Astros snatch victory from the jaws of defeat
The Astros staged an unlikely comeback off Marlins closer Heath Bell in the ninth inning on Saturday. The Houston offense went through three distinguishably different stages of effectiveness during the game. Jordan Schafer led off the first inning with a walk and came around to score for an early 1-0 lead. The Astros wasted several scoring opportunities over the first four innings, getting runners thrown out on the base paths and stranding several others. Then the Astros bats fell silent for innings five through eight, failing to record a single hit. Heath Bell entered the game in the ninth with Miami leading 4-1. That’s when things got interesting.
Just when it look like the Astros would go quietly into the Florida night, Jose Altuve cracked a one-out double. Pinch-hitter Travis Buck followed with an RBI single to make it 4-2. Jordan Schafer reached on catchers interference and suddenly the Astros had the go-ahead run at the plate. One out later J.D. Martinez extended the game and his hitting streak with a single. Carlos Lee then tied the game with his third hit of the night, sending Bell to the showers.
Lefty specialist Randy Choate came in to face Brian Bogusevic and got him to hit a lazy fly ball to left. Logan Morrison dropped the ball and pinch-runner Justin Maxwell scored to give the Astros a 5-4 lead. Joey Cora then employed his Far East style a managing by pulling Morrison and Choate from the game in a double-switch.
Brett Myers came in and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save of the season, sending Marlins fans home shaking their heads in disbelief. It was a huge win for the young Astros, who were on the precipice of losing their fourth straight. Instead, the Astros evened their record at 4-4 and Rhiner Cruz picked up his first big league win. Cruz pitched two scoreless innings in relief of starter Bud Norris. Norris struggled early but kept his team in the game by retiring ten of the last eleven hitters he faced. J.A. Happ gets the start tomorrow against Anibal Sanchez in the series finale.