Before we get started, notice TCB At the Ballpark is on. Go to this link and use the password (Crawfish) to get the discounted tickets.
There weren't any huge hits in this game. The Astros pitchers were even able to keep the ball in play. But, three Yankee runs in the bottom of the first proved too tough for the Astros.
Brett Myers again pitched well, including an absolutely beautiful double play on a line drive hit right back to the pitcher. He settled in nicely and retired 10 straight New York hitters at one point. The winning run scored, though, after he walked left fielder Kevin Russo, who then stole second. Russo scored on a bad-luck play as Mark Teixeira fisted a ball behind second base. Jeff Keppinger ran it down but the ball curved away from him at the last minute and fell in for a hit, scoring Russo from second.
As usually happens in losses, the Astros faced a mix of bad luck and good pitching. For instance, Jeff Keppinger hit the ball well three times, but all three turned into fly balls that the Yankees outfielders were able to track down. And Pettitte was his old self, picking up his 200th victory with the Yankees by pitching 7 1/3 innings while allowing four hits and three runs while striking out four and walking two. The biggest hit against him came when Tommy Manzella lined a ball over the third baseman for a two-run double.
It marked a recent surge by Manzella, who's hitting .296 in the last week and is 7 for 13 in his last four games. He also made a sterling play in the field, gunning down Russo in a bang-bang play at first. Russo's grounder went under the glove of Feliz, who was ranging to his left trying to make the play. Manzella swooped in behind him, picking the ball and throwing it to first in one fluid motion. The ball actually seemed to get to Berkman's glove at the same time as Russo hit first base. Luckily, the umpire gave the Astros a break and called him out. May not have made up for that terrible missed pickoff play in Colorado, but it was nice to get the benefit of a close call.
Overall, this was Pettitte's game. I remembered how much I liked having him around when he was in Houston and I sure didn't like seeing him on the mound for the Yankees. Still, I was ready for the Astros to get blown out by the Big Bag AL East team. After all, that's what the Yankees fans were probably thinking when they saw Houston was coming to town. Instead, the Astros played another tight game, continuing a nice streak against the best of the AL, including Tampa Bay and the Yankees. I can deal with the Astros being bad, but I can't deal with them getting blown out or being the league's laughingstock. Some might argue they're already there. Games like this, though, just don't back that theory up.
Another note? The game tomorrow will be at noon, central time. So tune in early!