Erik Bedard (0-2, 5.68) vs Tyler Chatwood (3-0, 1.90)
An embarrassment of riches! After a pair of pitcher's duels against Colorado (!) the previous two days, and another through 8 innings in Denver tonight, that's how tonight's three-run 9th inning felt. But the Astros doubled their evening's offensive output in that one frame, and thereby gave Jose Veras enough wiggle room to avoid blowing another lead. Houston takes the first half of the two-game set at Coors Field by a 6-3 score, and they move three games ahead of Miami for NOT being the worst in the majors, at 16-37.
On the Mound:
*Erik Bedard detractors, take note: since rejoining the rotation on May 11, he's given up only exactly two runs in each of four straight starts now, good for a 3.27 ERA over that span. Tonight's line: 6 IP / 7 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 3 BB / 4 K.
*Bedard left the game in a 2-2 tie, so Paul Clemens was the beneficiary of Houston's late heroics, getting the win for 1.2 innings scoreless.
*Travis Blackley followed Clemens and did nothing good at all, walking both batters that he faced.
*Hector Ambriz got the last out of the 8th, thanks to a huge diving catch by Carlos Pena.
*Houston's half of the 9th meant that Jose Veras came in tonight with a 6-2 lead instead of 3-2, which was good, because Troy Tulowitzki took him deep. But that solo shot was all he allowed, retiring his other three hitters.
At the Plate:
*The Astros only had four hits through the first seven innings tonight, before two in the 8th and four more in the 9th.
*J.D. Martinez had the big hit in the 8th - a RBI single to cap his night at 2 for 4 with a R and 2 K.
*I'll confess that I'm liking this Carlos Pena fellow. He immediately followed his crucial catch to end the 8th with a solo home run to start the 9th, giving him a 1 for 3 day with a BB and 2 K.
*Brandon Barnes got the start in CF in spite of Tyler Chatwood's right-handedness, following Robbie Grossman's demotion, and he responded with a 2 for 4 day, including a R, a sac bunt, and a RBI.
*Jason Castro (0 for 3, 2 K) and Matt Dominguez (0 for 3, K) each earned a RBI on a sac fly.
*Trevor Crowe, Jimmy Paredes, and Marwin Gonzalez had one official AB, one single, and one run scored apiece. Marwin also had a RBI and a sac bunt.
*Chris Carter doubled to go 1 for 3 with 2 K.
*Jose Altuve was 1 for 4 with a walk, a strikeout, a steal, and a caught stealing.
With the score 2-all after 7 innings complete, Marwin Gonzalez started the 8th with a single to center. Brandon Barnes laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Gonzalez to second, then Edgmer Escalona intentionally walked Jose Altuve to get to AL Player of the Week Jason Castro. The gamble initially paid off, as Castro struck out, but then J.D. Martinez made the Rockies pay with a RBI single to break the tie.
Man of the Match:
Going with Erik Bedard. And props to Houston pitching overall - Colorado has the 6th-best team OPS in MLB (.764), and 1st in the NL, but Astros pitchers have held them to 7 total runs over 30 innings.
Goat of the Game:
Travis Blackley. If Carlos Pena hadn't caught that Jordan Pacheco liner in the 8th, one or both of Blackley's runners would have scored, and this game could have turned out very differently.