Well, knock me over with a feather. Though the Miller home run in the seventh kind of removed him from consideration for a spot slightly higher up the page, Fernando Nieve did everything the team might have asked from him tonight. With Qualls gone, with Wheeler tired or ineffective or both, and with the Astros facing the Cardinals tomorow and Thrusday, and with 13 consecutive days of baseball after that, the Astros really needed Nieve to go six innings. Never mind that he'd never even gone five.
That he gave them seven was more than a little shocking.
But Fernando was very shrewd, only leaving pitches up when there were no men on base, so that the Brewers got minimum return from their 3 homers off him.
And he just kept going and going, oscillating between tossing hittable pitches in no-stress situations, and dropping nasty ass sliders when it looked like the Brewers might be starting to put something together.
Was kind of hoping that Lane would be more of a carburetor for the Astros engine out of the cleanup spot, but no-one can tell you playing Lamb tonight didn't work.
And like StrosDux said, you had to love the two stolen bases from Brad Ausmus. He had actually swiped two in a game twice before, most recently on September 20, 1999 while playing for the Tigers against Cleveland.
So the Astros return to Houston to play the Cardinal team they are ahead of in the standings, meaning if they can manage a split, that situation will remain unchanged.
Which is of course, the best of all news. The Reds jalopy will break down given time; it is the Cardinals who are most important, and whom it is most gratifying to keep in the rearview mirror.