Andy Pettitte (10-11, 3.88) vs Paul Clemens (4-6, 5.69)
I cannot speak for other Astros fans, nor will I try. I cannot even speak for my fellow Astros bloggers. But as a lifelong Astros fan and Houston native, I cannot remember a time when I was more excited about our Astros than in the 2003 offseason when Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens came home. Without those two, the 2005 World Series team doesn't happen, and subsequent events aside, those are great memories that still remain. So I was well pleased that Pettitte got to make the final start of his career back at Minute Maid Park, even if it was while wearing the opponent's colors. Tonight was vintage Andy from start to finish; unfortunately it was also vintage 2013 Astros. Pettitte twirls a complete game 5-hitter, the winning run scores on another GIF-worthy Astros error, and Houston falls to the Yankees 2-1. The losing streak is now at 14 and the season loss total is 110, with one game left to play.
On the Mound:
*Paul Clemens is (Not Roger), but tonight he pitched like his more famous namesake, and for much of the night even out-dueled Roger's old friend. A cut on his finger may have contributed to a shaky 6th inning, and so (Not Roger) ends up a footnote on Andy's big night. His line: 5.1 IP / 5 H / 2 R / 1 ER / 1 BB / 4 K.
*Chia-Jen Lo walked one and got the final two outs of the 6th, but was on the mound when the winning run scored, though that was hardly his fault - more on that in a bit.
*Rhiner Cruz, Kevin Chapman, and Josh Zeid each recorded a pair of outs apiece to get Houston through the 7th and 8th with no further damage.
*Then Josh Fields allowed only a single to Ichiro in an otherwise uneventful 9th.
At the Plate:
*Houston struck first against Pettitte, when Chris Carter made it 1-0 Astros on a RBI groundout in the 4th. Carter finished 1 for 4.
*Jose Altuve scored the run and went 2 for 4, plus also saved at least a pair of runs on a fantastic diving catch with the bases loaded in the 6th.
*J.D. Martinez had a double and went 1 for 4 with a K.
*Matt Pagnozzi had a hit and a walk to finish 1 for 2 with a K, but his singular throwing error in the 6th gave New York the go-ahead run.
Paul Clemens had a 2-hit shutout going when Chris Stewart led off the 6th with a single. While facing Curtis Granderson next, there was a delay as the trainer examined an apparent cut on (Not Roger)'s hand, though he stayed in and got Granderson to K. But back-to-back singles by Eduardo Nunez and Robinson Cano followed, tying the score at 1 and bringing on Chia-Jen Lo. Lo began by walking Alfonso Soriano, then Lyle Overbay laced a liner up the middle, but Altuve made a brilliant diving effort to catch it on the fly, keeping the bases loaded. On Lo's first pitch to Zoilo Almonte, catcher Matt Pagnozzi attempted a pickoff throw to second, but Pagnozzi somehow spiked the ball in the dirt in front of home plate, allowing Nunez to score from third in blooper reel fashion with the winning run.
Man of the Match:
Here I would normally pick Clemens or Altuve, but this was Andy Pettitte's night all the way. Love him or hate him, Hollywood could hardly have written a better ending to Andy's career.
Goat of the Game:
Matt Pagnozzi. Because this.