GAME 79 - June 30: Astros 5, Brewers 1
After Tuesday night's big come-from-behinder, I was suckered into believing up until the last out, that the Astros would somehow heroically win last night's game. Myers, uncharacteristically, had given up 7 runs on 4 homers and the odd double to put the Astros in a hole. He hung on for 6 innings, keeping his streak of 6+ inning starts going, but it was hardly a quality start. But the Astros had some pop of their own, scoring 3 runs in the fifth and another in the sixth, thanks to a homer from Feliz, a 3 for 5/2 RBI night for Berkman, and 2 for 4/2RBI game for Bourn. All in all, a respectable performance against the Brewers' ace, Yovani Gallardo. Coming into the ninth inning 3 runs down was a bit of a bummer, but once you get that come-from-behind mojo going, you believe anything is possible. The inning didn't start auspiciously: Bourgeois was a statue, past which one ball and three called strikes whizzed by. Bourn singled, and (of course) stole second, his second SB of the game. Keppinger, however, struck out for the second out. Berkman kept the hope going with a double, scoring Bourn. Lee walked, bringing up Pence - and the go-ahead run - to the plate. Homer, homer, homer, I chanted from my bed, where I was watching the game on my iPod touch and earphones. He grounded out to end the game.
This afternoon I was sitting in a long meeting at the office, getting a little grouchy. At the end the meeting, my colleague Ann P. (a huge Twins fan) remarked that my mood was understandable since my team had lost. The Astros were playing an afternoon game, which had started around the same time at the meeting. But Ann had been in the meeting the whole time, with no sign of a Blackberry or other internet-accessible device. So how did she know the Astros lost? Turned out that she was just giving me the business. I ran back to my office and checked the score online -- the Astros were leading late in the game. So here I am now, eating my dinner with mlb.tv on my iMac, watching Wandy have a good start, and knowing that there's going to be a happy inning. I'm going to pour a glass of wine now and then I'll finish this blog post up when the game's over. Here are some pictures of Wandy from Spring Training to tide you over until I come back...
This game was largely the Wandy Show -- good pitching, good fielding, and (what I always love) supporting himself at the plate. In the pitching department, Wandy threw 7 innings, giving up only a single run on 7 hits, a walk, and 6 strikeouts. With base runners in every inning, he kept his cool, pitched out of trouble, and kept them Brewers from scoring. His best fielding move came in the sixth inning with a runner on second. Wandy he fielded a ground ball, faked a throw to first, and then whirled and threw out the runner, who decided to make a try for third. Sweet. Helping himself at the plate, Wandy put down a perfect bunt for a suicide squeeze, scoring Blum from third. The RBI put Houston ahead 2-1, and they never gave up the lead. The Astros added a trio of runs in the seventh, but it was all insurance, since Wandy and the bullpen had things under control. Lindstrom and Lyon pitched two hitless innings in relief to keep Wandy's "W" intact.
Wandy got some nice support from his teammates, both in fielding and at the plate. Bourn had another terrific catch, leaping at the wall to catch a ball that appeared to be heading out of town. Chris Johnson had another 4-hit game, his second of the roadtrip. Blum got on base in every at bat, with a double, a single, and a pair of walks. Berkman hit a double and walked twice. All in all a fun game, once with very little stress -- especially since I watched it knowing the outcome ahead of time. :-)
So that's it for June - a fantastic month for the Astros! Hey, it's all relative. When you start the first two months of the season as miserably as the Astros have, a .500 month is a huge improvement. We're a long way from getting back to an overall .500 record (still 17 games under), but the overall direction is positive. I'm off to Seattle for a long Fourth of July holiday weekend with my folks and siblings, planning to celebrate my mother's birthday belatedly with a weekend of mah jongg and good food. And maybe some baseball watching too. Tweet me.