Astros Choke Another Late Lead Away As Arizona Completes Sweep

SB Nation Houston's coverage of the Diamondbacks-Astros series from May 27th-May 30th.

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Astros Cough Up Another Late Lead, Drop Final Game To Arizona 4-2

Final Score: Arizona 4, Houston 2

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Xavier Nady hit a two-run double in the eighth inning, as the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied past the Houston Astros, 4-2, to complete a three-game sweep at Minute Maid Park.

Juan Miranda capped off a three-run eighth with an RBI single for the Diamondbacks, who have won six in a row. Chris Young also drove in a run.

Josh Collmenter gave up two runs on four hits over a six-inning start for Arizona, which went 6-1 on a seven-game road trip. Aaron Heilman (4-0) pitched one scoreless inning of relief to pick up the win.

Houston starter J.A. Happ allowed one run on two hits over six full frames. Happ also hit his first career home run for the Astros, who went 2-4 on a six- game homestand.

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Houston will now hit the road for a three-game series in Chicago against the Cubs. In game two on Tuesday, Jordan Lyles will make his Major League debut, fresh off being called up from the minors after Wandy Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

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Happ Takes On Diamondbacks In Final Game Of Series

(Sports Network) - The streaking Arizona Diamondbacks can move into first place in the National League's West Division with a victory in the finale of a three-game series with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

The Diamondbacks won their fifth straight game and narrowed their gap in the West behind the San Francisco Giants to just a half-game when Zach Duke threw seven scoreless innings in his Arizona debut and hit his first career homer, a three-run blast in an 11-3 triumph.

Duke (1-0) allowed just three hits and a walk while fanning four in his first start of the season after recovering from a broken left hand he suffered on a line-drive comebacker in spring training.

He was acquired in an offseason trade after pitching his first six MLB seasons with Pittsburgh.

Gerardo Parra also homered as the D-Backs earned their fifth consecutive win and their 11th victory in their past 12 games.

Bud Norris (2-4) allowed six runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and two walks in five innings as Houston lost for the third time in four games. Norris started in place of Wandy Rodriguez, who was put on the 15-day disabled list Saturday due to fluid in his left elbow joint.

Houston is just 11-16 at home.

Michigan-born right-hander Josh Collmenter makes his fourth start in just his 11th major league appearance for the Diamondbacks this afternoon and will be facing the Astros.for the first time.

Collmenter, a 25-year-old draft pick from 2007, was beaten, 12-4, at Colorado in his last start on May 24 after allowing five hits and two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.

He began the season with seven straight relief outings before consecutive starts at Los Angeles and against Atlanta yielded victories on May 14 and 19. In his first two starts, he allowed just four hits in 12 scoreless innings with no walks and four strikeouts.

Overall, in 30 1/3 innings, he's given up 17 hits and four earned runs, allowing runs in just two of 10 outings.

Houston counters with lefty J.A. Happ, who'll try to snap a two-start skid.

The ex-Philadelphia Phillie, acquired in last season's Roy Oswalt trade, got within a game of .500 with a 7-3 defeat of the New York Mets on May 14 with six innings of five-hit, two-run ball.

Two subsequent starts have ended in losses to St. Louis and Los Angeles, however, in which the southpaw has allowed seven hits and eight runs - four earned - in 11 innings.

He's split two career starts against Arizona while being touched for nine hits and four runs in 13 innings.

The Diamondbacks have won 10 of their last 13 versus the Astros.

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Astros Don't Even Compete In 11-3 Thrashing In Front Of Home Fans

Final Score: Arizona 11, Houston 3

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Zach Duke threw seven scoreless innings in his Diamondbacks debut and hit his first career homer, a three-run blast, to lead Arizona past Houston, 11-3, in the middle test of a three-game set.

Duke (1-0) allowed just three hits and a walk while fanning four in his first start of the season after recovering from a broken left hand he suffered on a line-drive comebacker in spring training. He was acquired in an offseason trade after pitching his first six MLB seasons with Pittsburgh.

Gerardo Parra also homered as the D-Backs earned their fifth consecutive win and their 11th victory in their past 12 games.

