Gio Gonzalez (13-6, 3.34) vs Armando Galarraga (0-1, 5.23)
If it's any consolation to Astros fans this series, they've lost three games to the winningest team in the majors, but at least they've lost all three games with the tying and/or winning runs on base. So they've been really close to winning three games against the winningest team in the majors. The other side of that coin, however, is that it's a crushing way to keep losing. Tonight's final: 4-3 Washington, and the 2012 Astros remain a game back of the 2011 Astros, at 36-76.
*New and exciting ways to lose! Tonight, Armando Galarraga allowed three runs on a balk, a hit batter, and a home run to the opposing pitcher. But his line was great if you like palindromes: 5 IP / 6 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 6 BB / 5 K. That was it for earned runs, as Xavier Cedeno and Rhiner Cruz each worked a scoreless inning on either side of Chuckie Fick's two innings of work. Fick allowed an unearned run on a Matt Downs throwing error, however, which ended up the difference in the game.
*Justin Maxwell remained hot and drove in Houston's first run, going 2 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout.
*Jose Altuve scored that first run, finishing 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, a steal, and a strikeout.
*J.D. Martinez went 1 for 3 with a run scored.
*Carlos Corporan went 0 for 3, but drove in Martinez on a sac fly.
*Brandon Barnes got his first big league hit on a single in the 9th, going 1 for 4 with a strikeout and a run scored, after Ben Francisco singled to drive him in.
*Steve Pearce (1 for 3) and Matt Downs (1 for 5, K) also had hits for Houston.
Gio Gonzalez deserves credit for pitching a great game, but it looked like the Astros might finally get the better of him in the 9th. After a lead-off ground out by Corporan, Brandon Barnes singled, then advanced to second on a ground out by Marwin Gonzalez. Ben Francisco drove in Barnes on a single to make it 4-3, then Jose Altuve singled and advanced to second on the throw, putting the tying and winning runs in scoring position. Matt Downs struck out swinging to end the game.
Man of the Match:
Jose Altuve. He only scored once, but he got on base and got himself into scoring position three times in five plate appearances.
Goat of the Game:
Matt Downs. His error in the 7th cost the Astros a run, then he struck out with the chance to be a hero in the 9th.