Astros ride high with Lyles, Lo

Astros ride high with Lyles, Lo
August 14, 2013, 12:15 am
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The Astros got a much-needed win and a much-needed pitching performance from starter Jordan Lyles, who allowed only one run in seven innings. And the Astros may have found their closer in Chia-Jen Lo, who recorded the final four outs in beating the A’s 5-4 on Tuesday at Oakland, snapping six-game losing streak. In starting a nine-game road trip, the Astros defeated the A’s for only the second time in 13 games.

 

TURNING POINT

Chris Young missed a walk-off home run by inches. With two outs in the ninth inning and the tying run on first base, Young hit a ball that was inches from hitting the left-field foul pole that had home-run distance. The umpires went to look at the replay, and came back with the call of foul ball. On the next pitch, Lo struck out Young swinging to end the game.

 

STARTING PITCHING

If this was a crossroads start for Lyles, he's on right path. Lyles (5-6), got his first win in six decisions. In his previous eight starts, the Astros had lost each game. In seven innings, Lyles allowed only one run and five hits with three strikeouts and two walks. The right-hander was aggressive early with his fastball in the strike zone which made his secondary pitches effective.

It’s the second straight short stint for Bartolo Colon (14-5), who failed to reach the fifth inning and left trailing 5-0. In four innings, the right-hander allowed five runs and seven hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Of his 77 pitches, 55 were for strikes. In his previous outing in a loss to the Reds, he gave up five runs in 2 2/3 innings.

BULLPEN

Lo made the pitches when he needed and got the big strikeout of Young to earn his first save. He retired four of the five batters he faced. He ended the Oakland eighth with a one-pitch out.

Josh Zeid struck out his first two batters replacing Lyles to start the eighth. But he allowed three two-out hits, including a two-run homer to Yoenis Cespedes, his 19th of the season, that cut the Astros lead to 5-4. Kevin Chapman pitched to one batter in the eighth and hit a batter

Replacing Colon, Jesse Chavez pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts.

 

AT THE PLATE

Jonathan Villar was the only Houston starter not to get a hit and Jason Castro extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. Brandon Barnes had two of Houston’s five double with two RBIs. In a nine-pitch at-bat, Barnes hit Colon’s sinker for a one-out two-run double, scoring Castro from third and Matt Dominguez from second to open the scoring in the second. The Astros added two runs in the third on a Jason Castro sacrifice fly and Chris Carter RBI double.

Cespedes’ two-out, two-run home run off Zeid in the eighth inning, his third hit, cut the Astros lead to 5-4. Josh Donaldson had two hits including a triple.

IN THE FIELD

Villar turned a big double play in the fifth as Donaldson scored from third base for the A’s first run. Oakland had runners on the corners with no outs against Lyles and came away with only one run. Jose Altuve started a 4-6-3 double play in the second inning.

What Brandon Barnes is to outfield, third baseman Matt Dominguez is to the infield. Dominguez displayed his glove and arm in throwing out Young at first base to end the third inning. Dominguez fielded a two-hopper, planted his right foot, and threw a strike to first baseman Brett Wallace for the out.

ON THE BASES

Wallace got a tremendous jump and stole his first base of the season in Houston’s two-run third inning. Wallace scored from second on Carter’s double. Robbie Grossman showed his speed, and courage, in the third inning. Grossman tagged up from second and challenged right fielder Josh Reddick, who made a strong throw to third base but Grossman barely beat the throw. Grossman scored on Castro’s sacrifice fly.

UP NEXT

Game 2 of the three-game series continues on Wednesday. Right-hander Jarred Cosart (1-0, 1.36 ERA) goes for Houston vs. RHP Jarrod Parker (8-6, 4.04 ERA). In Thursday’s finale, LHP Erik Bedard (3-8, 4.28 ERA) goes for Houston vs. RHP Sonny Gray (0-1, 1.80 ERA).