Brad Peacock (4-9, 4.82) vs Jon Niese (9-11, 3.50)
70 wins! And 4th place! Ahead of the Rangers! For the first time since 2010, the Astros are certain to not finish last in their division, as they kicked off their final series of 2014 with a 3-1 win over the Mets. Houston needed one win in their just-completed series in Arlington to guarantee sole possession of not-last place in the AL West, which obviously didn't happen, but the ending is happy after all. Astros are 70-90 with two to go.
On the Mound:
*Pitch count (96) and a pair of singles ended Brad Peacock's night one out shy of 5 innings, but his results were good enough for the time that he lasted. A solo HR by Curtis Granderson in the 4th was the only run that he allowed, and neither of the runners he left behind would score, so he finished his final start of the year with a 4.2 IP / 4 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 BB / 7 K line. He finishes the year 4-9 with a 4.72 ERA.
*Kevin Chapman vultured the win after getting Daniel Murphy to fly out to end the 5th, then Houston scored 3 times in the next half inning to set the 3-1 final. Chapman faced three more batters in the 6th, recording one more out between a single and a walk.
*Jorge De Leon recorded the last two outs of the 6th uneventfully.
*Tony Sipp recorded three outs in the 7th and three outs in the 8th uneventfully (2 K).
*And Chad Qualls recorded three outs in the 9th - and his 19th save - uneventfully. So nice job by the bullpen tonight.
At the Plate:
*The Astros only managed three singles on offense while Jon Niese was in the game. The first came from Dexter Fowler in the 2nd, who also stole second (after a successful challenge) and later walked and HBP'd to finish 1x2.
*The second single came from Jake Marisnick in the 5th, who also did nothing else and finished 1x4 with 3 K.
*The third single came from Gregorio Petit leading off the 6th, who promptly got caught stealing and finished 1x2.
*As soon as Niese left, the Houston offense immediately came alive. Mike Bob Grossman doubled and scored the first Astro run, finishing 1x4 with 2 K.
*Jose Altuve singled to drive in Grossman, on his 223rd hit of the year. He would then score the go-ahead run and ended his night 1x4.
*Chris Carter's double plated Altuve, then Carter scored run #3, going 1x4 with a K.
*And Matt Dominguez singled home Carter for an RBI, then immediately TOOTBLAN'd himself around first, ending his night also 1x4.
After Petit's single started the 6th, Jon Niese was forced from the game with an elevated heart rate - bad news for him and the Mets, but the Astros immediately exploited the Mets bullpen. Carlos Torres entered the game and the next five Houston batters reached base - double Grossman, single Altuve, double Carter, HBP Fowler, and single Dominguez. Torres entered with none on, one out, and a 1-0 lead, but he left down 3-1 with a blown save and a loss.
Man of the Match:
The Astros' bullpen collectively - Chapman, De Leon, Sipp, and Qualls - for 4.1 scoreless IP.
Goat of the Game:
WE'RE NOT LAST. No goat.