After being on the losing end of three close games so far this season, the Astros finally came out on top, beating Cleveland 3-2 on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.
It was a team effort as J.D. Martinez and Rick Ankiel drove in all of Houston’s runs with back-to-back home runs in the second inning, right-handed pitcher Lucas Harrell got his first win of the season and the bullpen of left-hander Wesley Wright and righties Hector Ambriz and Jose Veras pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
“It (the bullpen) was outstanding,” manager Bo Porter said. “Wesley – the quality of work he gave us against a lineup that had several switch hitters and a bunch of lefties, he did a tremendous job of keeping the game right there, and then Ambriz did a solid job and Veras tremendous job,” manager Bo Porter said. “And defensively, we were huge – three big double plays, getting out of some tough jams. I’m very proud of the guys tonight.”
In his third start of the season, Harrell recorded his first win, but not without his struggles. In 5 2/3 innings pitched, he gave up five hits, one a two-run home run to pull the Indians within one run, while walking five and striking out four. He had to work himself out of jams in each inning.
“I struggled to throw strikes again,” Harrell said. “That’s just kind of a trend right now. It’s something I need to work on between starts. If the defense wouldn’t have played so well and we wouldn’t have scored those runs early, it could’ve been a rough night.”
When Porter walked out to the mound to take him out in the sixth inning, Harrell seemed upset.
“When you’re not throwing strikes and you make a good pitch and a guy gets a hit, it’s frustrating,” Harrell said. “Both times Reynolds hit the ball up the middle, I felt like I made good pitches. I was just frustrated with myself just trying to get people out.”
“Like I told him, some nights you go out there you’re not going to have your A stuff and those are the nights you just got to dig deeper and keep making pitches,” Porter said. “At the point when I went to go get him, I just felt like that was it. I wanted to turn it over to the bullpen and those guys responded and did a great job.”
Hit the ball well tonite. D was solid. Bull pen outstanding. #stroswin— Lucas Harrell (@LucasHarrell34) April 20, 2013