Instant replay: Astros avoid a sweep by the Mariners

Instant replay: Astros avoid a sweep by the Mariners
September 1, 2013, 4:00 pm
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Porter: 'No doubt' he was leaving Oberholtzer in

Sep 1, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) is congratulated after scoring a run during the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park.

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Brett Oberholtzer pitched the Astros’ first complete game of the season while Jose Altuve, Jason Castro and Brandon Barnes came up with big hits in Houston’s two-run eighth inning to beat the Mariners 2-0 on Sunday at Minute Maid Park. With the win the Astros snapped a five-game losing streak and averted losing all four games of the series to the Mariners.

STARTING PITCHING

Both starters were superb, throwing scoreless inning after scoreless inning. Houston’s Oberholtzer and Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma were locked in a pitcher’s duel before Iwakuma left after seven scoreless innings.

Oberholtzer (4-1) allowed only four hits in the shutout with five strikeouts and one walk. He threw 113 pitches, 83 for strikes. Oberholtzer needed only seven pitches to retire side in the seventh.

Iwakuma allowed no runs and six hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. He threw 99 pitches,

IN THE BULLPEN

Charlie Furbush (2-5) didn’t get the job done for the Mariners. Furbush allowed both Houston runs in the eighth. In 2/3 of an inning the right-hander allowed two runs and three hits.

AT THE PLATE

Castro drove in Altuve, who had three hits, with an eighth-inning double for the game’s first run off Furbush. Pinch hitter Barnes put down a perfectly-placed suicide squeeze bunt, scoring a hard-charging Castro from third base, giving the Astros a 2-0 lead. The Astros attempted a suicide squeeze the pitch before, that Barnes fouled off.

Trevor Crowe had a big game in his first game with the Astros since being placed on the disabled list on June 20. Crowe singled and doubled in his first two at-bats. His double was off the left-field wall with two outs in the fourth, advancing Chris Carter to third base but the Astros failed to score.

IN THE FIELD

L.J. Hoes made a great diving slide for the second out of the ninth inning. Hoes had a long run and caught the ball just before sliding into the right-field wall.

Crowe made a nice running catch deep in center for the first out of the second on a ball hit by Kendrys Morales. Oberholtzer caught a pop up for the second out of the seventh inning. Michael Saunders hit a high pop up just in front of the pitcher’s mound and Oberholtzer took charge from the start, soundly calling for the ball, and then easily making the catch.

ON THE BASES

After getting the biggest hit of the game with his double that scored Altuve, Castro tagged up to third base on a long fly out to right field by Matt Dominguez. From third base Castro scored on Barnes’ suicide squeeze that put Houston ahead 2-0.

UP NEXT

The Astros open a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins starting on Monday afternoon. RHP Paul Clemens (4-4, 5.81 ERA) starts for Houston vs. LHP Andrew Albers (2-2, 2.92 ERA). RHP Jarred Cosart (1-1, 1.59 ERA) will start for Houston on Tuesday and in the series finale on Wednesday, RHP Jordan Lyles (6-7, 5.12 ERA) will start for Houston. Games on Monday and Wednesday start at 1:10 p.m. Tuesday’s game starts at 7:10 p.m.