For Houston, Collin McHugh made the game a pitchers' duel over seven innings, but Weaver was the story of the night. The 31-year-old came within one run of what some baseball writers have termed a "Maddux": a complete game shutout wherein the starter throws fewer than 100 pitches.
Indeed, Weaver's pitching style evoked the recent Hall of Fame inductee. He struck out only five batters while inducing weak contact throughout the night, finishing with 94 pitches. In the end, he surrendered just two hits, a walk, and a hit batsman. Weaver accomplished this all while hurling a fastball in the mid-to-high 80s and a curveball that sometimes dipped into the 60s.
The biggest bright spot for the 'Stros, of course, was McHugh, the game's tough-luck loser. He allowed only two earned runs on four hits over seven innings, tallying seven strikeouts along the way. One of the four hits was a home run by Albert Pujols, but McHugh was otherwise able to limit hard contact. With his performance, he lowered his season ERA to 3.32 and raised his innings total to 38.
For the Astros' offense, George Springer provided both joy and frustration. Leading off the fourth inning, he pummeled a slider over the left field fence, tying the game at 1. The homer was the fourth of the outfielder's young career.
Later, with one out in the ninth, Springer got to first after being hit by a Weaver fastball (which, at 84 MPH, must not have hurt much). However, with Dexter Fowler at the plate representing the go-ahead run, Springer committed perhaps the worst rookie error: he got picked off. His miscue brought Weaver within one out of his complete game, which he promptly finished by inducing a popout from Fowler.
With the Angels series finished, the Astros now turn their sights to Seattle, where they will start a four-game set tomorrow night. Jarred Cosart will toe the rubber for Houston, facing the Mariners' young lefty Roenis Elias. Against Seattle on April 23rd, Cosart pitched 6.2 innings while allowing only two earned runs.
--Besides Springer's home run, Houston's only other hit was a double by Jason Castro.
--Against the Astros on April 6th, Weaver struggled through 5.2 innings, surrendering five earned runs on five hits and taking the loss. Obviously, the righty executed more effectively on Wednesday, bringing his season ERA down to 3.14.
--Regarding the "Maddux" stat, its namesake still holds the all-time record for it: 13. Since 1988, the year in which MLB started to more consistently track pitch-counts, the pitcher with the second-most Madduxes is lefty Zane Smith, who twirled seven.