Brett Oberholtzer had his worst start as an Astro this afternoon. In actuality it was a pretty good start against the Angels as the Astros won 7-5 for the series victory. The only reason why this goes down as the lefty’s worst start to date is because he has set the bar so high.
Oberholtzer pitched six innings for his third win of the season, allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out four. In those six innings he threw 97 pitches and was able to work out of trouble pretty well.
L.J. Hoes wasted no time getting things started for Houston this afternoon. After stepping into hitting coach John Mallee’s lab, Hoes has been hitting the ball extremely well as of late.
In the three games against the Angels, Hoes went 8-13 and in the first inning today, the outfielder hit his first major league home run. His average now sits at .317 on the season and he has helped to stabilize the outfield situation along with Robbie Grossman.
Grossman only went 1-4 today, but that one hit was an RBI double scoring Brandon Barnes and staking Oberholtzer to a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the second.
The Astros should have scored more than two runs in that second inning, but Marwin Gonzalez was not able to get the job done with the bases loaded and nobody out. Gonzalez got his first start at shortstop since recently being recalled, and he hit into a double play for Houston’s second run. Gonzalez did manage one hit in the game, but he left five Astros on base.
Chris Nelson got the Angels started, chipping away at the three run deficit with a second inning sacrifice fly. Then in each of the next two innings Oberholtzer allowed a run on a Mark Trumbo single and Josh Hamilton home run.
Even though the Astros only scored three runs on Angels’ starter Jason Vargas, they made him work. Vargas threw 95 pitches in 5.1 innings as they walked three times and picked up seven of their twelve hits against the lefty.
In the seventh inning, Juan Gutierrez intentionally walked Carlos Corporan, and Matt Dominguez made him pay by blasting a three run home run to give the Astros the lead for good. A Jose Altuve‘s eighth inning sacrifice fly added an insurance run.
It appears that Bo Porter‘s six man rotation has finally caught up to him. Jordan Lyles came out of the bullpen today to replace Oberholtzer, and looked pretty good initially as he retired the Angels in order in the seventh inning.
The eighth inning was not as kind to Lyles as he allowed a one out walk to Kole Calhoun which was followed up by Trumbo’s 28th home run of the season. Lyles then ran into trouble in the ninth inning, and gave way to another surprise reliever.
We all thought we had the Astros’ closer situation figured out, but it was Kevin Chapman who came out of the bullpen for the save today. Chapman entered the game with one out and two runners on base. He promptly induced a game ending double play from Peter Bourjos to wrap up the win and the series.