Can a pitcher get a win at the same time as he gets a blown save? I mean, is it fair, when the closer blows the lead that the starting pitcher struggled for six innings to hand him, to then be rewarded with the W.
The answer is, somehow, yes, as counter-intuitive as that seems. I’ve always hated that rule of scoring games, and yet tonight, somehow, it feels right.
Roberto Osuna, who holds the Astros record for most consecutive saves without a blown save, was sent into the game in the ninth inning to preserve a 3-1 lead. He immediately got into trouble. Tonight his string ended.
First it was a single by Rafael Devers, a well-hit ground ball that could have been a routine out but for Devers hitting it against the shift into the hole at shortstop. The next batter, Michael Chavis, hit the dinkiest of grounders that just got by the pitcher, but by the time shortstop Carlos Correa could get to it, Devers was already on second, and Chavis beat the throw to first. Two pitches, two cheap hits.
But surely Osuna could work his way out of this with the weakest part of the order coming up, especially next up, Jackie Bradley, BA.167. Osuna then hit Bradley with the pitch. Three pitches, bases loaded. Two pitches later Osuna surrendered two runs and the lead on a Christian Vasquez single. Score tied 3-3, men on first and third, no outs.
So how am I making Osuna out to be some kind of hero in this game, some guy who blows a save and yet deserves the W?
First he got Steve Pearce to strike out. Then he got Andrew Benintendi, who has been scorching balls all weekend, to pop up. He wisely gave a semi-intentional walk to Mookie Betts, and then he got Mitch Moreland on a weak ground out to himself for out three.
Yes Osuna blew the save with a mixture of poor pitching and bad luck, but he rallied to prevent a major meltdown, and kept his team in a position where one run would win the game.
And in the bottom of the ninth, that is just what happened. Aledmys Diaz led off with a double. Lead off doubles are good. I like Astros lead off doubles. Then Boston closer Matt Barnes walked both Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley to load the bases.
Didn’t Billy Beane say the only thing that matters is on base percentage? (I doubt it)
If I’m the Red Sox I’m not loving this very much. Bases loaded, no outs, number 1, Carlos Correa at bat. A double play will not help. The Sox played the infielders in, and they played five of them.
Correa says, no sweat. With two strikes he took an outside fastball off the end of his bat straight to right field like the full spectrum hitter he is.
Astros win, Astros win again. They beat the defending Champions for the fourth time in five games. In this series they beat Chris Sale and David Price (sort of) with the back of their rotation. And they did it without George Springer or Jose Altuve.
Of course, the game did not begin in the ninth inning. Brad Peacock was extremely effective once again in getting what should have been his fourth straight win. He pitched six scoreless innings, allowing only four hits, one walk, while striking out eight Red Sox. His ERA now sits at 3.19.
After his departure the Red Sox managed a run in the seventh after Hector Rondon allowed a single and a walk with two outs. Ryan Pressly, who allowed his first run all season last game, allowed the inherited runner to score on a Benintendi single. Luckily, J.D Martinez was tagged out on the play in a rundown to end the inning. Pressly then pitched a perfect eighth inning to set up the dramatic ninth inning finish.
The Astros actually started the scoring in the sixth inning when Carlos Correa opened the frame with a walk. Yuli Gurriel advanced him to second with a single, followed by a Josh Reddick RBI single and a soft Tyler White RBI single that just eluded the glove of second baseman Chavis.
The Stros added a run in the seventh with another Gurriel RBI single, which scored Aledmys Diaz, who had earlier doubled on a smash to left center field.
Here’s the Gurriel single, a little unorthodox.
Although the Astros had 13 hits, they left 12 runners on base against an array of Boston’s second tier pitchers. David Price was mysteriously removed from the game after two outs in the first, followed by guys named Brewer, Lakins, Hembree, and Velazquez. Except for Hembree, these guys all came in with ERA’s above 4.50, and Hembree had pitched last night. But they got to the closer when need be, so credit to the Astros for another 4-3 win against the Red Sox in dramatic style.
Tomorrow the Astros send Justin Verlander to the mound against Eduardo Rodriguez as they go for the sweep. Game time 1:10 PM CDT.
Box score and videos HERE.