Apr 19, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) rounds second base after hitting a triple during the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
For those who missed this game, you picked a bad game to miss. For a team where wins like these don't come everyday, the one today was refreshing and special. Jose Altuve almost hit a grand slam. Say what? Maybe Mills shouldn't bat him so low in the order anymore. History was also made as 3 batters hit 3 triples in one inning, which is the first time in Astros history to have ever happened. Jose Altuve, finally getting a spot in the top of the order hit the first triple in what became a 5-run first inning. Martinez singled him in, Carlos Lee hit another single, then struggling Brian Bogusevic comes to the plate. It's probably a good thing Travis Buck was unable to play today because Boom! Ball hits the right-center field wall, 2 runs score, Bogey hits the 2nd triple of the inning. Matt Downs comes to the plate. BOOM! What is going on around here?!?! Matt Downs hits a triple in his first start, almost two weeks after the start of the season. Astros have 3 triples in the first inning of play Nothing can explain the awesomeness of the situation. You just have to watch this video.
All Astros in the starting lineup got at least one hit. Several got two. Jason Castro & Brian Bogusevic both got 3, which was nice to see. Strangely enough the Astros didn't hit any home-runs, but many balls were line drives that were hit deep, escaping the gloves of the Nationals' outfielders. Jose Altuve came up big with not only his triple, but with the bases loaded in the 6th inning. Off the bat, it looked like a home run to center field that would have been a grand slam, but the ball ended up off the wall, good for a bases-clearing double. Hopefully manager Brad Mills recognizes he needs to stop putting Altuve's talent in the 8-hole where it will end up going to waste. Bogey's big game was also a good sign of his progress lately as he took advantage of the live "batting practice" that the Nationals' pitchers were showing today. He had been working on his swing with hitting coach Mike Barnett and it looks like it's working.
On the pitching side, Bud Norris had a game that wasn't so perfect, but performed well enough to be the winning pitcher. He gave up 10 hits (1 double, 1 home run), 2 walks, 4 earned runs and struck out 6 in 6 total innings pitched. Bud made up for the high hit count with one of his own. He hit a 2-RBI base knock with the bases loaded. Wait, the pitcher gets a hit when the bases are loaded? Well, they don't call him Bud Norris for nothing. I wonder if Bud is his actual name because he acts way too much like Chuck Norris. Something suspicious there...
Wilton Lopez got his first innings of relief in for the first time since Sunday against the Marlins. David Carpenter also pitched a nice inning, but Brett Myers looked fabulous pitching in the 9th. His 88-89 mph fastball that we saw last year as a starter was clocked as high as 94 mph today. His transition to closer from starter should be interesting as the year goes on.
Here's the win probability graph of today's game, provided by FanGraphs: