Instant Replay: Martinez, Ankiel power Astros past Indians

Instant Replay: Martinez, Ankiel power Astros past Indians
April 19, 2013, 8:45 pm
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(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

J.D. Martinez and Rick Ankiel hit back-to-back home runs and Lucas Harrell got his first win of the season as the Astros hung on to beat the Indians, 3-2, on Friday night in front of a crowd of 17,241 at Minute Maid Park.

Starters: RHP Lucas Harrell was looking for his first win of the season. He got into trouble in the first, giving up a double and then a walk, but struck out the next batter to get out of the inning. More trouble in the second for Harrell after allowing a single and a walk, but he started a 1-6-3 double play to get out of another jam. After two quick outs in the fourth, he gave up a two-run home run to Lonnie Chisenhall. Harrell walked the first two batters in the fifth, but survived the inning with a double play and a groundout. Harrell allowed a single after getting the first two outs in the sixth and that’s when manager Bo Porter went out to the mound to take him out, which Harrell was visibly unhappy about. His final line: 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R (both earned), 5 BB, 4 SO; 98 pitches, 49 strikes.

Former Astro Brett Myers retired the side in the first but gave up three runs in the second off two home runs, the ninth and tenth that Myers has allowed this season. His final line: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 SO; 76 pitches with 45 strikes.

Bullpen: LHP Wesley Wright relieved Harrell and got the final out in the sixth. He had a runner on second in the seventh, but battled Asdrubal Cabrera to a full count and finally struck him out with a changeup to leave the runner stranded. His final line: 1 1/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO.

RHP Hector Ambriz came in in the eighth inning and got into a jam after giving up a leadoff double and a walk two batters later. Then he induced a 1-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Jose Veras closed out the game in the ninth, tossing a scoreless inning for his first save of the season.  

At the plate: Outfielders Martinez and Ankiel hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning to give the Astros an early lead. It was Martinez’ second home run of the season while it was Ankiel’s fourth. The last time the Astros hit back-to-back home runs was when Jed Lowrie and Matt Dominguez did so on Sept. 30, 2012. The Astros now have 17 home runs this season.

Jose Altuve, who led all ML second baseman in batting (.373) before Friday’s game, got his first hit of the game in the fifth, a single to center field. He then got his second stolen base of the season. Altuve has now hit safely in eight of his last nine games. 

Brandon Barnes replaced Martinez, who left with an injury during his at-bat in the fourth, and immediately hit a single. Then he had a bunt base hit in the sixth.

After a two-out walk in the seventh, Justin Maxwell stole second and then third but was left stranded.

In the field: It was another day at the office for Jose Altuve who had a couple nice plays at second, one in the first and one in the third. He started a double play in the fifth and was part of one in the eighth as he leads all ML second baseman in double plays.  

The Indians’ Nick Swisher hit a rocket to Harrell, who started a double play to get out of a jam in the third. Harrell also induced a double play to get the first two outs of the fifth after he walked the first two batters. Ambriz induced a double play in the eighth to get out of trouble.

Astros’ third baseman Matt Dominguez continued his error-free season, fielding a ground ball in the fifth with a nice throw across his body to first base for the final out of the inning and catching a fly ball in the eighth and again in the ninth.

Health Check: Martinez couldn’t finish his at-bat in the fourth when his right knee buckled. He limped to the dugout with the help of trainers. He has a right knee sprain and is listed as day-to-day.

Outfielder Fernando Martinez has been on the 15-day disabled list since the beginning of the season with a strained left oblique muscle. He has played four games at Triple-A Oklahoma City while on rehab assignment, where he’s gone 1-for-14.

“He’s continuing his rehab,” Porter said. “We’ll continue to monitor that closely and make sure there’s not setbacks, and when we feel like he’s had enough live game action and he’s ready to come here, we’ll bring him at that time.”

Porter said left-handed pitcher Travis Blackley, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 5, one day after being acquired from the Oakland A’s with a left shoulder strain, started his rehab assignment with a start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday. He pitched two innings.

"We want to get him built up,” Porter said.

Up Next: The will continue their weekend series with the Indians at 6:10 p.m. on Saturday and 1:10 p.m. on Sunday. Right-handed pitcher Philip Humber (0-3, 2.89) will start on Saturday for the Astros while lefty Scott Kazmir (NR), a Houston native, will be on the mound for the Indians. On Sunday, LHP Erik Bedard (0-1, 7.04) will go for Houston and RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (0-2, 11.25) will start for Cleveland.