Brad Peacock's start to the 2013 season was a rough one. He allowed a run in eight of his nine appearances, while lasting five innings only once in those outings. He took his 8.07 ERA with Houston down (or up, geographically) to AAA Oklahoma City where he got it together. In 12 starts with OKC, Peacock had a 6-2 record with a 2.73 ERA - good enough to get another shot with the big club.
Peacock took advantage of his opportunity Sunday as he went seven innings, allowing only three runs on four hits while striking out 10 Minnesota batters.
There certainly must have been a sense of "here we go again" for the Astros and Peacock when the 25-year old righty walked Joe Mauer and then allowed a two-run home run to Justin Morneau on the third and fourth batters of the game. But instead of folding, Peacock retired 16 of the next 19 batters he faced going into the seventh inning.
The seventh inning started with Peacock facing the Oswaldo Garcia in an eight-pitch battle that put Peacock over 100 pitches for the day. On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Garcia lined a home run over the right-center field fence that cleared the wall by inches. Peacock finished the seventh inning cleanly with 117 pitches overall - a very encouraging return to the hill for him.
The Astros offense put runners on base in seven of the nine innings with nine hits and five walks. The only inning the Astros scored in was the fifth when they got RBI singles from Brett Wallace (his fifth RBI in his last six games) and Chris Carter (his first RBI in his last six games) to tie the game at 2-2.
The best chance for Houston to take the lead came in the top of the seventh, when the Astros loaded the bases via a Jose Altuve single, along with walks by Castro and Carter. Manager Bo Porter opted to pinch hit for lefty Marc Krauss with the right, L.J. Hoes against Minnesota's left-handed Caleb Thielbar. The Twins' reliever won the battle by getting Hoes to ground into a fielder's choice at second to end the threat.
Overall, the Astros left 11 runners on base, while going 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
The Astros return home tomorrow night to start a three-game set against the Boston Red Sox with Brett Oberholtzer on the bump. The week doesn't get any easier as the Texas Rangers visit Houston for the weekend.