Jordan Lyles makes top plays

Jordan Lyles makes top plays
August 24, 2013, 12:15 pm
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Lyles on Astros win over Blue Jays

When one mentions outstanding Astros defensive players, center fielder Brandon Barnes and third baseman Matt Dominguez immediately come to mind. Based on one play on Friday, right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles is now in the conversation.

Lyles’ back-handed, behind-the-back catch on a comebacker made ESPN SportsCenter’s No. 2 list on Friday’s top plays. After making the catch, Lyles threw out Toronto’s Brett Lawrie at first base for the second out of the sixth inning.

“I just kind of put the glove up,” said Lyles. “The ball wasn’t hit that hard. So it was a base hit if I didn’t stop it.”

The way the Astros were hitting the ball, and the way Lyles was pitching in the middle innings, a Toronto base hit wouldn’t had matter much on Friday at Minute Maid Park. The Astros had 15 hits and scored in each of the first five innings in beating the Blue Jays 12-4, snapping a six-game home losing streak.

“It’s a lot of fun when you’re winning,” said Lyles. “When the offense picks up it’s easier to pitch.”

Dominguez (18) and Robbie Grossman (4) homered, Dominguez, L.J. Hoes and Brett Wallace scored three runs each, and Jonathan Villar had two of the team’s three triples. After a five-run fourth inning gave the Astros an 8-2 lead, they were on easy street. The Astros led 12-2 after seven innings.

Lyles (6-6) needed only 14 total pitches to get through the fifth and sixth innings, retiring nine consecutive batters at one point.

“He really got in attack mode in that we did have a cushion,” said Astros manager Bo Porter. “He started to get some quick outs because he went right after the hitters.”

Lyles did allow three home runs, accounting for four runs, but he was attacking the hitters with a large lead. In 7 1/3 innings he gave up 10 hits with two strikeouts and one walk.