It was a tough day for Lance Berkman and Felipe Paulino. They both are probably okay with the final results, though.
A two-run double by Berkman with two outs in the top of the 10th inning scored the winning runs for Houston. Unfortunately, it came two innings too late to give Felipe Paulino his first victory of the season. After being dropped down to the No. 5 spot in the lineup, Berkman was back in the three-hole. Unfortunately, he traded all those walks he was getting hitting in front of Geoff Blum and Pedro Feliz for rally-killing grounders. Berkman was 0 for 4 heading into that at-bat in the 10th, hitting into double plays the first two times he came up.
The double was set up when both Cory Sullivan and Michael Bourn worked walks of Reds reliever Micah Owings. Sullivan, in particular, impressed with his walk, working back from a 1-2 hole to take the free pass. Houston took an uncharacteristic five walks in the game; in 49 previous games this season, they've averaged 2.16 walks per game.
It was also probably a bittersweet game for Paulino, who finished the eighth inning with a shutout, giving up four hits and four walks while striking out five. Brandon Lyon (4-1) picked up the victory in relief for the second time this season in a Paulino start. Lyon now leads the Astros in wins. Guess that contract doesn't look so silly now, FanGraphs??
I mentioned this morning that Paulino might need to be perfect for the Astros to win this game. He wasn't quite that, but he was close enough for me. The walks were still up too much, but he's counteracting that by allowing fewer hits. I'm not sure when he'll pick up his first victory, but he's definitely looked like a big league pitcher for most of this season.
Does this make up for the two straight stinkbombs on Friday and Saturday? Not really. Houston needs to be in more than three out of every five games. We'll see what kind of impression Roy Oswalt makes on Washington Monday.
P.S. - It was a pretty good day all around for me, as Texas A&M came back to beat Baylor in 10 innings, winning the Big 12 Championship. Maybe the Astros could use a guy like Aggie shortstop Brodie Greene, who hit the game-winning home run. He probably won't stick at short in the pros, but he's a guy that could end up like Cliff Pennington.