Harrell, youngsters lead Astros past Nats 4-2


Yesterday’s Astros game was broadcast after the fact, but it was well worth the wait. While MASN announcers were busy drooling over Stephen Strasburg and misidentifying Astros players, Houston cruised to a 4-2 victory. Starting pitcher Lucas Harrell proved he is fully recovered from a groin strain that caused him to miss his last start and a few future Astros showed promise in their first taste of action with the big club.

Lucas Harrell (Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports)

Harrell appeared in mid-season form as he tossed four no-hit innings. Denard Span led off the bottom of the first with a flyout to leftfield. It would be the only ball to leave the infield against Harrell all day. Three strikeouts and seven ground balls later, Harrell turned things over to the bullpen. His last pitch was a microcosm of the outing as he ducked to elude a broken bat before picking up a ball that had already stopped rolling and threw to first for the out.

Prospects Carlos Correa, Jonathan Singleton, and Domingo Santana all had a hand in the Astros 3-run eighth inning that proved to be the difference in the game. Correa singled in the tying run, stole a base, and scored a run. Singleton lofted a loud out to deep centerfield that advanced a runner and Santana coaxed a walk to keep the inning going.

Getting all three prospects to the plate in the same inning was a stroke of genius by Bo Porter. Astros fans needed a positive glimpse into the future, especially with Jim Crane doing everything he can to piss us off.

A couple of players with little or no chance of making the team had nice showings on Saturday as well. Outfielder Trever Crowe went 3 for 5 out of the leadoff spot and Edgar Gonzalez quieted the Nats’ bats for the final three innings.

Overall, it was a great day to be an Astros fan — and that’s a statement that we haven’t heard in a long time. But the game also produced a couple of bumps in the road. A couple of defensive lapses in the sixth inning resulted in a pair of unearned runs. The upside — Josh Fields stayed focused on the mound and limited the damage. Outfielder Fernando Martinez had to leave the game with back stiffness and his status is day-to-day.

Bud Norris gets the start today as the Astros host the Blue Jays at 12:05.