When Wandy gave up that run in the first inning, was anyone else thinking the wheels were about to come off? Would you have expected Houston to stay in control for most of this game? Me neither. It's good to still be surprised by this game.
Rodriguez was great, if only his time wasn't so brief. Wandy needed 115 pitches to get through five innings, but struck out eight and walked three while giving up five hits and one run. There's not a lot of evidence his stuff was much different than in past starts, as he gave up almost as many line drives (4) as ground balls (5). It was nice to see the bullpen get his back, as we even got a cameo by Mr. Jenny Finch. Wilton Lopez, Daigle, Tim Byrdak and Gustavo Chacin combined to give up just two hits over the final four innings while striking out five and walking one. None of the relievers needed more than 17 pitches to get through their inning of work.
On the other hand, the offense's heart finally came through. El Bufalo hit a two-run home run AND took a walk, while Hunter Pence tripled, drove in two RBIs and scored a run. Another neat tidbit about the offense: for the second straight night, every starter got a hit.
On the Nationals side, Adam Dunn continued to mash up Houston's pitching, going 3 for 5 with a double and the Nats' only RBI. One of Dunn's hits probably should have been an out, though. In the fifth inning, the Astros had a heavy shift on for the big lefty, with Keppinger playing a good five feet into shallow right field. Dunn hit a grounder right where Keppinger would normally be playing. Of course, because of the shift, the ball scooted through into the outfield for a single. Did the Astros psyche themselves out there? Was it just a good piece of hitting by Dunn?
That's really picking at nits, though. Once again, the Astros get a good pitching performance. Unlike past games, Houston scored enough runs to support its starter. That means Thursday's game could be the Astros first series win since the sweep of the Cardinals.
More importantly, with the regression of the Nationals scoring offense in this series (14 to 7 to 1), what can be in store for tomorrow? Will Brian Moehler pitch a perfect game?