Yovani Gallardo (6-6, 3.87) vs J.A. Happ (6-8, 4.81)
It was not a happy homecoming for the Astros. J.A. Happ was victimized by the long ball (and perhaps by being left in the game a bit too long), and Houston's offense sputtered again. It all added up to a 7-1 Milwaukee win, and the Astros' ninth loss in a row. Houston now sits at 32-52 in 2012, and with the Cubs' and Rockies' wins tonight, the Astros fall into last place in the division - and in the majors - for the first time all season.
*Happ had a shaky first inning, but pitched well overall through the first five before dropping off in the 6th and 7th. He surrendered three home runs in a game for the first time since June 14, 2009, ending the night with this line: 6.1 IP / 9 H / 7 R / 7 ER / 1 BB / 4 K. Enerio Del Rosario, fresh up from OKC, gave up a hit in two-thirds of an inning that allowed the runner he inherited from Happ to score. Rhiner Cruz then had a walk and a HBP in two hitless, scoreless innings of mop-up work.
*Only five Houston hits tonight, and only one for extra bases - a titanic HR blast by Scott Moore into the right field mezzanine in the 1st.
*Chris Johnson, the Astros' de facto 1B until the All-Star Break, went 1 for 3 with a walk.
*Jason Castro had a nice night at the plate, at least, going 2 for 3 with a HBP and a K.
*Matt Dominguez recorded his first hit as an Astro with a two-out single in the 9th. He'd end the night 1 for 4 with a K.
*Jose Altuve went 0 for 4 to drop his average to .299, the first time he's been below .300 since April 13. Altuve has slumped to a .200 / .243 / .277 line in 16 games since Matt Cain perfect game'd the Astros on June 13.
After getting Carlos Gomez to ground out to short leading off the game, Happ was greeted by back-to-back homers from Norichika Aoki and Ryan Braun, putting Houston in a 2-0 hole before recording a second out. The Astros would get one back in the bottom of the inning, and the game stayed close until the sixth, but it was all downhill from there.
Man of the Match:
Jason Castro. He never scored or drove anybody in, but at least he got on base three out of four times, which was more than any other Astro could say.
Goat of the Game:
J.A. Happ. Maybe Brad Mills should have pulled him before he had the chance to surrender three more runs in the 7th, but the four runs he served up on homers before that had already lost Houston the game.