It only took 136 games for an Astros pitcher to throw a complete game. Brett Oberholtzer became the first to do so on Sunday afternoon, and did it in style by twirling a four-hit shutout against the Seattle Mariners in an Astros win.
Oberholtzer allowed four singles and a walk in his brilliant nine innings, lowering his ERA to a tidy 2.79 on the year. His FIP of 3.63 and xFIP of 4.37 suggests he could be in for regression, but Obie did what he does best on Sunday - throw strikes.
The lefty threw first pitch strikes to 26 of the 32 batters he faced and 83 of his 113 pitches for strikes. The pounding of the zone produced only five strikeouts, but the defense of the Astros came to play on Sunday afternoon behind him. Trevor Crowe ran down a Kendrys Morales fly ball in the right-center field alley for a nice out in the second inning. In the eighth, second baseman Jose Altuve ranged to his right to make a great backhand stop and off-balanced throw to get Dustin Ackley.
And in the ninth, with a runner on for Seattle, L.J. Hoes made a nice sliding catch in foul territory near the seats.
Only one Seattle runner got past second base, in the form of Justin Smoak who reached third after walking and then being moved by a Brad Miller single with two outs in the third inning. Oberholtzer struck out the next batter, Nick Franklin, to end his only true threat of the day.
The Astros offense scattered six hits, but no runs during Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma's seven innings of work. They were surely relieved when he exited and Charlie Furbush entered the game in the eighth.
Atluve, who was 3-for-4 on the day after being moved back up into the two-hole, led off the inning with his 23rd double of the year. Jason Castro followed by smoking a two-bagger of his own, his 35th of the year, to score Altuve.
Two batters later, it was Brett Wallace's spot up in the order, but Brandon Barnes was sent to the plate. The Astros put on the suicide squeeze, and Barnes executed it perfectly to score Castro.
Seattle also pulled an Astros-like play by not having anyone cover first on the bunt, allowing Barnes to reach easily. Houston couldn't put up anymore runs, but Oberholtzer finished off his beauty to get the Astros their first win of the four-game set.
The Astros continue their home stand on Monday by welcoming the Twins. Paul Clemens will take the hill for the Astros.