It’s been said that pitching wins championships. Over the last two years, the Astros organization has proven that old adage to be true. During that time, Astros affiliates have won league championships in the California League (Lancaster 2012), Midwest League (Quad Cities 2013), and New York Penn League (Tri City 2013).
The Lancaster squad also came within one game of defending their title last season. This year, they are up to the same old tricks. On Tuesday, three Lancaster pitchers combined for a no-hitter against the Bakersfield Blaze. Last night, the organization got outstanding pitching performances at every level.
Quad Cities got a combined shutout from Adrian Houser, Kevin Comer, and Albert Minnis in a 7-0 win over Kane County. Houser picked up his second win of the year with a five inning, three hit, one walk, three strikeout performance.
AAA Oklahoma City’s Nick Tropeano also picked up his second win of the year Thursday. Nashville managed only one hit and two walks in six innings against Tropeano. The native of New York state fanned seven in the victory.
Kyle Smith allowed only two hits and two walks in six innings of work for AA Corpus Christi. Unfortunately, he didn’t figure in the decision as the game against San Antonio went into extra innings. Not to be outdone, Thomas Shirley followed Smith with four scoreless innings of his own. Jiovanni Mier would help make Shirley a winner by doubling home the go-ahead run in the top of the eleventh. Alex Sogard sealed the deal with a scoreless bottom half of the inning to earn his second save.
Kyle Westwood got the start for Lancaster Thursday night. Westwood left the game with a 10-1 lead in the eighth inning, making it four excellent starts and an organizational sweep for the evening. Westwood’s line: 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 2 K.
It’s nights like these that give hope to Astros fans who have seen more than their share of sorrow over the last three plus years.
*Featured image of Thomas Shirley courtesy of Tammy Tucker.