If there were a template for how the Astros will have to win games in 2011, it's this. A great pitching performance from Brett Myers (6 1/3 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts). Solid relief work from Mark Melancon and Fernando Abad. A redemption of sorts for embattled closer Brandon Lyon (can you really be embattled after just one game?).
And, of course, some very timely hitting from one Matt Downs. Who knows how long Downs will stay on this team once Barmes and Jeff Keppinger are healthy, but for this one, shining day in Cincinnati, he was the most important guy on this roster.
In case you missed it, with runners on first and second, Downs hit a 2-1 slider on a line into the left field corner, scoring Brick Wallace and breaking the 2-2 tie. Downs had pinch hit for Mark Melancon in the seventh and stayed in to play second base. He struck out in that first at-bat, but made his second chance count.
Lyon did make things interesting in the ninth, putting men on first and second with two outs before getting ramon Hernandez to ground into a fielder's choice to Angel Sanchez, who fittingly threw to Downs to finish the game.
Breathe a sigh of relief, Astros fans. The first win of 2011 is on the board.
FYI: I posted a note over at SB Nation Houston on how unique Carlos Lee's triples have been for his career.