Holy Toledo what a win!
Last July, Eric Bruntlett hit a 3-run homer in the top of the 14th inning to give the Astros a much-needed win in Washington. The starters of that game? John Patterson and Wandy Rodriguez. This afternoon, in creepy, deja vu fashion, Bruntlett did it again. Patterson and Wandy both started and allowed three runs before handing it over to the bullpen. Both closers hiccuped and gave up a solo shot — ex-Astro Daryle Ward took Lidge deep in the top of the 10th, and Morgan Ensberg went opposite-field off Chad Cordero to extend the game in the bottom half of the inning. That set up Bruntlett, who has a penchance for heroics when the game is on the line. Sure, maybe not as much as Chris Burke... but he's a player all the same.
After Biggio doubled off Mike Stanton, Taveras bunted him over and Berkman and Mo were intentionally walked. Bruntlett hit a shallow fly to right-center that centerfielder Brandon Watson caught flat-footed. Biggio saw that he'd have to deliver a perfect strike, and took off for the home. The throw was high and late, and the Astros finished their homestand with a 5-2 record. Not bad for being outscored 36-35 in those seven games.
Chad Qualls deserves some credit for getting back on track. After blowing up in Saturday's loss to the Nats, he pitched 2 scoreless innings to get the win. We'll need Qualls at his best to stay in the playoff race.
So it's off to the West Coast where we'll face the Giants and the D-Backs. Buchholz gets his first start tomorrow against veteran Matt Morris, who's 9-10 with a 3.53 ERA against the Astros. The matchups:
Tuesday: T. Buchholz v. M. Morris
Wednesday: B. Backe vs. M. Cain
Thursday: R. Oswalt vs. J. Wright
Last year we started hot at home (5-1, I think?), before collapsing on the road (2-21 to start the year!). Let's hope we get off on the right foot against the G-men.