What a crisp, beautiful National League-style ballgame. An Astros victory in a pitchers' duel that clocks in at two hours and seventeen minutes?!? Sign me up. every. damn. time.
All of the offense in this game came courtesy of long balls from two of the youngest, newest 'Stros: Teoscar Hernandez and Alex Bregman. Hernandez turned on a ball on the inside half of the plate in the fifth for a majestic jack that also drove in A.J. Reed, who had walked one batter in front of him. Bregman tacked on a solo shot in the ninth to give the Astros more cushion than they would end up needing. Also, my auto-correct keeps trying to change Bregman to Bergman, so apologies, Alex, if I miss a rogue Berg.
Things got a little weird in the ninth after Ken Giles struck out the first two batters he saw with his filthy, filthy slider. Gregor Polanco hit a ground rule double, and then David Freese reached on what was eventually ruled an infield single. Funny thing about that single, though, is Bregman made a helluva play at third to corral it, only to throw the ball away in the vicinity of first base. Polanco scores on the throwing error, and Freese tries to advance to second, however, thanks to a heads up play by Marwin Gonzalez, who came in as a defensive replacement at 1B for Reed, Freese is thrown out and the game is over. Cool!
The real story of this game, however, is pitching. Jameson Taillon was excellent, striking out 8 Astros and allowing only 4 hits. Luckily, one of those hits was the Hernandez bomb. Doug Fister was even better, allowing only 3 hits and 1 walk over 7 innings, while striking out 6 Pirates. Oh my, how I miss NL baseball.
I have no statistical evidence to back this up, but I'm pretty sure I've watched more Astros vs. Pirates games than any other match up over the course of my life. Thank you, National League Central, unbalanced schedule, and the lazy, aimless days of youth.
Game 2 of this 3 game series kicks off tomorrow evening at 6:05 PM Central.