NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: Wandy Rodriguez #51 of the Houston Astros pitches against the New York Mets at Citi Field on April 19, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Well, that was a nice change. Tuesday evening, in chilly weather, the Houston Astros did what teams have been doing to them for the past week: pull away with a big inning against the bullpen.
This time, Houston took a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning before the Astros put up a three-spot in the top of the frame. Since Houston pitchers combined for a four-hitter, it was safe to say that six runs would hold up for the lead.
Wandy Rodriguez was masterful for Houston, allowing three hits, one run and three walks while striking out seven. That was especially sweet, since Wandy isn't normally this good on the road. Maybe it was a happy coincidence of a scuffling team and bad weather to dampen any possible offense. Either way, it was great to see Wandy perform like this on the road.
Plus, J.R. Towles had a big night at the plate, reaching base all four times he was up. Towles was 2 for 2 with two walks, a double, a run scored and an RBI. It was also the first game Towles had played since April 13, and his second game since April 9. Quintero hasn't been bad at the plate, but the upside of Towles is another nice point forward for this season.
Add to that another stolen base for Bourn, two walks and two RBIs for Sanchez and even a two-hit game for Carlos Lee and this game was just what the Astros needed. Now, let's hope that R.A. Dickey doesn't mess everything up with his cursed knuckleball.