I think Bill Hall won a couple of more fans tonight with his walk off single in the bottom of the ninth that gave the Astros a 6-5 victory over the Cardinals. Hall has struggled so far this season, only hitting .230, but worked a full count before dropping a single into left field that brought Michael Bourn home for the winning run.
Some people in Houston may not be happy with Brandon Lyon, who gave up a run in the top of the inning in a tied game to set up Bill Hall’s heroics, but they should be happy they don’t have to deal with the mess that is St. Louis’ closer situation. Ryan Franklin started the season as the closer before losing it last week to Mitchell Boggs, who went on to pitch well, collecting three saves before tonight. Boggs however looked completely lost and was his own worst enemy. He allowed Brian Boguesvic get to third base on a fielding error of Michael Bourn’s bunt which was soon followed by a wild pitch that allowed Boguesvic to get home and tie the game.
The Astros followed this up with back to back singles by Angel Sanchez and Hunter Pence to load the bases and after a pop up by Carlos Lee, Bill Hall came up with the big hit to get the Astros their ninth win of the season. Hunter Pence had a big game going 3 for 5 and hit his fourth home run of the season. The team as whole was locked in pretty good, as every starter got a hit except Carlos Lee. Chris Johnson had a good game that can hopefully break him out of his slump, going 2 for 4 and knocking in two RBI in the sixth inning to tie the game at the time.
On the pitching side, Bud Norris had a good outing going six innings only giving up three runs and striking out six. He was followed up by Fernando Abad and John Fulchino who combined for two innings and one run given up. This then lead to Brad Mills putting Brandon Lyon in the top of the ninth in a non-save situation. Lyon ended up giving up an RBI to Lance Berkman, who made his first return to Minute Maid Park since being traded last summer, allowing the Cardinals to take a 5-4 lead. I don’t understand Mills decision to put Lyon in for that situation as he has pitched well since his Opening Day disaster but closers generally struggle in non-save situations and a bad outing could shake his confidence.
In the end it worked out for the Astros and after the dust settled they got to put one up in the win column, which is what matters. The Astros are back at it tomorrow as J.A. Happ takes the mound against Kyle Lohse.