Saturday, June 11, 2016

From the Office of the County Clerk – G64: Astros @ Tampa Bay

Mike Fiers (3-3, 5.00) v. Chris Archer (4-7, 4.73)

My apologies, faithful AC readers, for missing my recap duties the last two days. Here's what you need to know about what the Astros did on Thursday and Friday: they lost. Hopefully the MLB draft news helped to salve some of the sting after the Astros rolled into Arlington on an 11-2 surge, then proceeded to lose 4 of their next 5. But without dwelling on the (maddeningly infuriating) negatives - good news this evening! Houston returns to the winners column with a 4-3 victory in Tampa Bay.

On the Mound:
The real-life busyness that kept me from recappery the last two days means that this one will also be unfortunately brief, but here are the essentials:

* Mike Fiers got the win for his 7 IP / 5 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 1 BB / 3 K work. Those 7 innings matched his season high (done 3x previously), and his Game Score of 61 made this his fifth start of the season with a score of 60 or better. Both runs scored against Fiers were solo home runs - Brad Miller in the 3rd & Evan Longoria in the 6th - and two of the Rays other three hits against Fiers were doubles (Souza, Pearce). But it only took Mike 85 pitches to make it through 7 frames, before turning the ball over to...

* Luke Gregerson, who struck out one in a scoreless, perfect 8th. Which led to...

* Will Harris in the 9th, and even though he earned his third save of the season, this was not really a night Will will put on his resume. Walk Logan Morrison, single Steve Pearce, walk Mikie Mahtook, then a sacrifice fly by Steven Souza Jr. finally recorded an out, but also closed the score to 4-3 with still two on. A full-count GIDP by Desmond Jennings to Altuve-Marwin-White ended the drama, but not before scores of Astros fans found themselves swearing at their televisions and/or unable to watch.

At the Plate:
On the offensive side, Houston recorded 7 hits while striking out 8 times (all 8 K were Chris Archer's), went 0x2 with RISP, and left 6 team LOBsters. Specifically of note:

* The Astros immediately answered Brad Miller's 3rd inning homer by starting the 4th Springer single (1x5, R), Marwin single (3x4, SB, R), Altuve sacrifice fly (1x2), scoring Gerorge.

* After 0 HR for all of April & May, Carlos Gomez (1x4) now has 3 in June. In answer to Evan Longoria's moonshot in the 6th, Carlos' own moonshot in the top of the 7th re-tied the game 2-2.

* Marwin Gonzalez - still starting at short for the recovering Carlos Correa - was the only multi-hit Astro tonight, and his run was the go-ahead in the 8th. After MarGo's two-out single, the Rays pulled Chris Archer and went with Erasmo Ramirez, who promptly HBP'd Jose Altuve and BB'd Colby Rasmus to load the bases. Then a wild pitch by Ramirez let Marwin score before Evan Gattis popped up to end the inning.

* Houston's final hit proved to be the game winner, with Luis Valbuena (1x4) homering off Dana Eveland to lead off the 9th. The home run was Valbuena's 7th of the season.

Turning Point:
Desmond Jenning's game-ending GIDP.

Man of the Match:
Co-MotM for Marwin & Mike Fiers. Also gold starts to Gomez & Valbuena for the homers.

Goat of the Game:
Erasmo Ramirez? But for the Astros, almost-but-thankfully-not Will Harris, whose ERA still skyrocketed from 0.33 to 0.63 by allowing a run.

Up Next:
Dallas Keuchel (3-8, 5.44) v. Matt Moore (2-4, 5.56)
2:10 Eastern, 1:10 Central.