Game 2: Astros 4, Cardinals 1
Now THAT'S how a baseball game is supposed to go.
Andy Pettitte: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER (on Reggie Sanders' solo HR), 0 BB, 3 K
Chad Qualls: 2 perfect innings, making it look easy
In the 3rd inning, Craig Biggio doubled (good hustle play into 2nd) and Jeff Bagwell singled him in in a nice AB (got up 3-0, took 2 tough pitches, stayed with a breaking ball and hit a liner)
In the 6th, Ensberg singled, Scott K'd (tough start for him, he's 0-for-6), Lane singled, and Ausmus GIDP'd on the 1st pitch.
However, in the 8th, Garner learned from the past, as once again, Ensberg singled, Burke pinch-hit and popped out on a tough pitch to bunt, Lane singled, and Garner pinch-hit with Mike Lamb, who triped to RF, driving in 2, and Taveras hit a hard grounder up the middle for the final 4-1 score.
Lidge closed out the 9th, although not without a little scare.
Adam Everett better start taking some pitches if he wants to stay in the leadoff spot. Prime example: Pettitte has a great 9-pitch AB in the 3rd before striking out...and then Everett pops up to SS on the 1st pitch. Um...bad? Everett needs to take the Taveras route and hit hard ground balls and line drives, because he is NOT a power hitter, and he needs to get on base. A lot.
Craig Biggio, 39 year old legs and all, is off to a hot start, just like last year. Before I start whining about how Burke needs to play, how about a compromise: if Burke gets the occasional (weekly?) start and plenty of pinch-hit AB's, this should keep Biggio a little fresher, so he might not collapse in the 2nd half. A silver lining, if you will.
Luke Scott is pressing.
Andy Pettitte looked good, throwing a lot of strikes, and getting his usual ground balls. Again, I think Burke should start when Pettitte does, because he's such an extreme groundballer and even the most rabid Biggio fan can't say Biggio is better defensively.
Chad Qualls is SOLID. 6 up, 6 down, including striking out Jim Edmonds on a Maddux-like pitch: starts inside to lefties, curls back over the middle of the plate. Man, what a sweet pitch.
My main worries so far are Everett leading off, Taveras hitting 8th (AFTER Ausmus, which completely wastes his speed if the pitcher is just going to bunt him over - by hitting before Ausmus, maybe Taveras can steal a few bases when he gets on to avoid the inevitable Ausmus GIDP.) Regardless, a four-in-a-row of Taveras / Ausmus / P / Everett is going to make for a LOT of late-game maneuvering or offensive suckiness.
But a win's a win, especially over the Cardinals.