HOUSTON - MAY 29: Pitcher J.A. Happ #30 of the Houston Astros throws in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Minute Maid Park on May 29, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
J.A. Happ tried to do it all. He put the team on his back Sunday throwing six innings of one-run ball and hitting his first career home run, but the bullpen imploded again in the 4-2 loss. The Diamondbacks came into this series playing very good baseball, and they continued that success with a sweep at Minute Maid Park.
Happ had trouble throwing strikes in the first inning when he walked the bases loaded with only one out, but he was able to escape the jam with consecutive strikeouts. His lack of early control was alarming, but he settled down quickly retiring the next 12 Diamondback hitters. Arizona's first hit of the game came with two outs in the fifth, and Happ was able to rely on his fastball to strikeout eight hitters this afternoon.
The lefty has quietly put together a nice month of May, and today's outing was nice to see with Myers continuing to struggle at the top of the rotation. However, the bullpen blew another game as Jeff Fulchino surrendered three runs in the eighth. Should Mills have brought in Melancon for the four out save with Nady at the plate? Maybe.
Hunter Pence was able to extend his hitting streak to ten games on a bloop single in the fourth, but there weren't too many good signs from the rest of the offense. Aside from Happ's solo shot in the fifth, the only other Astro run came on a Josh Collmenter balk in the fourth.
This is beginning to get really old. All three losses this weekend were tough to stomach as a fan, but this one might be the worst because Happ really deserved the win.
I'm looking forward to Lyles pitching on Tuesday at Wrigley, but this Arizona series abruptly ruined all of the optimism and excitement generated from the walk-off wins earlier this week.