Astros Can’t Tame a Harangutang, Lose 6-3

SAN DIEGO, CA-JUNE 3: Fernando Rodriguez #43 of the Houston Astros pitches during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on June 3, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end."

Yes, those are lyrics from one hit wonder Semisonic’s song "Closing Time". With the Astros' loss Friday, today’s game seemed like a great time to start a fresh beginning, especially with the return of Jason Bourgeois and the release of Bill Hall.

Aneury Rodriguez (0-2, 5.40 ERA) took the mound today. The Rule V pick has had mixed results since becoming a starter. The Padres used Aaron Harang (5-2, 3.88 ERA) to combat Rodriguez, and he is 12-9 with a 4.43 ERA against the Astros in his career. Harang does have one of the best nicknames in the business in Harangutang, a word play on the elusive Oraguntan.

Rodriguez seemed to get in early trouble after Ryan Ludwick’s double in the 1st moved Chase Headley to third, and Brad Hawpe’s two run double gave the Padres a quick 2-0 lead.

The Astros appeared to strike back in the 2nd after Chris Johnson got hit by a pitch, then Wallace hit a double aided by Johnson’s recent aggressive base running to move Johnson to 3rd.  With one out, J.R. Towles reached first on an error by Logan Forsythe, which scored Johnson to cut the Padres’ lead to one. Michael Bourn left two men on base after grounding out to end the inning. Clint Barmes tied the game at 2-2 with a solo home run (his 3rd of the season) in the 3rd.

Logan Forsythe’s double  in the 3rd was the rookie’s 1st career RBI and double, which scored Ryan Ludwick and gave the Padres a 3-2 lead. Carlos Lee had a nifty stop to cut the bleeding, which halted Hawpe at third. Alberto Gonzales was hit by a pitch which loaded the bases with 2 outs. A crisis was adverted when Rob Johnson flied out to end the inning.

A Flash mob was seen at the start of the bottom of the 3rd in Petco Park dancing to the Michael Franti and Spearhead song "Say Hey". This may have distracted Aneury Rodriguez (so much for sportsmanship, San Diego), and led him to give up a run in the 3rd.

The Astros appeared to avenge Rodriguez’s Flash mob incident with Michael Bourn’s leadoff double in the 5th followed by Clint Barmes’ walk. But after, Pence grounded into a double play, and Lee’s popout. The avenging had to wait. Jeff Keppinger pinch hit for Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s night ended after pitching 6 innings, while allowing three earned runs and striking out two.

Aaron Harang left the game with a 3-2 lead after walking Barmes with 2 outs with Pence coming to the plate after pitching 5 2/3 inning allowing 2 runs and striking out 3.  Luke Gregerson got Pence to groundout and end the inning. Enerio Del Rosario pitched a perfect 7th inning for the Astros by retiring the side. Mike Adams came in for the Padres in the 8th and countered Del Rosario’s perfect 7th with a perfect 8th of his own.

Del Rosario reappeared in the 8th and pitched another inning after a catcher’s interference that moved Ludwick to first and a walk to Hawpe. Alberto Gonzales hit a double with two outs that scored Ludwick and extended the Padres lead to 4-2. Rob Johnson’s hit a single and extended the lead to 6-2. Wilson Valdez replaced Del Rosario with Jorge Cantu coming to the plate as a pinch hitter and got him to ground out and stop the bleeding. With a 4 run lead, Ernesto Frieri came in the game to close it out despite Heath Bell warming up. Once Frieri allowed Angel Sanchez to reach base via walk and Matt Downs, Heath Bell came in the game with a save situation. Michael Bourn hit an RBI double and cut the deficit to 3 with one out. Barmes struck out, and Pence flew out to Eric Patterson to end the game. With the win, the Padres are a perfect 14-0 this season when they have the lead after the 7th.

Maybe it was Bud Black’s ejection yesterday or today’s flash mob that sparked the Padres. Regardless, the Astros will get another chance at a new beginning tomorrow with the great 20 year old Jordan Lyles (0-0, 2.57 ERA) taking the mound against another phenom in 23 year old Mat Latos (3-6, 3.97 ERA) to close out the 4 game series versus the Padres. With the victory, Aaron Harang has now defeated the Astros 5 straight times.

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