Oberholtzer bright spot for Astros

Oberholtzer bright spot for Astros
September 27, 2013, 11:45 pm
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Oberholzter on his start vs. Yankees

Sep 27, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Brett Oberholtzer (65) pitches against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Minute Maid Park.

(Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports)

In a season that has had its share of lows, the pitching of Brett Oberholtzer has been a bright spot for the Astros.

On Friday, Oberholtzer gave it all he had in his final start of the season. But the Astros came up short 3-2 to the Yankees for a franchise-record 13 straight loss and 109 for the season, extending their franchise record for most losses in a season.

The Astros got within a run on Brett Wallace’s two-run pinch-hit double off Joba Chamberlain in the seventh inning. That was as close as the Astros would get before a crowd of 29,486 at Minute Maid Park.

The rookie Oberholtzer made his 10th start of the season on Friday. In 5 1/3 innings he allowed three runs, two which were earned, and five hits. All three runs allowed came in the fourth inning. The big blow was a two-run double by David Adams.

“I gave it my all,” said Oberholtzer (4-5), who has allowed two or fewer earned runs in seven of his starts. He finished the season with a 2.24 ERA as a starter.

“He’s done a tremendous job with the opportunity that was presented to him,” said Astros manager Bo Porter. “He’s put himself in good position moving forward going into next year.”

Oberholtzer’s fastball was working early as he retired his first eight batters. But with two outs in the sixth, Oberholtzer was gassed and relieved by Josh Zeid, who did not allow a run or hit in 1 2/3 innings. Oberholtzer threw 81 pitches, 51 for strikes.

“I had a little fatigue,” said Oberholtzer. “But now I know it’s something that I can have control over next season. “In the fourth I was just missing some spots. My arm was dragging a bit and my mechanics wasn’t up to par.”

An error in the fourth inning by third baseman Matt Dominguez didn’t help the cause. A Mark Reynolds single scored Robinson Cano for the game’s first score. Dominguez cut off a throw from left field, and instead of holding the runners at first and second base, he threw wildly to home, where the runners advanced a base. The next batter Adams then doubled in two runs.

“The three-run inning we could have kept it first and second and had a chance to get the double play and get out of it,” said Porter. “But we made a costly error and allowed the base runners to move up and they ended up getting the big hit.”

The Astros managed only two hits – singles by L.J. Hoes and Brandon Barnes – off Yankees starter Adam Warren (3-2) in his five innings of shutout ball. Those were Houston’s only hits until they collected three in the seventh, with Wallace’s first pinch hit of the season off Chamberlain giving the Astros life.

“I wanted to be aggressive,” said Wallace, who hit a fastball middle away.

The seventh inning ended when Dominguez flied out to center with the bases loaded.

“It’s one of those things where the big hit is alluding us,” said Porter.

 

 

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