"We win one today that's two in a row. We win one tomorrow, that's called a winning streak. It has happened before" - Major League.
The Astros guaranteed a series victory tonight by defeating the Angels 3-1. Where last night's battle went back and forth and was more offensively driven, tonight's contest was more of a pitcher's duel. Bud Norris did his best Lucas Harrell impression by pitching to contact and recording double digit groundball outs. Norris, who is predominantly viewed as a strikeout pitcher, did not record a strikeout through the first six innings, and ended the night with only two. Still he was plenty impressive going 8+ innings which was very nice to see considering how early Astros starter's have been knocked out of the game this season. Norris was very efficient allowing only a Josh Hamilton solo homerun in the seventh, which was still a pretty decent pitch.
Offensively, the Astros struck first in the third when Matt Dominguez hit a lead off double off the wall. He would later score on a Marwin Gonzalez double, who would later score on a Jimmy Paredes double to give the Astros an early 2-0 lead. Chris Carter lead off the fifth with a solo homer to add to that lead. Carter's bat has provided a little thump against the Angels this series with two homers in two games. Hopefully he can carry that over to the Rangers series.
The Astros had a chance to add on to that 3-1 lead in the eight when the Astros had one-out and runners at the corners with Trevor Crowe getting his first at-bat of the season. The Astros put on the safety squeeze as Crowe bunted and Paredes broke home and was able to avoid Hank Conger's tag, but was tagged out after the umpire ruled that Paredes never touched home plate. According to the radio broadcast it appeared that Paredes was able to grab the back corner of the plate, but was called out.
The hot hands at the plate tonight included Marwin Gonzalez and Matt Dominguez who were both 2-3 with a double, Jimmy Paredes who was 2-4 with two doubles, and Chris Carter who was 1-3 with a solo homerun.
With 77 pitches thrown in the game, the stage was set for Bud Norris to attempt to earn his first complete game of his career against the heart of the Angels order. Mike Trout got things started with a leadoff single that brought Astros killer Albert Pujols to the plate who followed Trout with a single. Unfortunately it was not meant to be, and Porter decided to bring in closer Jose Veras to close things out. Veras was able to retire a very dangerous Mark Trumbo via strikeout on a very good curveball. He wasn't as lucky with Josh Hamilton as he beaned him, loading the bases with one out. On the next pitch Veras induced a groundball to shortstop Marwin Gonzalez who partnered with Jose Altuve to turn a inning ending and game ending double play.
Overall it was a very solid game, and nice to see Veras come in and perform the way he did with the game on the line. That's two saves in a row for the Astros closer, and hopefully they can put him in some more save opportunities and regular work in the near future. The Astros go for the sweep against the Angels tomorrow night with Lucas Harrell on the mound.