JA Happ, Brett Wallace and Angel Sanchez have a big batch of haterade for all those people out there who doubted them.
Well, it may not be that extreme, but it was a nice piece of redemption in different ways for each of them as the Astros dominated the Cardinals Monday night to clinch the season series with them.
Happ threw the first complete game shutout of his Astros career, twirling a two-hitter. He only gave up singles to Yadier Molina and Randy Winn while striking out four and walking one. He only needed 114 pitches to get through the game and was helped out by some great defensive plays. For instance, Brett Wallace caught a hard-hit line drive just inside the first base bag and stepped on the base to double off Molina in the eighth.
Speaking of Wallace, his statement to the English pig dogs who doubted him was a little less subtle. He just went 3 for 3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Sure, it was against a right-hander, but it was still pretty damned dominant. One of his singles was lashed down the first base line in between Pujols and a second baseman who was played well over towards first. The double went to the opposite field and was well-hit. It could easily have been a home run had it been a few more feet over to the left. One game doesn't change anything in the scheme of things, but it's probably safest to avoid antagonizing Wallace in the future.
As for Sanchez, I don't know that anyone has come out and said he couldn't play second base. He has started there five times since Manzella came off the disabled list. But, just to prove any doubters wrong about his ability to slide across the diamond, Sanchez showed off sparkling range twice. The first time, he went deep into the hole to rob Yadi Molina of a hit, skidding to one knee to glove the ball at the grass and making a quick throw to beat the slow-footed catcher. He also ranged basically into right field to run down a looping fly ball for the second out in the ninth inning. Since Geoff Blum's play on Sunday caused such heartache, it was nice to see him show some range regardless of where he was positioned.
With that, the Astros are assured to finish at least 8-7 against the Cardinals this season. While some people don't think wins in the short-term are a good thing for Houston, I always like seeing the Cards lose. It never gets old.