Fortunately, the Astros didn’t have much time to dwell on Wednesday night’s historic performance by Matt Cain. No, the Astros had work to do. They were back in action against the Giants Thursday afternoon. The series finale pitted Astros ace Wandy Rodriguez against the much less intimidating Barry Zito.
It didn’t take long for the Astros to get the monkey off their back from last night’s perfect game. Jose Altuve started things off with a line drive base hit to lead off the first inning. Altuve would be stranded at third base, but the Astros would get on the board in the second inning when Matt Downs clubbed a solo homer to leftfield.
It was the third inning that turned out to be the difference in this one. Zito couldn’t find the plate and walked the bases loaded with only one out. J.D. Martinez then blasted a grand slam deep into the leftfield bleachers to give Houston a 5-0 lead. The Giants tried to come back but were only able to close the gap to 5-3 thanks to a homer by Brandon Belt. It was Belt’s third straight game with a homerun but this time it wasn’t enough.
Justin Maxwell drove in Brian Bixler with an insurance run in the eighth. Fernando Rodriguez and Brett Myers nailed things down out of the bullpen and Wandy picked up his sixth win of the season. Myers earned his 16th save with a scoreless ninth that included a nifty double-play started by Downs at first base.
The Astros are now 3-3 on the road trip and head to Arlington for three games against the Rangers. Jordan Lyles gets the start tomorrow against Yu Darvish. The rotation for the rest of the series is still somewhat of a mystery. Darvish has gone on record saying he is fatigued due to the rigorous schedule of the big leagues. Starters get an extra day of rest in the Japanese Leagues. But the Rangers are dealing with some injuries in their rotation and Darvish will have to rest later. Lucas Harrell will start Saturday for the Astros and Bud Norris‘ turn in the rotation comes up on Sunday. Norris is still nursing a sore knee and may not be available. The Astros are currently weighing their options on possible replacements for Bud.