The Houston Astros are World Champions. Sometimes even World Champions have off nights.
The Astros were lackluster in every aspect of the game tonight; starting pitching, relief pitching, offense and defense.
Let’s start with starting pitching. Lance McCullers, last seen throwing seven scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts, tonight gave up six runs in four innings. He surrendered five walks, six hits and hit two batters. The big blow was a three run homer to Chad Pinder in the fourth.
Although Ken Giles was sent to the minors this afternoon, his bullpen colleagues had problems of their own. Brad Peacock, who had surrendered four home runs in his previous 3 outings, managed not to give up a dinger this evening, but did give up two doubles off the wall in center field. He allowed one run but was saved from allowing another when rookie Kyle Tucker made a perfect throw from left field clocked at 92 mph to throw out a runner at home.
Tony Sipp came in for Peacock and faced four batters, retiring them all, and getting three strikeouts.
Tonight left handed rookie Cionel Perez got his major league debut with mixed results. He pitched 1.2 innings, allowed one run, gave up two hits, two walks, but got two strikeouts while flashing an active 97 mph fastball and sharp slider.
Offensively the Astros only managed seven hits, and had only two runners in scoring position. Yuli Gurriel had an RBI single in the fourth that scored Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve, and Tyler White had a solo home run in the fifth, his first of the year.
Even the fielding was lackluster tonight, a rare two error night for the Astros defenders. Bregman overthrew first base after a routine ground ball to shortstop, and Altuve failed to catch a putout at second, which not only ruined a double play, but allowed the runner who would have been easily out at second to be safe. However all runs charged against Astros pitchers were earned.
Charlie Morton (11-2, 2.83 ERA) will try to even the series against Trevor Cahill (1-2, 2.77 ERA).
Early game time 1:10 CDT
Box score and videos here.