The headline on last Wednesday's recap read something to the effect of "Carter Goes Deep, Then Goes Deep Again." Carter may not have homered twice in this matchup, nor did the Astros win, but he turned in another solid performance. In his first three plate appearances Carter completed the TTO cycle with a home run, walk, and a strikeout. The home run was impressive because it was a line shot opposite field. When things have been going good for Carter this year it seems like going the other way has been a big part of his approach.
Now that our daily dose of Chris Carter is out of the way it's time to move on to tonight's game.
The Astros offense was unable to get anything going in last night's game until the ninth inning. The scoring carried over early in this one as the Astros picked up two in the second. Chris Carter led things off with a solo home run to right. Brett Wallace followed with a single, and moved to second on a walk by J.D. Martinez. Wallace would later score that inning on a one out infield error off the bat of Matt Dominguez.
That was all the Astros would get until top of the fifth when Jason Castro led things off with a ground-rule double. With two outs and Castro on third J.D. Martinez hit a single to center to score Castro.
Fast forward to a tie game in the seventh 3-3. A slumping Jose Altuve got things started with a single to center. With one out Altuve moved to second on a walk by Chris Carter, his second of the night. Brett Wallace followed with an RBI single to right to score the speedy Altuve from second and put the Astros ahead 4-3, albeit briefly.
The Astros offense came close to scoring in a few other innings but ultimately came up empty and only went 2-14 with runners in scoring position. Offensive standouts on the night include Chris Carter who was 1-3 with a homerun and two walks (yes also two strikeouts), Brett Wallace who went 4-5 with an RBI (that average is up to .214 now), and Jose Altuve who went 2-5 with two singles. It's also worth mentioning that Jason Castro had the Astros only other extra base hit with his ground-rule double in the fifth. Brett Wallace's four hits on the night was the first four-hit game of his career.
Jordan Lyles got the start tonight against the Redbirds and battled his way through 6.1 innings. After a quick first inning Lyles ran into some trouble in the second. Just a single, wild pitch, and single later and the Astros 2-0 lead was cut in half. Luckily Lyles was able to regroup and get out of the inning without any further damage.
With a 3-1 lead Lyles ran into trouble again in the fifth. With one out Lyles gave up a single to Tony Cruz, which was followed with a single by pinch hitter Shane Robinson. Lyles was unable to find the strike zone against Matt Carpenter and walked him to load the bases on four straight pitches. With two outs Lyles almost escaped the jam, but allowed a two run single to Matt Holliday on a full count.
Lyles was credited with an earned run in the seventh, but that was due to a leadoff walk that would later come around to score on a Matt Carpenter two-run home run off of Wesley Wright. Lyles final line of 6.1 innings pitched, 6 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts does not quite tell the story. Lyles battled and put up a pretty good outing against a very good offensive team. He left with a chance for the win with a 4-3 lead in the seventh in favor of Wright who through the wrong pitch to Carpenter to take Lyles out of the decision.
Overall it was a disappointing game tonight as Lyles pitched good enough for the Astros to win it. The offense also had several opportunities to open this one up, but as mentioned above only managed to go 2-14 with runners in scoring position which couldn't get things done against the Redbirds tonight.
The Astros will enjoy an off day tomorrow before traveling to Tropicana Field to take on the Rays for a three game set to carry us into the All Star Break. The Astros have not yet set their rotation for this weekends contest.