Jordan Lyles (3-1, 4.03) vs Jeremy Bonderman (1-1, 6.75)
Oh my gosh, Chris Carter, we love you. For the first 26 innings of this series, Houston pitching had limited Seattle to 8 total runs. Seattle was on the cusp of a three-game sweep, however, because Houston defense had committed 7 errors, and Houston offense only had 2 runs of their own to show. But then Chris Beautiful, Brilliant Carter snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, doubling Houston's run total for the series in one critical swing, and propelling the Astros to a 6-1 win tonight. The losing streak is snapped at 6, and the Astros head into a long-awaited off day at 23-44.
On the Mound:
*Jordan Lyles straight up dealt tonight. Bud Norris may be Houston's ace with a 3.47 ERA, but Lyles has lowered his ERA to a nearly identical 3.48, following tonight's sterling 7 IP / 3 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 2 BB / 10 K line.
*No love for Hector Ambriz, though. He faced two batters in the 8th, allowing a single to Endy Chavez, and Jason Bay reached on a Marwin Gonzalez error.
*Travis Blackley came in to clear up the damage and nearly did so, recording two outs before allowing a RBI single by Nick Franklin (UER charged to Ambriz) that looked at the time like a crushing blow.
*(Not Roger) Clemens took over for the final out of the 8th, then set the Mariners down in order in the 9th to make sure there would be no further drama tonight.
At the Plate:
*The offense was a very sad story again through the first 8 innings, with only three hits and no runs to show against Jeremy Bonderman.
*Jason Castro was one of the few to reach against Bonderman, and his single in the 9th started the 6-run rally. Castro finished 2 for 3 with a double, two walks, and a run scored.
*Brandon Barnes also had a double off of Bonderman, and contributed a RBI single in the 9th to end up 2 for 4 with a run scored and a K.
*Chris Carter! He was 0 for 3 with a K coming into the 9th, but a bases-loaded, two-run double then made him the man of the hour.
*Jose Altuve couldn't miss out on the fun, adding a two-run single of his own in the 9th to finish 1 for 5 with a K.
*J.D. Martinez singled ahead of Carter in the 9th and finished 1 for 3 with a walk. (Trevor Crowe pinch ran for J.D. and scored the run.)
*Marwin Gonzalez singled in the top of the 8th, but then got caught stealing, and of course committed the almost-game-losing error in the bottom of that frame. He finished 1 for 4 with a K.
*Carlos Pena (0 for 3, IBB, 2 K), Jimmy Paredes (pinch-ran for Carter), and Matt Dominguez (0 for 3, IBB) also scored in the 9th.
There was no joy in Mudville until Jason Castro and J.D. Martinez led off the 9th with back-to-back singles against Tom Wilhelmsen. Carlos Corporan sac bunted the runners up to second and third, bringing Carlos Pena to the plate, but Pena was intentionally walked to restore the double play possibility. That brought Chris Carter to bat, and Carter responded with the righteous indignation of a man insulted by an IBB. Carter laced Wilhelmsen's second pitch into the gap in left center, plating Castro and pinch runner Trevor Crowe, and suddenly Houston had a 2-1 lead. The inning would continue single-K-single-walk-walk to extend the lead to 6-1, assuring Houston of their first win in a week.
Man of the Match:
CHRIS CARTER. We freakin' love you. (And Jordan Lyles, we love you too.)
Goat of the Game:
Marwin Gonzalez. Were it not for CHRIS CARTER and the 9th-inning rally, his error would have subjected Houston to a humiliating, infuriating sweep.