When the offense finally explodes for ten runs, is it really a surprise that the bullpen couldn't hang on?
The bullpen faltered twice this afternoon with Wilton Lopez and Mark Melancon both coughing up a lead. Evan Longoria hit a two-run homer off Lopez in the sixth to tie the game at seven and prevent J.A. Happ from getting a win. Jeff Keppinger's solo shot in the eighth broke the tie, but then Melancon gave it right back in the top of the eighth.
On the 23 year anniversary of Craig Biggio's debut in the majors, it seems fitting that the Astros banged out seven doubles in this wild, high-scoring affair. Biggio, the franchise doubles leader, should be proud of today's barrage of extra-base hits. Unfortunately the bullpen couldn't hang on and avoid the sweep.
The Astros scored in each of the first four innings, and Michael Bourn was the only starter that didn't record a double. Houston native Jeff Niemann left plenty of pitches over the plate, and almost every Astros hitter made him pay. While Keppinger was the real hero with his 3 for 3 performance, Carlos Lee also had a nice day driving in three runs with a double and a triple.
Oh yeah, Matt Downs hit another pinch-hit homer. Of course he did.
After his early exit in Arlington on Monday night, I was beginning to worry about J.A. Happ's location and fastball command. It only took one inning for B.J. Upton to go deep for the third consecutive game, and Happ had to really labor all afternoon. It took 111 pitches for the Astros lefty to get through five innings, and he allowed five runs while striking out eight. His ERA has now ballooned to 5.54, and his struggles are becoming a real concern in this rotation.
This team is just finding ways to lose, I don't know how else to put it.