Tuesday, April 23, 2013

From the Office of the County Clerk: G20 - Astros v. Mariners

Hisashi Iwakuma (2-0, 1.69) vs Bud Norris (2-2, 4.74)

Take that, Geoff Baker. One night after a loss to Felix Hernandez reinforced how the "Lastros" are "one of the worst teams of all-time," Houston faced off against Seattle's best starter so far and (*gasp!*) actually won a game. Bud Norris wasn't at his best, but he was good enough, and a balanced offensive attack in support of his efforts led the Astros to a 3-2 victory. The win evens this Seattle series at a game apiece, and the Astros improve to 6-14 on the season.

On the Mound:

*Bud was far from his BudChuck best, allowing 10 base runners in 5 innings and needing 96 pitches to do it. But he scattered the damage and pitched out of jams, and ultimately let in only one run - a huge boost in light of Houston's recent starting pitching woes. Bud's unattractive-but-effective line: 5 IP / 8 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 BB / 2 K.

*Travis Blackley came in for the 6th and tossed two perfect innings, before a Kendrys Morales HR leading off the 8th chased him from the game.

*Hector Ambriz stepped in and pitched a perfect 8th to hold onto the 3-2 Houston lead.

*And then Jose Veras in the 9th. But Jose was perfect tonight, recording 2 K's en route to his second Astros save.

At the Plate:

*Every Astro starter reached based at least once, except for Rick Ankiel, who did not homer but went 0 for 4 with 2 K.

*Marwin Gonzalez must be eating his Wheaties, as he cranked his third HR of the season - his most at any pro level since he had a whopping 4 with AA Tennessee in 2010. Marwin finished 1 for 3 with a K.

*Bad news for Justin Maxwell and the Astros. Maxwell got a painful RBI, getting hit on the hand with a bases-loaded pitch in the 3rd. He would later leave the game in favor of Brandon Barnes, as it turns out the hand is broken.

*Chris Carter was responsible for the other Astros run, though he didn't get RBI credit - his two-out single in the first moved Jason Castro around to third, but an error by Raul Ibanez let Castro come in to score. Trogdor finished 1 for 4 with 3 K.

*Jose Altuve kept it going, now up to a 9-game streak after going 1 for 4 with a R, a BB, and K tonight.

*Jason Castro scored a run, as mentioned, and went 1 for 3 with a walk, a SB, and 2 K.

*Matt Dominguez went multi-hit with a double and a single, finishing 2 for 4.

*Brandon Barnes went 1 for 2 after stepping in for Maxwell in the 5th.

*Carlos Pena was hitless, but kept the OBP up with two walks alongside his 0 for 2, K night.

*Fernando Martinez mirrored Chris Carter's line, going 1 for 4 with 3 K.

Turning Point:

With the score tied 1-1, Marwin Gonzalez started Houston's half of the 3rd with a solo shot to RF. Jose Altuve and Fernando Martinez followed with back-to-back singles, then Jason Castro and Chris Carter followed with back-to-back strikeouts. That got Hisashi Iwakuma to intentionally walk Carlos Pena, loading the bases, but his third pitch to Justin Maxwell hit him in the hand, forcing in what would be the winning run.

Man of the Match:

Bud Norris. Another inning or two might have been nice, but he still out-dueled a tough mound opponent for a well-earned win.

Goat of the Game:

King K Ankiel. He's homering at a rate only Justin Upton can beat, but he's also fanning at a clip no one can touch.