After a July that was almost historically bad, going just 3-24 and getting outscored by 76 runs, the Houston Astros started off August in the same way: by losing. A Brewers team that was nine games under .500 coming in to Wednesday slaughtered the Astros 13-4. Only four of Houston's eight position player starters were in the Opening Day lineup, but only one of those players (second baseman Jose Altuve) is anything close to a building block. Only four of the eight starters yesterday afternoon weren't acquired by trade (Altuve, Brian Bogusevic, Carlos Corporan, and Scott Moore), while two of those four were signed as minor league free agents. And one more factoid for the road: going into the game yesterday, four of their eight starters were worth 0.0 or fewer fWAR on the season. What a mess down in Houston.
Game of the Night: Rangers 11, Angels 10 (ten innings). After four, the Angels led this game 7-1, and it looked like the Rangers fall from grace would continue. But something clicked, and Texas started fighting back. They scored four runs in the fifth inning, leading to starting pitcher Garrett Richards getting pulled in the midst of the chaos. A David Murphy RBI single in the eighth made it 7-6, and with untouchable closer Ernesto Frieri on the mount in the ninth, Ian Kinsler homered to tie the game and sent it into extras. The Angels' response was swift, with Chris Iannetta leading off the inning with a homer off of Joe Nathan. Nathan got two outs before plunking Torii Hunter and bringing up Albert Pujols…who hit his second homer of the night and 22nd of the year to make it 10-7. Mike Scioscia left Frieri on the mound for the bottom of the inning, and things spiraled out of control immediately. Nelson Cruz started it off with a monstrous homer to make it 10-8, and the next two runners reached on an error and a walk respectively. Exit Frieri, enter Jason Isringhausen. The veteran relief didn't fare much better, allowing back to back singles to Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland, making it a 10-9 game and leaving the bases loaded. Ian Kinsler popped up (for the FIRST out!), and that brought up Elvis Andrus, who hit a two-run walkoff single to crush the dreams of Angels fans everywhere.
Pitching Lines of the Night: In the White Sox 3-2 win over the Twins, Jake Peavy allowed one earned run over eight innings on five hits, walking two and striking out eight. Diamondbacks rookie Pat Corbin led his team to a 4-0 win over the Dodgers, throwing six shutout frames on two hits, walking two and striking out five. In a 2-1 win in San Francisco, Jonathon Niese of the Mets allowed one run over seven innings on three hits, walking two and striking out five. Alex Cobb helped the Rays beat the A's 4-1 by throwing seven innings of one run ball, allowing four hits and walking just one Oakland batter while striking out six.
Hitting Lines of the Night: The Cardinals beat the Rockies 9-6 in a rain delayed showdown, and Matt Holliday went 3/4 with three runs, five RBI, and two homers. Former Cardinals prospect Brett Wallace went 3/4 with three RBI and two homers in Houston's blowout loss to Milwaukee. On the other side of the diamond, light-hitting Cesar Izturis went 3/4 with two runs, two RBI, a double, and his second homer of the year. Going back to the former Cardinal theme, Ryan Ludwick went 3/4 with four RBI and a homer in the Reds 6-4 win over the Padres, while Albert Pujols went 2/6 with four RBI and two homers in the Angels' heartbreaking loss. Jimmy Rollins had a pair of solo homers and a walk in the Phillies 3-2 win in Washington.
Other Games: The Yankees got vengeance for Tuesday, smashing the Orioles 12-3. The Pirates and Cubs scored nine runs in the final two innings, with Pittsburgh prevailing 8-4. The Tigers hit three homers in a 7-5 win in Boston. The Marlins ended Atlanta's seven game winning streak (and six game winning streak since Chipper Jones joined Twitter) with a 4-2 win. The Royals scored early in a 5-2 win over Cleveland. The Mariners improved to 8-2 in the post-Ichiro era, beating the Blue Jays 5-3.
Today's Games: Only nine games today, but two of them are day games…so I guess we all win a little bit there. Jon Lester starts for the Red Sox, hosting the Twins. Johnny Cueto will go for the Reds against the Padres. CJ Wilson starts for the Angels in Texas, against Ryan Dempster in his Rangers debut. Cole Hamels starts for the Phillies in Washington. New Marlins starter Nate Eovaldi takes on the red hot Mike Minor of the Braves. Cardinals All-Star Lance Lynn starts in Colorado.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.