J.R. Towles was 0 for his last 32 appearances at the plate coming into this afternoon's game against the Dodgers. He ended the slump in dramatic fashion, going 3 for 4 and hitting the game-winning single to bring home Brian Bogusevic as the Astros won 2-1.
After laboring through the first inning with 25 pitches, Aneury Rodriguez settled down as he struck out the side in the second. He began to locate his pitches, and the Dodger hitters had trouble catching up to his four-seamer. He gave up his first hit of the game on a Matt Kemp single with two outs in the fourth, and Kemp also hit a solo shot into the Crawford Boxes a couple innings later to tie the game at one. It was Aneury's longest start of his career as he lasted six innings, throwing 96 pitches and striking out five.
The offensive didn't score many runs, but it did help out Aneury when it needed to. Michael Bourn took Ted Lilly's first pitch of the game out of the ballpark for the first leadoff home run of Bourn's young career. Carlos Lee had a real nice day, going 2 for 4, and it seemed like he hit the ball hard every time he came to the plate.
Hunter Pence's pop fly single in the third extended his hitting streak to seven games, and he made a fantastic sliding catch down the right field foul line. I was worried when he slid into the wall, but he popped up quickly showing no signs of an injury at all.
How good has the bullpen been lately? Well, Astro relievers have now allowed only one earned run over the last 22 innings. Wilton Lopez, Jeff Fulchino, and Mark Melancon all pitched exceptionally well in relief of Aneury after the sixth inning. I am a firm believer that Mills needs to keep Melancon as the team's closer when Brandon Lyon comes off the DL. Aside from a Brian McCann solo shot that he gave up last week, he has pitched very effectively and needs to keep getting save opportunities.
Overall, it was a great series taking two of three against the Dodgers on exciting walk-off wins in the ninth. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into the weekend series against Arizona and continue this recent surge of success for the good guys.