I had high hopes for this series. Being able to set back the Reds even for one game, would of been bittersweet. It was not to be as Jay Bruce, the first batter of the 9th inning, hit the first pitch he saw from Tim Byrdak to centerfield for a walk-off homerun. Lifting the Cincinnati Reds to their first Division title since 1995. To put it into perspective Bruce was 8 when the Red's last went to the playoffs.
The game itself had a playoff atmosphere to it, which is why I had high hopes for the series. Instead of making the Red's sweat for another game we'll like see some of the regulars getting the day off tomorrow and Thursday. The Astros then play the Cubs for the final three games of the season this weekend.
Wandy Struggled early allowing his first run in the first inning. The Astros offense though responded quickly in the top of the second inning scoring two runs off Edinson Volquez, using small ball. Singles by Chris Johnson and Brett Wallace set up a bunt attempt by Angel Sanchez, who got Johnson thrown at third. Jason Castro then drove in Wallace with a hit to left field. Then with Sanchez on third, and Wandy at the plate preparing to sacrifice bunt, a squeeze play was executed beautifully scoring Sanchez and moving the Astros into the lead.
Both pitchers after their early innings struggles settled in, posting identical pitching lines. Rodriguez got into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the sixth inning, but worked his way out of the inning allowing only one run. Wandy finished with 6IP 4H 2ER 4BB 8SO. Volquez as I mentioned had a similar line 6IP 7H 2ER 1BB 8SO.
It then turned over to the bullpens in the 7th inning, a huge test for a bullpen who has been struggling lately. Wilton Lopez, Fernando Abad, and Matt Lindstrom all passed the test, Byrdak did not absorbing the loss.
With five games left, I'm sure all of us are ready to put this season in the books for good. Their are still things to look for as the season comes to a close, but this series has suddenly become less meaningful. And the playoff atmosphere, at least for Astro fans, has gone into hibernation for the winter. For some it will return Opening Day for others it may be even longer, but it will return eventually.
Congratulations to the Red's and all their fans, it's been a long time coming.