Riding the momentum and all the happy feels from Saturday night's highlight-filled victory, the Astros overcame some early adversity to take a comfortable win from the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon, the Astros' third straight win and fifth in seven games. Scott Feldman entered the game not having recorded a win since June 29 against the Tigers and carrying a 4.90 home ERA on the season along with a 6.39 ERA in day games. Marcus Stroman came in with wins in his last three starts, having surrendered a single run to go along with a 20:4 K;BB ratio in that stretch. Luckily the game is not played on paper.
Feldman surrendered a run on 5 hits through the first two innings and looked downright hittable early on. However, he managed to induce a key double play to escape further damage in the top of the 2nd, getting the speedy (former Astros great) Anthony Gose to ground into a 6-4-3 double play thanks to a great turn by Jose Altuve at second base. The Astros went down quietly in the first 2 innings, failing to record a baserunner, and Feldman found himself in trouble again in the 3rd. With the bases loaded and 1 out, Feldman escaped again by getting a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Juan Francisco. On Roy Oswalt bobblehead day, Feldman paid homage to The Wizard nicely, working some magic of his own to escape the early jams.
Jake Marisnick (welcome to the boxscore buddy, feel free to stay a while) would be the first Astro to reach base knocking a groundball single into left field in the 3rd inning. Altuve would follow with a 2 out single, and Robbie Grossman worked a sneaky-good walk to load the bases for Trogdor. After falling behind 0-2, Chris Carter laid off some tough pitches from Stroman and singled through the left side to give the Astros a 2-1 lead. Grossman and Carter's at-bats both showed some really impressive resolve in the situation that was missing in their games earlier in the season and were the early keys to setting the tone of the game for the bats.
Once given the lead, Feldman put it in cruise control and didn't look back. The Astros added on 3 more runs in the 4th to knock Stroman out of the game for good. Big Jon Singleton continued to knock the ball all over the park, a welcome sign to those who have been waiting to see him hit his stride. Singleton doubled after a Marc Krauss single, and Matty D kept the line moving with a single to center. Marisnick followed suit, with another single to left field. You can see his approach at the plate has its flaws, but if he's making contact and putting the ball on the ground, you have to feel good about what you're going to get given his tool set. Altuve would be intentionally walked with runners on 2nd and 3rd to bring Grossman to the plate with the bases loaded and 1 out. Another gritty at-bat led to an RBI walk. Really impressive at-bats in what has been a nice stretch from the outfielder.
Feldman took the ball the rest of the way, finishing off the complete game on 109 pitches and surrendering only 2 baserunners after the 3rd inning. The Astros finish off the 10 game homestand on a high note after being swept by the Marlins to kick it off. Winners of 5 of their last 7 games and last 2 series, the Astros are off on Monday and travel to Philadelphia to face the lowly Phillies, with both George Springer and Dexter Fowler looking like they might be set to re-join the team after stints on the DL. Stay hot, kids.
Beyond the Boxscore
- Infield defense was very strong in this game, and for as much as the shift takes its criticism at times, it seemed to work out favorably on multiple occasions for the groundball-heavy Feldman.
- Again, great at-bats by both Robbie Grossman and Chris Carter to turn the tide early in the game. Good to see guys who have struggled mightily at times throughout their tenures with the team continue to put together good ABs and get positive results
- Big Jon with the #HUSTLE. Singleton came out of the box hard on single in the 5th, ultimately putting on the brakes and staying at first. For the second straight game, a throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed an Astros baserunner to go 1st to 3rd, even though Singleton didn't come all the way around on the play like Altuve did last night.