Brett Oberholtzer (0-3, 3.50) vs Scott Kazmir (2-0, 1.40)
Oh, goatpen. How we did not miss you. Shades of 2013 creeping in, as Houston took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th, looking to close out the win. But then it got tighter. And then it was tied. And then the game had slipped away. Astros lose a heartbreaker, 4-3, and the losing streak is now at 6. They fall to 5-13 on the year.
On the Mound:
*Brett Oberholtzer is trying singlehandedly to make that Michael Bourn trade look not so bad after all. He continues to show the solid command we came to expect last season, and hasn't had a bad start yet this year, today with a 5.2 IP / 8 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 BB / 3 K line.
*The bullpen today was actually okay until the 9th, as Anthony Bass turned in 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing only a walk.
*Matt Albers allowed two hits but no runs in his turn in the 8th.
*But then, Chad Qualls. Brought into the save situation, but instead he leaked like a sieve. A walk, four hits (including a solo homer), and three runs allowed in one-third of an inning. Blown save and an earned loss.
At the Plate:
*Jonathan Villar is starting to look like a major league shortstop, y'all. He's shown great strides on defense this year (still errorless to date), he's a burner on the bases, and now he's starting to bring some surprising pop with his bat. Today it was a solo HR, a double, and a run created with his legs after an Oakland error on a stolen base. He finished 2x3.
*George Springer's hitting streak still matches his big league career, and he recorded his first XBH today - a double - to go 1x4 with a K.
*Chris Carter is still looking for his first home run of 2014, but he added his fifth double today, going 1x2 with a BB, a HBP, and R.
*L.J. Hoes also doubled and went 1x4 with 2 K.
*Jose Altuve is 7x7 in SB attempts now after going 1x4 with a pair of steals today.
*Matt Dominguez was 1x4 with Houston's other hit and RBI.
Chad Qualls' 9th, obviously. The Astros' 3-1 lead had held steady since the 5th, until
Dickie Thon Jed Lowrie led off the bottom of the 9th with a solo HR against Qualls. That wouldn't have mattered, but a walk to Josh Donaldson and a single by Yoenis Cespedes put the winning run on base with no outs. Qualls got pinch-hitter John Jaso to K, but that was the only out he would record, as Alberto Callaspo and Josh Reddick followed with back-to-back singles, plating the tying and winning runs.
Man of the Match:
Jonathan Villar. Second straight multi-hit game, and after one HR in 210 AB last year, he's now got 3 in 52.
Goat of the Game:
Chad Qualls. Nope nope nope nope.