GAME 150 - September 20: Astros 8, Nationals 2
For someone who watches nearly every game of the season on the computer, it's a strange (and wonderful) experience to actually go to a real live ballgame. My friend Chuck invited me to go to see the first game in the Astros vs Nationals series. Not only did I have the great pleasure of watching a game with someone who loves baseball, I got to do so from great seats, third row field-level, right behind first base. Unfortunately for Chuck, who is a Nationals fan, his team lost, due to a particularly ugly series of events in the fifth inning. Ugly for the Nats, beautiful for the Astros: Homers by Quintero and Blum, interspersed with a few hits, and spiced with a few Nationals' fielding errors. Here's Chuck (hoping to catch a flying tee shirt):
Bud Lite got roughed up a bit in the first inning, which cost 30 pitches and a pair of Nationals runs. But after that he settled in and lasted into the seventh inning. He gave up just those 2 first-inning runs on 6 hits, 4 walks, striking out 6.
When Norris left, his reliever Byrdak inherited a full house with slugger Adam Dunn coming to the plate. NO PROBLEM! Byrdak struck him out on 3 pitches. Sweet. (Sorry Chuck.)
Fulchino and Abad each pitched a scoreless inning to finish off the Nats.
The Astros got their first run of the game in the third inning when Norris put down a beautiful squeeze bunt, scoring Bogusevic from third. After that, all the runs came in a seven-run fifth inning, when the Astros batted around. CJ led off with a double, then scored the tying run on Bogusevic's single, with a little help from Adam Dunn's throwing error. Quintero then homered to left to make it 4-2. Norris reached second base on a fielding error by the left fielder. Bourgeois struck out for the first out. Kepp singled, scoring Norris, with a little help from the Nats' third fielding error of the inning. Pence flied out for the second out. El Caballo singled to keep the inning alive, so Blum could hit his 3-run homer to make it 8-2.
Here are a few more of my pix from the game. I posted a lot more of my photos of the game on the Astros Fans in Exile Facebook photo album. Here's Bagwell watching Brett Wallace during BP:
Here's a pickoff throw from Norris to El Caballo, who was playing first base in this game:
Here's Q behind the plate:
Here's CJ at the plate, with Bogusevic on deck:
More Bagwell (have I mentioned recently how great it is to see him in uni?!) - this one talking with some soldiers and their families before the game:
And, of course, no game would be complete without Fans of the Game. This is Joe, a huge Astros fan, even if he isn't wearing the full Astros fan costume:
And here are my Nats Fans of the Game (after my friend Chuck, of course), John and his daughter Meredith. (John and I met on the subway train to the stadium.)
Astros are now just 4 games under .500, right on target to finish off their WINNING season. Ever the optimist! I'll be back at the ballpark for Game 2. Look for me in the stands!!! I'm sure you'll be able to hear me cheering!