The Astros bullpen tried hard, but they couldn’t pin a loss on their rookie starter thanks to a similar implosion by the Cubs bullpen.
Jordan Lyles was on his game in his first Major League start. He fell behind some batters in the first inning, but showed a good arsenal of off-speed pitches and generally kept the Cubs at bay, with only a few hard-hit balls to the Cubs credit. The lack of scoring and a troubling bullpen combined to quash any chances he had of a win though. Lyles allowed a leadoff double to Geovany Soto to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning, and then went to third on a sacrifice attempt and threw the ball away. At that point, Brad Mills yanked him, and he left with a final line of seven innings, two runs (zero earned), five hits allowed, and four strikeouts.
Following Lyles’ departure, the Astros bullpen went right to work making sure he wouldn’t escape with the win. Sergio Escalona came in to record an out on a sacrifice bunt, and then Wilton Lopez allowed a pair of doubles to bring the lead to 3-1. Carlos Marmol returned the favor in the top of the inning by allowing the Astros three straight hits to tie the game. Matt Downs had the big blow with a double that knocked in both runs, then after a sacrifice bunt, Michael Bourn singled him in to give the Astros a 4-3 lead. Hunter Pence capped the rally with a three-run homer to send Marmol out of the game. Marmol’s ERA skyrocketed from 1.17 to 3.47.
Mark Melancon was able to get the Cubs 1-2-3 in the ninth and the Astros came away with an incredibly impressive win.