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Miley clutch pitching, 3 homers, power Astros over Cardinals, 6-2

Astros take series

MLB: Houston Astros at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Is Wade Miley for real?

When the Astros signed him last winter for a paltry $4.5 million did they really expect him to have the seventh best ERA in the AL heading into August? (3.06) Is he really the seventh best pitcher in the American League?

Advanced stats say he’s pitching over his weight; xFIP-4.35, 15th in AL. SIERA 4.55, 19th in AL.

Today’s game is a perfect illustration of this discrepancy, of this picture of Wade MIley: over-achiever. Miley pitched five innings today without allowing a run. And yet, he allowed five hits, two walks and a hit by pitch, but managed to get key outs at just the right times to keep base runners from crossing home plate.

In the third inning, nursing a two run lead, Miley allowed the tying runs to reach base with singles to open the inning. And then he had to face scorching red-hot and always dangerous Paul Goldschmidt. He struck him out looking on a ball slightly outside, after Goldschmidt had fouled off a number of pitches. The next batter singled, but the runner from second only reached third base, loading the bases. But again Miley came up clutch, getting Paul DeJong to chase a high fastball on a 3-2 count. Matt Wieters then grounded out to end the threat, somehow leaving Miley unscathed.

In the fourth inning Miley hit Kolten Wong, who advanced to third on a single to left, but again Miley escaped with a strikeout, this time of Jose Martinez.

Don’t get me wrong, five innings pitched with eight base runners is decent pitching, but normally some kind of hitting sequence occurs that allows someone to score with that many men on base. So far this year Miley has a rather high LOB% of 81%. Wade Miley seems to be pitching with a fair amount of luck, or else he just has a little something extra just when he needs it.

Meanwhile the Astros’ home run bats were active today, with George Springer hitting yet another lead-off home run on the second pitch of the game, his 24th. Yordan Alvarez added another in the third, his 12th. Jose Altuve struck the decisive blow in the fifth, with a three run homer (16) that scored MIley, who walked, and Springer who doubled. It was his 1500th career hit. Two batters later Cardinal starter Dakota Hudson was removed from the game with a final line of five earned runs in four innings.

The Astros scored their final run in the eighth when Springer led off with a double, followed by an Altuve single, and then an RBI double by Michael Brantley. In all the Astros had 13 hits, with two doubles and three home runs. They left 11 runners on base.

It was feast or famine for the starters. All of them had multiple base hits except for three, Carlos Correa, Max Stassi, and Aledmys Diaz, all of whom had o-fer nights. Alex Bregman did not play.

Yuli Gurriel extended his hitting streak to 15 games today, and 26 games with hits out of the last 27.

The Cardinals scored in the sixth and ninth innings. Their run in the sixth came on a Rangel Ravelo double off Collin McHugh that scored Kolten Wang, who had singled earlier. Their run in the ninth came off of a Dexter Fowler home run off Chris Devenski.

In the last eleven days the Astros’ starters are 9-0 with a 1.42 ERA. Something to think about as the trade deadline looms and other teams are asking for the Astros’ future.

The Atros have an off day tomorrow before travelling to Cleveland to take on the hot Indians.

Here is a chart of all 1500 of Jose Altuve’s base hits.

In other Astros related news Tyler Bauer was an ass today. Oh, that’s not news? Well watch this.

The Astros are now in a virtual tie with the Yankees for first place in the AL.

Box score and videos HERE.