Jamie Garcia (5-7, 4.25) vs Lucas Harrell (10-10, 3.89)
Well. Happy Jose Altuve Day, I guess. That's about all the Astros had to celebrate tonight, and all they've had to celebrate this month against the Cardinals. While Houston is 10-8 in September against the rest of the league, they're now 0-5 against St. Louis this month, following tonight's 4-0 defeat. The loss pushes the Astros to within one of their 2011 total, now 50-105 with seven games to go.
*That Lucas Harrell allowed 13 baserunners in his five innings but still only allowed two to score is really quite remarkable. His six walks tonight were a career high. The night could have gone much worse for him and for Houston, but with the Astros offense in deep freeze this week, their pitchers can't afford any mistakes. Therefore, Lucas' losing line: 5 IP / 7 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 6 BB / 1 K. Xavier Cedeno pitched a perfect 6th, and Hector Ambriz a perfect 7th, but Ambriz ran into trouble and allowed two runs in one-third of the 8th. Wesley Wright finished out the other two-thirds, then Mickey Storey tossed a perfect 9th.
*Were it not for Scott Moore, the Astros would have been the victims now of three consecutive shutouts. He was 1 for 1 tonight after coming in on a double-switch in the 8th, but that one was only a bases-empty single, so he couldn't get the Astros on the board again.
*In fact, all of Houston's seven hits tonight were singles, and they never drew a walk.
*Jose Altuve did go 2 for 4 on his "Day," for his 50th multi-hit game of the season.
*Brandon Laird went 2 for 3 and is now hitting .346 in 13 games (26 AB) as an Astro.
*Justin Maxwell and Matt Downs had identical days, each going 1 for 4 with a K.
*The Astros did only strike out six times tonight, but three of those were by Brandon Barnes, in each of his three ABs.
Down 2-0, the Astros had yet to get a runner past second base going into the bottom half of the 7th, so the Cardinals were on cruise control. Justin Maxwell led off with a single, then Matt Downs popped up, but Brandon Laird also singled to move Maxwell around to third and to put the tying runs on base with only one out. The "threat" was extremely short-lived, however, as Chris Snyder grounded into a 6-4-3 double play on the first pitch he saw. That was as close as Houston ever came to doing anything offensively tonight.
Man of the Match:
Jose Altuve. For returning on his "Day" from minor injury with another multi-hit night.
Goat of the Game:
Chris Snyder. 0 for 3 with a K and 4 LOB. But the offense as a whole was equally offensive again.