Justin Germano (2-6, 6.16) vs Jordan Lyles (3-11, 5.55)
Back to .500 in September! Houston's offense tonight scratched out even less than last night, but this time, their pitching and defense were up to the task. Jordan Lyles and a cavalcade of relievers held the Cubs in check all night long, Justin Maxwell starred on both sides of the ball, and the Astros came away triumphant with a 1-0 win. It was their fifth win in September (tying their total for all of August), putting them at 5-5 this month and 45-97 on the season.
*Jordan's 94 pitches ended his night after five innings, but he turned in a sterling performance for the time that he was on the mound. Lyles' line: 5 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 2 BB / 5 K. Xavier Cedeno was shaky, giving up two hits while recording only one out, but Mickey Storey (and Justin Maxwell) bailed him out of the inning. Wesley Wright, Jose Valdez, and Wilton Lopez turned in a scoreless inning each thereafter, and Lopez earned his fourth save.
*Not much to report offensively for Houston - three singles and a double, plus three walks and a sac fly. Contrasted against 12 strikeouts, it could have looked a lot uglier if the pitching staff hadn't picked them up.
*Justin Maxwell was the star again, going 1 for 2 with a walk, a stolen base, and a RBI on a sac fly. He also contributed a huge outfield assist in the 6th to keep Chicago off the board.
*Jimmy Paredes scored the run after singling and advancing to third on a later throwing error. He finished 1 for 4 with a stolen base and two strikeouts.
*Fernando Martinez had the only Astro extra-base hit, doubling to go 1 for 3.
*Scott Moore had the only other Houston hit, singling as a pinch hitter for Lyles in the 5th.
*Carlos Corporan had the least impressive of many unspectacular nights at the plate, going 0 for 4 with three Ks and leaving seven runners on base in his ABs.
Lyles handed off the 1-0 lead to Xavier Cedeno in the 6th, but Starlin Castro greeted him with a single. After a strikeout of Steve Clevenger, Dave Sappelt added a double to give the Cubs two runners in scoring position with only one out. Mickey Storey took over for Cedeno and got Darwin Barney to fly out to center on his second pitch, but the ball was plenty deep enough to score Castro from third. Justin Maxwell made a very heads up play, however, and fired to third to catch Sappelt trying to move up. The out was recorded at third before Castro crossed the plate, so the shutout (and the win) were preserved.
Man of the Match:
Huge honorable mention to Jordan Lyles, but I've gotta go with Justin Maxwell. Subtract either his RBI or his run-saving throw and all the great pitching is wasted.
Good guys win!