Should The Astros edge Toronto for the final wild card spot, there may be some Canadians with some questioned looks about what happened Monday night in Houston's 2-1 triumph in 14 innings.
Feldman: Helps old team
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Scott Feldman, the symbolic first free agent of Jeff Luhnow's rebuild, was traded just before the deadline to the Blue Jays for promising pitching prospect Guadalupe "Lupe" Chavez. Feldman's three-year contract is ending at the end of the season. He gave the Astros an 18-20 record and 3.64 ERA for the $30 million he received but you can chalk up one extra decision if you wish.
Doug Fister's first child made the wise decision not to come out on time so Fister made it out to Minute Maid for his scheduled start. Daddy-to-be tossed six innings of shutout ball at Toronto, allowing just four hits and fanning eight to offset the three-hit effort of Marcus Stroman who whiffed 13 over seven frames. One of those hits, however, was Jose Altuve's 19th homer which landed in the Crawfords in the sixth for a 1-0 Houston lead.
Will Harris failed to nail down Fister's win in the ninth inning as catcher Russell Martin whacked a leadoff homer to tie the game and force overtime.
As the game dragged into the 14th and became a war of attrition, in came Feldman to make his first appearance in a Toronto uniform a memorable one. Altuve greeted the righthander with a single to left then Carlos Correa cracked a double to right-center off the bullpen fence to plate Altuve from first with the walk-off game-winner.
The Astros, losers of five out of their last six, stormed out of the dugout in celebration and you had to wonder how hard it was for Feldman not to stay and accept congrats from his old teammates. Somewhere, Baby Fister practiced high-fiving.
Michael Feliz, this season's vulture, won his seventh after an inning of work although Chris Devenski tossed 4-1/3rd innings of shutout ball, striking out seven, just before that.
Besides Little Latin Lupe Chavez, Houston acquired minor league utilityman Yordan Alvarez from the Dodgers for reliever Josh Fields. The former Rule V choice from 2013 compiled a 9-10 record with nine saves and a 4.53 ERA over parts of four seasons with Houston.
The Astros picked up a half-game on the idle Rangers but remain 5-1/2 back of the team that acquired All-Stars Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Beltran on the final day of the trade deadline while the Astros practiced addition by subtraction. Houston is 2-1/2 games behind both Boston and Toronto for the two wild card spots.
There will be a short turn-around to Tuesday night's 7:10 Central contest where knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (7-12) will pitch for the Jays against curveballer L.G. McCullers (6-4). Dickey is 2-5 with a 4.96 ERA lifetime against the Astros.