Wright. No other Astros pitcher really did any better tonight, though.