C.J. Wilson (10-8, 4.46) vs Brad Peacock (3-8, 5.13)
Clearly Bo Porter was the only thing holding the Astros back. How else do you explain their breakout performance tonight, finally Bo-free, against the reigning team with the best record in baseball? Don't tell me the randomness of baseball had anything to do with it. Snarkiness aside, any manager could have been a winner with the total team effort from Houston tonight - Tom Lawless is just the lucky benefactor. Brad Peacock dominated the Angels, Astro bats dominated C.J. Wilson, and Houston starts September with an 8-3 win, improving to 60-79 overall.
(And by the by, thanks as always to Masked Marvel for his fine coverage during my Weiland Island exile. The Astros liberated me when rosters expanded on September 1, at least until they start playing again past my bedtime in Oakland later this week.)
On the Mound:
*Three starts do not mean that a pitcher has "turned the corner," but they are at worst a nice personal hot streak, and at best a very encouraging sign for the future. The Angels hardly had a sniff against Brad Peacock through the first five innings tonight, and they only managed to score in the 6th due to a Dexter Fowler fielding error, before Bradley began to run out of gas in the 7th. But it was still good enough for his third straight start allowing 2 ER or fewer, his longest start since he went 6.2 IP on 6/27 against Detroit, and his first win since 7/8 @ Texas. Line: 6.1 IP / 4 H / 3 R / 2 ER / 2 BB / 5 K.
*Kevin Chapman allowed a RBI double to Gordon Beckham that charged one of the runs to Peacock's ledger, but recorded the two required outs on either side of that to end the 7th.
*Josh Fields faced the Trout-Pujols-Hamilton trifecta in the 8th and struck out two of them in a perfect frame, then allowed only a leadoff double that went nowhere before recording the final three outs in the 9th.
At the Plate:
*Plenty heap o' offense tonight, so we'll just take it from the top: Mike Bob Grossman led off and went 3x5 with 2 2B, a R, a RBI, and a K.
*Jose Altuve is now on a 10-game hitting streak, and had his second straight 4-hit game, going 4x5 with a solo HR (7), a 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, and his 50th steal of the season.
*Dexter Fowler was 2x3 with 2 R, a RBI, 2 BB, and a K.
*Chris Carter had a RBI single and finished 1x5 with a R and 3 K.
*Jason Castro went 2x4 with a 2B, a sac fly, 2 RBI, and a K.
*Matt Dominguez was 1x4.
*Jake Marisnick doubled and went 1x3 with a run scored, a sac fly, a RBI, and a K.
*Jonathan Singleton was the only hitless Astro, going 0x3 with a K, but still contributed a walk and some nice glovework.
*And Gregorio Petit singled and scored to finish 1x4 with 2 K.
Houston jumped on C.J. Wilson early and often, making sure that the game was never in doubt. They started their half of the 1st with four straight hits - Grossman double, Altuve single, Fowler single, Carter single - and a sac fly from Jason Castro, putting three runs on the board by the time the first out was recorded. Wilson was gone after 3.1 IP, and Houston was up 7-0 before Los Angeles notched their second hit of the night (in the 6th inning), so the Angels' three late runs were completely academic.
Man of the Match:
Jose Altuve is some kind of monster, and Brad Peacock pitched like one tonight too.
Goat of the Game:
Bo Porter, right? They couldn't have done this with him in the dugout. I digress...