Bud Norris (2-4) allowed six runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and two walks in five innings as Houston lost for the third time in four games. Norris started in place of Wandy Rodriguez, who was put on the 15-day disabled list Saturday due to fluid in his left elbow joint.

Arizona jumped out to a two-run lead after loading the bases in the second inning with one out. Stephen Drew and Miguel Montero singled, and Juan Miranda walked to load the bases. Drew was awarded home on a balk by Norris and Parra brought home Montero on a sacrifice fly before Duke grounded out to end the inning.

Drew led off the fourth with a single and scored later on a double by Montero. After Miranda struck out swinging for the second out of the inning, Parra was intentionally walked for Duke, who smacked a home run over the left-field wall to give the D-Backs a 6-0 advantage.

Arizona added to its lead in the eighth against Jose Valdez. Montero singled in Chris Young after Young hit a one-out double and Parra added a two-run homer to give the D-Backs a nine-run lead.

Drew's RBI single and Young's sacrifice fly in the ninth made it 11-0.

Houston finally got on the board in the bottom of the ninth against Zach Kroenke, who was pitching his second inning of relief. Clint Barmes and Hunter Pence led off with consecutive singles before Carlos Lee doubled to plate Barmes. Chris Johnson then singled in Pence and Brett Wallace grounded out to score Lee.

Game Notes

The D-backs reinstated Duke from the 15-day disabled list and optioned pitcher Kam Mickolio to Triple-A Reno on Saturday...Pence extended his hit streak to nine games...The Diamondbacks have won 10 of their last 13 contests versus the Astros.

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Wandy Rodriguez Placed On 15-Day DL, Astros Call Up Jordan Lyles From AAA

Astros pitcher Wandy Rodriguez is headed to the 15-day disabled list due to fluid buildup in his elbow. It's bad news for Houston, who has seen staff "ace" Brett Myers slide in the past month while Wandy has been coming on strong as of late.

One potential bright spot is that the Astros are calling up their one and only bona fide prospect, Jordan Lyles, from AAA Oklahoma City. Lyles, 20, is expected to pitch in Chicago Tuesday against the Cubs. Lyles is 3-3 with a 3.20 ERA for the Redhawks this season, with a WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) of 1.24.

Rodriguez  has been solid for Houston in 2011 after a rocky start. He has pitched at least seven innings in seven of his ten starts, while amassing a 3-3 record. Wandy hasn't given up more than three earned runs in a start since April 24, and was 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in May.

Lyles was already a virtual lock to hit the Bigs for September call-ups, so he's going to start collecting a Major League check a few months earlier than planned. 

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Bud Norris Takes On Diamondbacks In Game Two Of Weekend Series

(Sports Network) - Longtime Pittsburgh hurler Zach Duke makes an injury- delayed debut in a new uniform tonight when the Arizona Diamondbacks travel to Minute Maid Park for the middle test of a three-game set with the host Houston Astros.

In Friday's opener, Juan Miranda smacked a pair of two-run homers to help erase a six-run deficit and give Arizona a 7-6 victory.

Daniel Hudson (6-5) earned the win despite allowing six runs - five earned - on eight hits and a walk in six innings. He also struck out four to give Arizona its 12th win in its last 14 games.

The Diamondbacks remained within 1 1/2 games of front-running San Francisco in the National League's West Division.

Houston's Wilton Lopez (1-2) took the loss when he allowed the winning run to cross the plate in the seventh inning. Brett Myers started the game and allowed four runs on five hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Michael Bourn went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored in the Astros' second loss in three games.

Duke, a 28-year-old Texas southpaw, made 159 starts for the Pirates over six seasons after they'd selected him in the 20th round of the 2001 draft.

He reached double digits with 10 wins in 2006 and won a career-best 11 times in 2009 before plummeting to 8-15 in 29 starts last season.

Duke, though, was dealt to Arizona in an offseason trade that sent Cesar Valdez to the Pirates. Duke's unveiling with the Diamondbacks, though, was delayed when he was hit by a line drive in a spring training game and suffered a fractured left hand.

He allowed five runs in five innings of a rehab start with Triple-A Reno on May 23 and is 3-5 with a 3.38 earned run average in 12 career games against the Astros.

