Saturday, April 6, 2013

From the Office of the County Clerk: G5 - Astros v. Athletics

Bartolo Colon (0-0, -.--) vs Bud Norris (1-0, 3.18)

First, the good news: The Astros did a great job of cutting down on their team strikeouts - only 4 tonight. And Jason Castro shook off his early season struggles to look like the man poised for a breakout season in spring training. But the bad news: Bud Norris was strong through five, but ran out of gas in the 6th, and that combined with a Ronny Cedeno error cost Houston the game. Astros fall again, by a 6-3 margin.

On the Mound:

*Like Brad Peacock one night ago, the only stain on Bud Norris' record through the first five was a solo homer by Coco Crisp. He entered the 6th with a 3-1 lead, but a pitch count of 91, and he would throw 31 more before leaving the game with two on and the score tied 3-3. The final book on Bud tonight: 5.2 IP / 6 H / 5 R / 2 ER / 1 BB / 4 K.

*Wesley Wright came in to get the final out of the 6th, but not before surrendering a pair of singles that gave Oakland a 5-3 lead.

*Dallas Keuchel, fresh up from OKC following Travis Blackley's injury, came in to piggyback Bud for the final three innings. Kid Keuchy's line: 3 IP / 3 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 1 K.

At the Plate:

*Jason Castro looked like the next next next Jose Bautista down in Kissimmee, but he looked like anything but through the first four games of the regular season (.067/.067/.133). Tonight he changed all of that, going 2 for 4 with a 3-run HR that gave the Astros their first lead since Opening Day.

*Justin Maxwell went 2 for 4 with a run scored to raise his season average to .333.

*J.D. Martinez also had a multi-hit game, starting in place of King K Ankiel and going 2 for 4.

*Jose Altuve hit safely for the fifth consecutive game, starting at DH and going 1 for 4.

*Carlos Pena had the Astros' other hit, going 1 for 4 with a run scored.

Turning Point:

Bud Norris entered the 6th with a 3-1 lead, then old friend Dickie Thon Jed Lowrie sent his second pitch into the right field seats to make it 3-2. Three pitches later, Bud should have had his first out of the 6th, but Ronny Cedeno muffed the play, allowing Josh Reddick to reach safely. 11 pitches after that, Bud had two more outs, and would have been out of the inning if not for Cedeno's error. But a walk and a single tied the score and chased Bud from the game, then two singles more against lefty Wesley Wright gave Oakland a game-winning lead.

Man of the Match:

Jason Castro. More games like this and less like the first four, and Castro the Astro could revolutionize Houston's checkered catching history.

Goat of the Game:

Ronny Cedeno. He's not on this team for his offense, and if his defense keeps costing the Astros games like this, he'll find himself in the unemployment line again before long.