When the Houston Astros put together their highlight reel for the 2014 season it will be chock full of plays from Saturday’s 8-2 win over Toronto. It may have been the most exciting game I have ever attended.
Toronto took the lead with a run in the first inning against Brett Oberholtzer. But it could have been worse. Obie did a nice job of pitching out of trouble and limiting the damage. The Astros came back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame to take the lead. After that, Oberholtzer and Jays starter R.A. Dickey settled in and the game turned into somewhat of a pitcher’s duel.
With the score tied at two tn the bottom of the fifth, Jose Altuve got the Astros highlight reel started. Stationed at first base after what seemed like his 400th hit of the season, Altuve drew a pickoff throw from Dickey. The throw got past Danny Valencia and Altuve took off — and he didn’t stop at second. Valencia tried to throw Altuve out at third and the ball trickled about 20 feet into leftfield. That was enough for Altuve to sprint home with the go-ahead run.
Highlight reel play #2 took place two batters later when Chris Carter sent a Dickey offering to the train tracks in leftfield.
The score stayed 4-2 until the eighth inning. That’s when Michael Foltynewicz made his big league debut in relief of Oberholtzer. Folty threw nothing but fastballs, getting a popup for out one and striking out Jose Bautista for out number two. On strike three Bautista appeared to start his swing before the ball left Folty’s hand — and he still couldn’t catch up to it. Folty walked the next hitter and was removed from the game in favor of Tony Sipp when Toronto sent left-handed hitting Juan Francisco up to pinch hit.
Francisco sent Sipp’s first pitch deep to rightfield. Robbie Grossman drifted back, leaped at the wall, and reached over the wall to snare what would have been a game-tying homerun.
In the bottom of the eighth the Astros seemed to be energized by Grossman’s great defensive play. Chris Carter’s leadoff single chased Dickey from the game. Jason Castro greeted reliever Brett Cecil with an opposite field homerun. L.J. Hoes delivered a pinch hit single and Jon Singleton followed with a deep drive to center. Jays centerfielder Anthony Gose wiped out and had to scramble to get the ball in before Singleton could circle the bases. A pair of perfect throws resulted in the both Singleton and the ball arriving at home plate simultaneously. The original call was out but a replay challenge showed that Jon was clearly in under the tag and the call was reversed. Inside-the-park homerun!
That made the score 8-2 and that is how it would stay. In the ninth, L.J. Hoes added another highlight reel play when he dove into the stands to make an unbelievable catch that was reminiscent of Derek Jeter. Hoes gained my respect by giving an all-out effort despite having a 6-run lead in the ninth inning.
I’ve already gone on record with my prediction that the Astros would lose at least 100 games this season. But, I can tell you one thing, if the team continues to play like they did Saturday night, Mattress Mack is going to be giving away a lot of free furniture.