Well, the Astros couldn't hit flamethrowing Juan Nicasio on Sunday, but apparently could hit flamethrowing lefty Rex Brothers.
Add in that plus a heaping helping of Carlos Lee's heroics and you've got the Astros first winning record since July of 2009. Lee drove in two of the Astros three runs on Sunday, one coming on a double to the gap in left center off Nicasio and the other...well, the other was a gift by the Colorado Rockies.
Apparently, the Rockies decided to give back to Houston after the Astros were so generous with the defensive errors, as third baseman Jordan Pacheco made a bad throw to first trying to get Carlos for the third out of the inning. His bad throw couldn't be scooped by Michael Cuddyer, who had moved in from right field that inning.
That allowed Jose Altuve to score and tie the game. One pitch later, Brian Bogusevic tied it up with a single through the right side, plating pinch runner Brian Bixler.
The only disappointing thing about this one is that Bud Norris couldn't get the victory. Norris was very effective throughout (with one exception which we'll cover later).
Great series win for Houston, riding timely hitting and solid starting pitching. It's a nice start, don't you think?
This starts with Carlos, since he's the one who reliably hit Nicasio. Lee almost had a double into the corner on his first at-bat, but had to settle for a double in his next one that cut the lead in half.
A walk and a triple for Jose Altuve. Is that enough to stop the critics? Nahh...The little second sacker that could had two hits on the game, raising his season average to .333. His two-out single in the eighth inning was very clutch and started the rally that ended with Houston taking the lead.
Bud did a great job in this one, striking out eight and allowing just four hits and three walks through seven innings. Unfortunately, all three of those walks came to Jason Giambi. That's right. Jason. Giambi.
At that point, Bud had thrown 28 balls in the entire game, but 12 of them came in at-bats against Jason Giambi. No idea why he's so cautious, but it was startling.
Anyways, the lone mistake that Bud gave up was that blast to Rosario, who hit the ball a ton. I mean, rattling the metal above the railroad tracks hard.
Other than that, Norris' fastball/slider/change repertoire appeared intact. He was working a little down in velocity than we've seen him in the past, and right now, I'm not sure if that's because he was working in more two-seam fastballs. His slider, in particular, seemed to get going after the first couple of innings.
As for the bullpen...they did better than expected. Fernando Abad did his situational lefty thing effectively and Wilton Lopez sprinted in to cheers, quickly working through his two outs.
Myers made things interesting in the ninth, but that's to be expected from a guy who doesn't throw very hard. At least he was experience enough to get the save, right?
Nothing spectacular here. Bud Norris made a couple heads-up plays on balls hit back to him, but almost messed one up with a bad throw to Carlos Lee. El Bufalo made the play for the out, but it was closer than it should have been. Jason Castro also had a nice recovery after one of Bud's sliders got by him on a strikeout of Wilin Rosario.
Castro was able to get to the ball and throw down to first for the out, which was doubly important since Troy Tulowitzki was barreling home from third at the time.
Houston will try to keep up its winning ways, taking on Atlanta in a three-game series starting Monday. The 7:05 p.m. game will feature J.A. Happ taking on Brandon Beachy. The game will air on Fox Sports Houston.
The Astros went 1-5 against Atlanta last season, scoring just 19 runs in six games. However, their last meeting was an 8-3 win on June 13. Wandy Rodriguez picked up the victory and Hunter Pence hit his ninth homer of the season. Oh, and Jordan Schafer homered too, but for the visiting Braves.