Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Houston Padlocks the Padres

The Astros try to keep pace with the Dodgers at the top of the NL West and sweep the Padres. Houston got a little lucky -- they could have easily lost all three of these games. Ex-Red (and reclaimed Astro) Joe Morgan has a nice clutch hitting series to help carry Houston.

Game One: Houston 5, San Diego 4 (14 innings)
Joe Morgan helps the Astros sweep.

W: Smith (2-0)
L: Shirley (301)

Houston starter J.R. Richard, coming in at 6-1, had a rough outing, allowing 11 hits and four runs in six innings. But down 4-3 in the eighth, Houston ties it up off Rollie Fingers on a single from pinch hitter Denny Walling. The game moves into the bottom of the 14th, when Houston (almost out of pitchers), finally wins it. Joe Morgan is the hero, walking, stealing second, and scoring on a bullet up the middle from Rafael Landestoy.

Game Two: Houston 7, San Diego 2
W: J.Niekro (4-4)
L: D'Acquisto (0-2)

San Diego starter Gary Lucas does well early, leading 2-1 into the eighth inning, in a good pitching battle with Houston's Joe Niekro. But then Padres' reliever John D'Acquisto undoes the good start, giving up five runs in the eighth as Houston's offense finally gets charged. D'Acquisto walks three and gives up a double off the rightfield wall from Morgan, who is having a nice series.

Game Three: Houston 3, San Diego 2
W: Ryan (3-7)
L: Fingers (1-2)

New Houston acquisition Nolan Ryan finally shows some semblance of success in the Astrodome (he came in having lost seven games), pitching a complete game five-hitter and barely beating San Diego. The game is knotted at two going into the bottom of the ninth, as Gene Richards had tied it for San Diego the inning before on a single. Fingers, in relief of starter Rick Wise, has a poor outing, allowing a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth to super-sub Dave Bergman, walking Terry Puhl, and allowing a bunt to move the runners to third. That man, Joe Morgan, comes up again and hits a long sac fly to win it for the home squad.

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