The Astros managed just four hits on Thursday in New York. On Friday, they were limited to just three hits in Cleveland. Somehow, they still won the second contest by four runs, 5-1, in a game that can only be described as one of those that make box scores readers scratch their heads. Houston won their fifth in the past eight road ventures.
Singleton (r): 3 (ahem) insurance runs
(c) Associated Press
Marwin Gonzalez ripped a solo homer off Carlos Carrasco in the fifth for the game's first run. Cleveland's Zach Walters matched the feat with a solo shot off Brad Peacock in the bottom half of the fifth.
Peacock looked as impressive as he has in some time. He tossed five innings of two-hit ball, striking out four and walking none. However, he left in the sixth inning with mild forearm tightness which was enough for Bo Porter to pull the plug on his night.
Carrasco went six frames, also allowing one run on two hits. He fanned eight and walked two.
Kevin Chapman worked 1-2/3rd innings of relief and got his ERA below 10.00 for the first time all season. Tony Sipp worked through a shaky eighth as the Tribe saw two runners tossed out on the bases.
Then came the ninth where the Astros posted four runs on one hit against Cody Allen. Chris Carter drew a one-out walk. Dexter Fowler reached on a throwing error by first baseman Carlos Santana that advanced Carter to third.
Fowler sought to steal second with Jason Castro at the plate. Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez bounced the throw and it skipped off an infielder out into center for a two-base error. Pinch-runner Gregorio Petit pranced home with the go-ahead run then Castro walked.
One out later, Jon Singleton sent a screaming liner down into the left field corner and over the wall for a three-run homer that spelled doom for the home team. Singleton, it should be noted, had he started the season as an Astro and played an entire 162-game season at his present pace, would finish the year with 27 homers and 93 RBIs.
An achy Chad Qualls came on for the save and saw the first two Indians reach base (one by error) then retired Michael Brantley on a liner and coaxed Santana to tap into a 6-3 double play to end the game.
The Indians should be commended for sporting a 64-63 record to this point with a roster almost entirely of players I've never heard of. I'm sure their fans could say the same about us. Next step up the ladder for the 2015 Astros is to look a lot like this year's Indians.
The two clubs square off again Saturday evening at Flo Field in a 6:05 Central battle. Collin McHugh (6-9) will toss for the Astros against Danny Salazar (4-6) from the Dominican Republic. With 33 games remaining, the Astros need to win just eight to avoid another 100-loss season. If they win half, they'll actually reach the 70-win plateau.