Astros Master the Art of Spoiler – Defeat Indians 3-1
The Astros returned home on Monday night to welcome the Cleveland Indians in for a four game set. The pitching match-up squared Collin McHugh versus Zach McAllister.
This quick paced game was all about defense, pitching, and a few timely hits. Collin McHugh continues to show he is extremely mature for his age, dazzling through just under seven innings. That little guy Jose Altuve chimed in with three hits, leaving him one under Craig Biggio‘s hit record at 209. All and all a very successful day at the ball yard, as the Astros continue to master the art of spoiler.
The start of the game was not kind to first baseman Marc Krauss. He dropped an easy 4-3 play, on a throw to first thus creating a two base error. Following two outs recorded by McHugh, Carlos Santana blooped a ball to right field for the first hit and run of the game. The Indians got a freebie for a 1-0 lead.
McAllister looked absolutely dominant in the first two frames striking out five, while allowing one hit. His fastball was crisp hitting speeds of 96 miles an hour. The Astros however found a way to solve the cooker, the second time through the order. In the bottom of the third Astros strung together multiple hits, first a single by Gregorio Petit, a double to left field by Robbie Grossman, and a solid two rbi single up the middle by Jose Altuve. Former Astro Michael Bourn saved the day to prevent a big inning from occurring, making a diving catch in center off the bat of Dexter Fowler. The Astros lead 2-1.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth the Astros struck with another rally. Jason Castro popped an opposite field double just shy of the Crawford Boxes, followed by an infield knock out of Jake Marsinick. However the Astros would be held right where they are at two to one.
Collin McHugh appeared to get stronger with each inning through the first five, using an assortment of hard and offspeed pitches to keep the playoff contending Indians off balance. Collin threw his curve in a variety of counts, including one’s where he was behind in the count.
With one out in the top of the seventh a line drive was hit to McHugh that would abruptly end his night. Lonnie Chisenhall roped one back to the mound, clanging off of Collin’s left wrist Collin was able to pick the ball up and throw it to first for the out, but he was in clear pain. Collin would exit the game at 90 pitches through six and two-thirds of brilliantly pitched no earned run baseball. Kevin Chapman checked in to record the final out.
Petit banged out a single with two outs in the bottom half of the seventh, ending a very solid day for McAllister. Lefty C.C. Lee checked in to record the final out, keeping the pitchers duel in check. Astros lead after seven 2-1.
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Altuve continued his magical season with yet another three hit game, the third a leadoff triple in the bottom of the eighth. Altuve hit a slicing line drive to the right field corner off of reliever Scott Atchison. Fowler followed with a little insurance by popping a ball to Bourn in center, for a sacrifice fly.
Chad Qualls entered in the ninth, looking sharp as ever. His three outs were a bit painful though, taking a ball off of his throwing hand. Fortunately Chad stayed in the game to complete the save, and even more fortunate Collin McHugh was said to be okay.
In game two the Astros will send out youngster Nick Tropeano to face off against Indians hurler Corey Kluber. Jose Altuve will look to make history and become the all time Astros hit leader with the action beginning at 7:10.