GAME 134 - September 3: Dbacks 4, Astros 3
GAME 135 - September 4: Astros 6, Dbacks 5
GAME 136 - September 5: Astros 3, Dbacks 2
Another winning series for the Astros. It's always fun to win, even when you're not going to the playoffs. Even when the team you beat is in last place. The Snakes are not having a good year. If it weren't for Pittsburgh (already eliminated!), the Diamondbacks would be the worst team in the league. Astros fans can sympathize with that situation, having been there not long ago. But since we sold off our big stars and started playing the kids, we're having some fun. Hey - the Astros are only 8 games under .500 now. They could still finish with a winning season. That's my new ever-optimistic prediction.
Despite the Diamondback's lowly rank in the standings, they did come into this series having won 6 of their previous 7 games. So it wasn't a breeze, as you can see from the scores above. All three games were won or lost by a single run. Both of the Astros wins ended with the tying Diamondback run in scoring position.
Brett Myers is really getting to be a bore. He's so predictable this year. In Friday night's opener, he did what he always does: Pitched another 6 innings, his 28th consecutive 6+ inning start. With his ERA hovering around 3 and the consistency of his performances, he's become quite a reliable inning eater. All this good throwing isn't necessarily resulting in a big win record though, he's only 10-7, with Friday night's no decision illustrating why. His team mates got plenty of hits (11), but only plated single runs in 3 innings. Myers, who hit a double, was one of the runners who scored. The game went into the bottom of the 8th inning tied, before Wilton Lopez gave up an RBI sac fly for the winning Snake bite.
Norris did not have a quality start on Saturday night, but he was really only an unfortunate pitch away from one. With the game out West, when I tuned in at the end of the Sabbath, it was still in the first inning and the Astros had a quick 1-0 lead. The Dbacks tied it up in the bottom of the inning, and added another in the second. Things stayed tight at 2-1 until the fifth. Then, with 2 outs in the bottom of the inning, Bud Lite gave up a 3-run homer to give the Snakes a 5-1 lead. But this isn't your old roll-over-and-die Astros team from the past -- this is the new don't-cry-come-from-behind team! The Astros got one run back in the sixth (still leaving Bud holding the bag for a loss), and then knocked in four more in the eighth to take -- and keep -- the lead. The hero of the game was Carlos Lee, who has suddenly surged in RBIs into the respectable range, with 34 RBIs in the past 34 games. He may even hit 100 this year, go figure! (A comeback from El Cabernet would be a good thing, since we're stuck with him for 2 more years.)
Astros.com ran a headline for Sunday's game that said "Astros take lead early, never look back." Hah! I bet they were looking back over their shoulders the whole came, watching the Diamondbacks creeping up on them! Before the game, I was tweeting about how fun it would be if something special happened today -- a no-hitter, a blowout. Then when Pence hit a 3-run homer before the Astros had even logged their first out of the game, I was pretty hopeful for a massive pile of runs. That was not to be -- the Astros did put runners on base (including Sanchez on third, twice), but never scored again. Meanwhile, Happ allowed solo homers in the 3rd and 4th innings to make it a really close game. Happ kept the Diamondbacks quiet for the rest of his 7 innings, and the Lindstrom-Lyon duo took it from there.
Special mention for these games goes to Angel Sanchez, who got two singles Friday, a single and a triple on Saturday, and another triple on Sunday. Pence has been hitting well (and with power), including his 22nd homer on Sunday -- his BA is now over .290.