Padres Beat Astros 8-6 As Poor Fielding Does Houston In

SB Nation Houston's coverage of the Astros-Padres series on the dates of April 14th-17th, 2011

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Errors Help Padres Beat Astros 8-6 For Series Split

Final Score: San Diego 8, Houston 6

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Will Venable hit a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth, helping the Padres take an 8-6 victory over the Astros in the finale of a four-game set.

Jorge Cantu hit a two-run homer and drove in three overall for San Diego, which scored four runs in the eighth to get the win and earn a series split. Nick Hundley had a solo shot.

Bill Hall hit a two-run single for the Astros, who were looking to win consecutive games for the first time this season.
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Brett Myers gave up three earned runs in six innings of work, raising his ERA from 1.77 to 2.39. Houston got him four runs of offense during his stint in the game, but errors by Fernando Abad in the seventh and Angel Sanchez in the eighth led to three unearned San Diego runs, which ended up being the difference in the end as Houston dropped to 5-11 on the season.

Houston travels to New York to begin a three-game series with the Mets starting on Tuesday evening.

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Brett Myers Takes The Hill For Final Game Against Padres

(Sports Network) - Durable right-hander Brett Myers makes his 37th start in a Houston uniform today when the Astros wrap up a four-game series against the visiting San Diego Padres at Minute Maid Park.

A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Myers has lasted at least six innings in all but one of his outings with the Astros, whom he joined before the 2010 campaign after several seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.

He was 14-8 in 33 starts with Houston last season and has continued the workhorse mentality so far in 2011, pitching seven, 6 1/3 and seven innings, respectively, against Philadelphia, Cincinnati and the Chicago Cubs.

Myers got win No. 1 of the year against the Cubs, scattering eight hits and allowing one run in an 11-2 win on April 12.

He's 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in 31 2/3 innings against the Padres.

San Diego counters with lefty Clayton Richard, who also won 14 games in 33 starts in 2010. He had a 3.75 in 201 2/3 innings with the Padres last season while allowing 206 hits and striking out 153 batters.

The 27-year-old has been effective in three starts so far in 2011, giving up 11 hits and four earned runs in 14 2/3 innings against St. Louis, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati.

He has never faced the Astros.

On Saturday, Joe Inglett had a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh inning which proved to be the winning run, as Houston held on for a 5-3 victory. Chris Johnson had a two-run homer to tie the game in the fourth as the Astros took a 2-1 lead in the series.

Mark Melancon got the win (1-0) by recording the final out in the seventh. Houston starting pitcher Nelson Figueroa went 6 2/3 innings allowing three runs -- two earned -- on six hits and struck out five.

Chase Headley had two doubles and two RBI for the Padres, who got 6 1/3 innings from starting pitcher Mat Latos (0-2). He gave up all five runs on four hits while fanning six.

San Diego was 5-2 against the Astros last season.

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Astros Win 5-3 On Strength Of Solid Performance By Figueroa

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Joe Inglett had a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh inning which proved to be the winning run, as the Houston Astros held on for a 5-3 victory over the San Diego Padres in the third installment of a four-game series at Minute Maid Park.

Chris Johnson had a two-run homer to tie the game in the fourth as the Astros took a 2-1 lead in the series.

Mark Melancon got the win (1-0) by recording the final out in the seventh. Houston starting pitcher Nelson Figueroa went 6 2/3 innings allowing three runs -- two earned -- on six hits and struck out five.

Chase Headley had two doubles and two RBI for the Padres, who got 6 1/3 innings from starting pitcher Mat Latos (0-2). He gave up all five runs on four hits while fanning six.

With the game deadlocked at three apiece in the seventh, Latos was chased off the mound following two straight walks. Chad Qualls came on and retired Humberto Quintero on a fielder's choice before serving up an RBI single to Inglett to give the Padres a 4-3 lead.

Qualls then loaded the bases with a Michael Bourn walk and Angel Sanchez hit a deep grounder to short which Alberto Gonzalez couldn't make a play on. Quintero scored on the play to give the Astros a two-run cushion. The San Diego reliever, though, got out of the jam with a knee-buckling curveball to Hunter Pence for a third strike.

Houston kept the lead as Jeff Fulchino came in to get a 1-2-3 eighth inning and Brandon Lyon entered in the ninth to get his third save of the season.

Figueroa was tagged for two runs in the first on Headley's two-run double off the top of the hill in center to plate both Venable and Orlando Hudson.

Houston, though, got a run back in the home half on Pence's RBI double that sailed deep into left center.

Headley blasted another deep double, this time to left, to lead off the fourth. Brad Hawpe then brought him around on a line-drive single up the middle for a 3-1 lead.

The Astros answered back during the bottom of the inning to tie it up when Chris Johnson lifted a shot over the left field fence to score Carlos Lee, who reached on a one-out single.

Game Notes

Latos was 2-0 against Houston coming into Saturday's start...Hudson went 0- for-3 to snap an 11-game hitting streak in the loss...He did get a walk and has reached base safely in all 14 games this season.