Houston goes with third-year righty Bud Norris, who's dropped two straight decisions in four starts since defeating Milwaukee, 5-0, on May 1.

He takes the place of lefty Wandy Rodriguez, who was scratched due to discomfort in his left elbow. Rodriguez was subsequently scheduled for a precautionary MRI at Texas Orthopedic Hospital.

Norris allowed six hits and two earned runs in seven innings of his most recent outing, getting a no-decision in the Astros' 4-3 defeat of the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 23.

Houston is 5-5 in the 10 games he's started this season.

Norris, who won nine games in 27 starts last year, is winless in three career matchups with Arizona, allowing 19 hits and 17 runs in 10 2/3 innings.

The Diamondbacks have won nine of their last 12 versus the Astros.

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Astros Call Up Robinson Cancel, Place Humberto Quintero On DL

The Astros placed catcher Humberto Quintero on the DL with a sprained right ankle after a collision with Ryan Roberts at home plate left him unable to put much weight on his foot. With the loss of Quintero, the Astros now have three injured catchers in their upper levels between Quintero, Jason Castro, and Carlos Corporan. Per Alyson Footer, Quintero says he’ll be back in two weeks.

To fill the backup catcher role, the Astros purchased the contract of journeyman catcher Robinson Cancel from Oklahoma City. Cancel will play in his third different decade, as he first came up with the 1999 Red Sox and later resurfaced with the 2008 Mets. Cancel is a career .273/.325/.393 hitter at the AAA level in 1132 plate appearances. He has a .333/.389/.444 line for the RedHawks so far this year.

The Astros’ purchase of Cancel means that Houston now has a full 40-man roster. They were at 38 before claiming Blake King on Thursday. J.R. Towles will likely see the bulk of the catching time in Quintero’s absence.

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Myers Can't Hold Lead As Astros Drop 7-6 Decision To Diamondbacks

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Juan Miranda smacked a couple of two-run home runs to help erase a six-run deficit and give Arizona a 7-6 victory over Houston to begin a three-game weekend series.

Daniel Hudson (6-5) earned the win despite allowing six runs — five earned — on eight hits and a walk in six innings. He also struck out four to give Arizona its 12th win in its last 14 games.

Wilton Lopez (1-2) took the loss when he allowed the winning run to cross the plate in the seventh inning. Brett Myers started the game and allowed four runs on five hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Michael Bourn went 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored in the Astros’ second loss in three games.

Houston took and early two-run lead in the first after Bourn led off with a single and came around to score on a Hunter Pence double. Carlos Lee came up next and hit an infield single. On the play, Pence scored on Kelly Johnson’s throwing error and Lee was thrown out attempting to advance to second.

The Astros added to their lead in the second when Bourn hit a two-run double that plated Chris Johnson and Clint Barmes. Johnson led off the inning with a single and Barmes was hit by a pitch before both moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Myers. Jeff Keppinger then singled in Bourn to make the score 5-0.

Bourn’s RBI single in the fourth increased Houston’s lead to six runs.

Arizona got on the board in the fifth with a two-run home run by Miranda, and Miranda added his second two-run homer of the game in the sixth to make the score 6-4.

The D-Backs then took the lead with a three-run seventh inning. Pinch-hitter Willie Bloomquist singled off of Sergio Escalona, who was then replaced by Lopez. Ryan Roberts greeted Lopez with a single and Kelly Johnson then singled to score Bloomquist. Stephen Drew walked two batters later to load the bases and then Chris Young knocked in a run on an infield single to the pitcher. Lopez’s throwing error allowed another runner to score, which gave Arizona a 7-6 lead.

Similar to the play that injured Buster Posey on Wednesday, Humberto Quintero bent down to block home plate as Lopez tossed the ball to him and Roberts lowered his shoulder into Quintero’s chest. Quintero bent backwards awkwardly over his right ankle and stayed on the ground. He had to be helped off the field by his teammates and he was not putting any pressure on the foot. J.R. Towles replaced Quintero behind the plate.

