Travis Wood (5-11, 4.42) vs Fernando Abad (0-3, 5.30)
No matter how good your pitching staff, it's very hard to win ballgames when you only score one run. For three straight games, against the 14th-best pitching staff in the league, only one Astro crossed home plate each night. That they managed to scratch out a win in one of those games is impressive, but tonight, it was all Cubs. Astros lose 5-1, for their 98th defeat of the season.
*None of Houston's pitchers tonight were completely awful, but most of them were not particularly effective either. Fernando Abad started and didn't make it through the fourth, leaving with two runners on and a 3.1 IP / 4 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 3 BB / 2 K line. Chuckie Fick kept those two from scoring, but allowed a run of his own in the 5th. A scoreless 6th from Enerio Del Rosario was followed by Fernando Rodriguez giving up a run in the 7th. The 8th was scary for Mickey Storey, as after recording the first out, Dave Sappelt hit a liner back to the mound that glanced off Storey's shoulder before catching him hard in the face. He walked off on his own, but Jose Valdez came on and allowed the run to score. Rhiner Cruz then allowed one more run in the 9th.
*Very little on offense for the Astros once again - six hits and three walks, but most of that didn't come until the 8th or 9th inning.
*Brandon Barnes had Houston's only extra-base hit, and their only multi-hit game, going 2 for 3 with a double, a run scored, and a strikeout.
*Jose Altuve returned to the starting lineup and went 1 for 4 with a K.
*Jed Lowrie likewise returned to the lineup and went 0 for 3 with a walk and a K.
*Justin Maxwell extended his hitting streak to six games, going 1 for 3 with a walk and a K.
*J.D. Martinez went 1 for 4 with a particularly frustrating strikeout (more on that in a minute), though he did also have a nice outfield assist, gunning down Alfonso Soriano trying to stretch a single into a double.
*Fernando Martinez had the other hit, and the only RBI, with a single in a pinch-hit appearance. He's now reached base in 9 straight games when getting at least one plate appearance.
Until Brandon Barnes' two-out double in the 8th, the Astros had only managed three singles and a walk against Travis Wood all game, never getting two runners on in the same inning or getting any runner past first base. Barnes' double was followed by a RBI pinch-hit single from Fernando Martinez, then Altuve singled and Lowrie walked to load the bases. Down 4-1, J.D. Martinez came to the plate representing the go-ahead run, but he struck out to end Houston's only significant scoring threat.
Man of the Match:
Brandon Barnes. He'd be getting a nice set of headphones if the Astros had somehow won.
Goat of the Game:
Plenty of scapegoats both at the plate and on the mound, but J.D. Martinez had the most notable failure. He was in line for Man of the Match until Barnyard started the rally that J.D. killed.