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Astros Hope Figueroa Can Get On Track Against Padres Tonight

(Sports Network) - Burly right-hander Mat Latos starts for the third time in his career against Houston tonight when the San Diego Padres visit the Astros for the third test of a four-game weekend series at Minute Maid Park.

A 6-foot-6, 225-pounder, Latos emerged last season with a 14-10 record and strong 2.92 earned run average in 31 starts and 184 2/3 innings. He allowed just 150 hits and struck out 189 batters.

Latos started the year on the disabled list with a sore shoulder and made his season debut on Monday against Cincinnati. He absorbed the loss in that one and was touched for four hits and three runs in six innings.

In two career starts against Houston, the 23-year-old Virginian is 2-0 while allowing six hits and no runs - with 16 strikeouts - in 16 innings.

The Astros have managed just a .113 batting average in those games.

For the Astros, journeyman righty Nelson Figueroa tries to erase the struggling results of his initial two starts. The 36-year-old has been roughed up for 19 hits and 15 runs in his first 9 1/3 innings of 2011, losing a 12-4 verdict at Cincinnati and a 5-4 home decision to the Chicago Cubs.

Figueroa came into the season with 137 big-league appearances, but had never left spring training with a confirmed spot in a starting rotation.

He's faced the Padres twice overall, losing the lone decision while giving up eight hits and five runs in 3 2/3 innings with a bloated 12.27 earned run average.

On Friday, Ryan Ludwick hit the tie-breaking two-run single in the seventh inning, helping the Padres defeat the Astros, 4-2, to split the first two games.

Aaron Harang (3-0) allowed one run on three hits and one walk while fanning eight in six innings for the Padres.

Michael Bourn went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base for Houston.

J.A. Happ (1-2) gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks. He also struck out three in a losing effort.

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Astros Shut Down By Harang, Padres Snag 4-2 Win

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Ryan Ludwick hit the tie-breaking two-run single in the seventh inning, helping the Padres defeat the Astros 4-2 to split the first two of a four-game series.

Aaron Harang (3-0) allowed one run on three hits and one walk while fanning eight in six innings for the Padres.

Michael Bourn went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base for Houston.

J.A. Happ (1-2) gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks. He also struck out three in a losing effort.


The Astros will attempt to get back on track Saturday evening against the Padres in the third game of the four game set. Fifth start Nelson Figueroa (0-2, 10.61) will take the hill against Padres ace Matt Latos (0-1, 4.50). The Padres will be looking to get back to .500, while the Astros will be trying to clinch a non-losing series for the first time all season.

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Wilton Lopez Hits DL With Irritation In Ulnar Nerve

In a story first broken by the Houston Chronicle’s Zachary Levine, Astros reliever Wilton Lopez, who had been slowed by an elbow injury that the Astros had originally diagnosed as neuritis, was reexamined and the team determined it was serious enough for Lopez to go on the DL. Manager Brad Mills had noticed it taking much longer for Lopez to warm up and the injury was very clear because of the lack of movement he was able to place on the ball.

The Astros will call up Jose Valdez from Triple A Oklahoma City to take Lopez’s place on the active roster. Valdez, 28, will be making his big league debut. He has a 3.45 ERA in 537 career minor league innings, but not as much of a track record of success in AAA.

Mark Melancon will take over setup man duties for the moment, and he’s clearly earned it after starting the season with 7 2/3rd’s scoreless innings, allowing just 4 hits and striking out 9. It’s unknown how long Lopez will be out for at this point, but he would be eligible to return on April 29th.

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Harang Looks To Continue Recent Success Against Astros

(Sports Network) – The Houston Astros take another shot at winning consecutive games for the first time this season as they continue a four-game series with the San Diego Padres tonight at Minute Maid Park.

After losing five of seven to the Padres last year, getting shut out in three of those games, the Astros turned the table in last night’s opener with a 1-0 victory. Bud Norris earned his first victory of the season with six scoreless innings and Brandon Lyon secured the triumph with his second save.

“It was nice to see Bud battle through and get a win there,” Astros manager Brad Mills said. “There was a lot of good things that happened in this ballgame.”

Michael Bourn drove in the game’s only run for the Astros, who are 3-4 on a 10-game homestand.

Dustin Moseley went 6 2/3 innings in the start for San Diego, but fell to 0-3 despite allowing just four earned runs over his last 19 2/3 innings. He gave up one run last night, but the Padres have yet to score in any of his three outings.

“It’s frustrating, but you go out there and do your job and leave it up to the hitters,” Moseley said.

Orlando Hudson extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games for the Padres, who have lost six of eight.

San Diego-born righty Aaron Harang will make his first road start of the season following two excellent home outings to begin his Padres career. He has notched a 1.50 earned run average in winning both games, including Sunday versus the Dodgers as he gave up two runs — one earned — on three hits and two walks over six innings.

The long-time Reds hurler won both of his starts a season ago versus the Astros with a 2.08 ERA and is 11-9 with a 4.55 ERA against them in his career.

