Bud Norris (5-11, 4.80) vs Bronson Arroyo (11-7, 3.76)
One day, the Astros will again win back-to-back games on the road, which they haven't done since April. One day, Bud Norris will again win any game at all, which he hasn't done since May. But that day is not today. Bud and the Astros lose to Cincinnati, 5-1, and inch closer to the ignominious century mark, at 43-96.
*Bud was going well tonight through the first five frames, allowing just four hits and no walks, albeit two of those four hits on solo home runs. But the evening unravelled rapidly for Cuddly Budly in the 6th, leaving him with an ugly 5.1 IP / 6 H / 5 R / 5 ER / 2 BB / 4 K line. Fernando Rodriguez (0.2 IP) relieved Bud with the bases loaded and a 3-1 score, but his own throwing error resulted in the final two runs charged to Bud's line. Xavier Cedeno (0.2 IP) and Jose Valdez (1.1 IP) kept the Reds off the board for the final two frames after that.
*Houston actually out-hit the Reds 9-8 tonight, and three Astros had multi-hit games, but the team also left 9 LOBsters stranded.
*Fernando Martinez reached base in each of his three PA tonight, going 2 for 2 with a walk, a double, and scoring Houston's only run.
*Justin Maxwell was responsible for giving Houston a first-inning lead for the second night in a row, singling home F-Mart and finishing 1 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout. He also contributed a nice sliding catch on Wilson Valdez in the 2nd.
*J.D. Martinez singled twice to go 2 for 4 on the night. He's hit safely in each of his three games since returning to the majors.
*Matt Dominguez also continued swinging a hot stick, singling twice to go 2 for 4 himself. He's now hitting .361 (13 for 36) in 12 games with the big club.
*Tyler Greene (1 for 3, K) and Matt Downs (1 for 1) had Houston's other hits.
*Jimmy Paredes moved back to 2B in place of the injured Jose Altuve and went 0 for 5 with 2 K.
At 2-1 midway through the 6th, Houston was hanging tough against the division leaders, but then their evening quickly came unglued. A leadoff ground-rule double for Joey Votto and a lineout for Ryan Ludwick were followed by an intentional walk to Jay Bruce and an unintentional walk to Todd Frazier, loading the bases. Ryan Hanigan dunked a single into right field to drive home Votto and chase Norris from the game, but things only got worse after Bud left. Fernando Rodriguez came in to face Wilson Valdez for a 10-pitch at bat, eventually getting him to chop weakly to the left side of the mound, but the play turned into the ugly step-sister of Lucas Harrell's DP in an identical situation last night. F-Rod slid to stop the ball and flubbed the initial grab, so it was too late for him to get the runner at home by the time he had possession. However, he made the very ill-advised throw anyway, which came nowhere remotely near home plate and allowed two Reds to trot home.
Man of the Match:
Fernando Martinez. He's now hitting .317/.391/.610 in his last 15 games.
Goat of the Game:
Fernando Rodriguez. What could have been another inning-ending, rally-killing double play turned into a dagger to Houston's hopes.