Monday's Memorial Day victory for the Astros wasn't about much of what has defined this team through a quarter of the season.
It wasn't about home runs or walks or defensive shifts. It was an old school, pitching-and-defense victory. It was also Houston's first walkoff victory of the season.
Brandon Barnes capped things off with a ground-rule double in the bottom of the 12th that scored pinch-runner Ronny Cedeno from second. That gave Houston the victory, but it was a plethora of great pitching and defense that put Houston in position to win it in the 12th in the first place.
Let's start with Bud Norris, who looked shaky early but came up with two huge innings in his seven of work Monday. Norris struck out three while walking three in 7 innings, allowing eight hits and two runs.
The two situations in question, though, were huge. The first came in the top of the third, when the Rockies loaded the bases with no outs. Norris got Troy Tulowitzki to line out to second baseman Jose Atluve, keeping the runners from moving up. Then, he got a weak groundout from Wilin Rosario back at him, and Norris was able to throw home for the lead out, keeping another run from scoring. He then capped the inning by getting Jordan Pacheco to line out to center field, ending the threat.
The next happened in his last inning of work. Norris allowed a single and a walk to Eric Young, Jr. and Dexter Fowler, but quickly got a lineout from Carlos Gonzalez to right field. Norris then struck out Tulo on a 2-2 count and got a groundout from Wilin Rosario to end the threat.
In case you aren't familiar with the Rockies, that was the middle of their order Norris sat down in crucial situations.
The relievers who came in for him joined the party, as Jose Veras shut down Colorado in the top of the ninth, Hector Ambriz worked out of a jam in the eighth by getting Young to strike out and Travis Blackley ended the 10th on a strikeout with runners on first and third.
Time and again, though, Houston's offense couldn't quite get a run across. That changed in the bottom of the 12th, when Matt Dominguez lined a single to center field. Cedeno came in to pinch run for him and was pushed to second on a sac bunt by Marwin Gonzalez.
After a Robbie Grossman strikeout, former Astro Wilton Lopez intentionally walked Jose Altuve to pitch to Brandon Barnes.
With one game left on this homestand, Houston could really end things on a positive note after a negative series against Oakland. Monday went a long way to securing that end, as Houston could end the eight-game homestand at 4-4 with a win on Tuesday.