Houston starter J.A. Happ rebounded from a tough season debut last time out, hurling 7 2/3 innings of one-run, four-hit ball to beat the Marlins on Sunday. That outing came just five days after getting shelled for seven runs on seven hits and five walks over four innings of a setback to Cincinnati.

“I pitched aggressively,” Happ said after the win against Florida. “I just tried to throw for strikes and had some conviction in the pitches I was throwing.”

The 28-year-old southpaw is 1-0 in one start and one relief outing in his career versus the Padres and has yet to allow a run in 10 innings of work against them.

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Wilton Lopez' Injury Leads To Doctor Visit

Reliever Wilton Lopez was originally diagnosed by the Astros medical staff as having neuritis in his elbow, but he sure hasn’t been pitching like it lately and so Houston will send the setup man to the doctor for some more tests. The Houston Chronicle’s Zachary Levine has the scoop:

Manager Brad Mills said the team noticed that it has been taking him longer to warm up than it did when he played his way into an eighth inning role and that his ball doesn’t have the same movement.

Those are some pretty good reasons to have your elbow checked out, methinks.

Should some desperate soul in a fantasy league be looking to find some saves and be betting against Brandon Lyon’s continued success, Mark Melancon has been pitching very well to start the year and will likely be the setup man for Lyon until Lopez is back to full health again. I’ll let you decide if that makes him a sneaky add or not.

Lopez had a 2.96 ERA last year for the Astros in 67 innings, striking out 50 and walking just five batters. If he was out for an extended period of time, the Astros’ likely replacement would be Henry Villar. Or perhaps David Purcey, if they work out a deal for him.

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Padres Blanked By Norris, Three Relievers

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Michael Bourn knocked in the lone run of the game and Bud Norris tossed six scoreless innings, as the Houston Astros snuck past the San Diego Padres, 1-0, in the opener of a four-game series at Minute Maid Park.

Norris (1-1) gave up just two hits to go with seven strikeouts and three walks for the Astros, who are off to a 4-9 start.

Dustin Moseley (0-3) went 6 2/3 innings in the start for San Diego, allowing one run on seven hits. The 29-year-old right-hander has lost his first three starts despite allowing just four earned runs over 19 2/3 innings (1.83 earned run average). The Padres have not scored in any of his outings.
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The Astros will look for something new tomorrow: a winning streak. They’ll send lefthander J.A. Happ (1-1, 6.17) to the hill to face the Padres’ Aaron Harang (2-0, 1.50) at 7:05 PM CT. The Astros would also clinch their first non-losing series of the season with a win tomorrow night.

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Padres In Town To Tangle With Norris, Astros

(Sports Network) - The San Diego Padres will try to record consecutive wins for the first time since the season's early stages with a fourth straight win over the Houston Astros tonight in the opener of a four-game series at Minute Maid Park.

San Diego has won just three of nine since winning its first two contests of the season and avoided a three-game sweep on Wednesday by rallying to beat Cincinnati, 3-2.

Orlando Hudson drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a single with the bases loaded after scoring the game-tying run on Jorge Cantu's ground out in the eighth inning. Hudson's hit scored Nick Hundley, who got San Diego on the board in the seventh inning with an RBI, while closer Heath Bell got the win with a scoreless top of the ninth.

"It was a great win for us," said Padres manager Bud Black, who was ejected in the fourth inning for arguing balls and strikes with home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez. "We kept at them and things went our way in the end."

Hudson is hitting .361 (13-for-36) over a nine-game hitting streak and he'll look to extend that run in support of tonight's starter Dustin Moseley, who aims for his first victory of the season.

The 29-year-old right-hander has lost his first two starts despite allowing just three earned runs over 13 innings as the Padres have yet to score in either of his outings. He faced the Dodgers on Saturday and gave up three runs -- two earned -- on eight hits over six innings of a 4-0 setback.

Moseley has never started against the Astros, but has been charged with two runs in an inning of relief work against them.

Houston starter Bud Norris is also without a win, a situation he will try to remedy tonight as well.

Norris has fanned 13 batters over 10 innings to begin the season, but holds an 8.10 earned run average. He took a loss in Philadelphia on April 3 by giving up five runs in four innings then did not factor into the decision of Saturday's outing versus Florida. Norris gave up four runs on five hits over six innings in that one.

The 26-year-old righty is 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in two career starts versus San Diego.

Houston dropped the rubber match of a series with Chicago on Wednesday as starter Wandy Rodriguez gave up five first-inning runs en route to a 9-5 loss.

The Astros got all five of their runs in the sixth inning, with Carlos Lee and Brett Wallace singling home runs and Matt Downs blasting a two-run homer. Houston failed to close the gap completely and Chicago added another three runs in the ninth.

The Astros have lost four of six and are 3-9 on the season.

"We're not playing bad at all," Houston's Bill Hall said. "We're just that one hit away. If we keep grind, we're going to strike it."

The Padres won five of seven over the Astros last year, shutting out Houston three times while winning the final three meetings.

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