David Hernandez did not allow a run in the eighth, and J.J. Putz threw a scoreless ninth inning to add on to his franchise record with 15 straight save to start the season.

Game Notes

Wandy Rodriguez was scratched from Saturday’s game due to discomfort in his left elbow and will have an MRI on his elbow on Saturday morning…Bud Norris will make the start instead of Rodriguez…Pence extended his hit streak to eight games…It was later determined that Quintero sprained his right ankle in the collision.

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Humberto Quintero Leaves Game After Collision At Home Plate With Sprained Ankle

Houston Astros catcher Humberto Quintero left the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday night after taking the worst of a home-plate collision with Arizona second baseman Ryan Roberts. Quintero was not able to put much weight on his leg after leaving, and this could be a long-term injury for the Astros stalwart backup catcher. Quintero is one of two Astros, along with Wandy Rodriguez, who played for the 2005 NL Champions.

In the wake of the Buster Posey injury, SB Nation’s Rob Neyer believes that home-plate collisions ought to no longer be a part of the game. While Quintero hardly has the stature that Posey does in the game, it’s may be good timing for Neyer’s proposal that another steamrolled catcher left with an injury following a collision.

J.R. Towles replaced Quintero in the game. The Astros are currently trailing the Diamondbacks 7-6. The Astros have no other catchers on their 40-man roster that are healthy. Carlos Corporan finished runner up to Towles for the second catcher gig, and may be the replacement if Quintero’s injury is long term.

EDIT: Per Zachary Levine, the official diagnosis is a sprained right ankle for Quintero. X-Rays are being taken, and likely an MRI will follow. The Astros will have to make a roster move after the game to bring in a second catcher.

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Astros Send Myers To The Mound Against Red Hot D'Backs

(Sports Network) - Right-hander Daniel Hudson can continue a personal win streak and get the Arizona Diamondbacks another step closer to first place tonight when they visit Minute Maid Park to begin a three-game weekend series with the Houston Astros.

Hudson, a 24-year-old product of Old Dominion University, was 0-4 on the season before a 7-5 decision over Philadelphia on April 26.

He's since reeled off four more wins in five starts, including defeats of San Diego and Minnesota, allowing 16 hits and just three runs with 12 strikeouts in 15 innings.

The victories have dropped his season earned run average from 4.41 to 3.82.

The Diamondbacks are second in the National League West and trail the first- place San Francisco Giants by 1 1/2 games after a 6-3 defeat of Colorado in the finale of a four-game series.

Arizona has won 11 of its last 13 games.

On Thursday, Miguel Montero went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, as Arizona held off the Rockies, 6-3, at Coors Field.

Kelly Johnson hit a two-run home run for the Diamondbacks, who won the final three games of the series. Melvin Mora had an RBI.

Micah Owings (1-0) gave up one run on four hits over five innings to pick up his first win since May 5, 2010, when he was a member of the Reds. In his second start of the season, Owings struck out three and walked one.

On Wednesday in Houston, J.R. Towles broke out of an extended slump at the plate and singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, as the Astros edged the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-1, at Minute Maid Park.

Towles, who entered Wednesday's rubber match mired in an 0-for-32 skid, finished with three hits for Houston.

Brett Wallace hit a one-out double off Los Angeles reliever Matt Guerrier (2-3) in the ninth. After Bill Hall flied out, Towles stroked a 2-0 pitch to center field to score pinch-runner Brian Bogusevic.

Rookie Aneury Rodriguez gave up a home run to Matt Kemp among four hits in six innings for the Astros, who have won four of their last six games. Mark Melancon (4-1) tossed an inning of relief to earn the win.

Houston begins the series with righty Brett Myers, who's winless in seven starts since defeating the Chicago Cubs on April 12.

Houston is 3-7 in Myers's 10 starts this season.

He gave up eight hits and six runs in 6 2/3 innings of a 7-5 interleague loss at Toronto on May 21.

The loss boosted his ERA to 5.00 in 63 innings, one season after he posted a 3.14 mark over 33 starts and 223 2/3 innings.

He is 2-2 lifetime with a save against Arizona in eight meetings.

The Diamondbacks have won eight of their last 11 versus the Astros.

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