I could have imagined the Astros getting a win thanks to several batters, but J.R. Towles would not have been on that list at gametime today. After a 0-32 slump, Towles proved to everyone today that the slump is over. He went 3-4 at the plate this afternoon at Minute Maid Park, the final hit being a walk-off Â single to lead Houston to it’s first back to back series win. Congratulations, J.R. Your timing is impeccable!
My favorite part of the scene at the end of the game was that the first person to reach Towles on the field was Batting Coach, Mike Barnett. I’m sure the encouragement and excitement in that exchange was fierce!
There were other great plays in the game - amazing defense by Hunter Pence who slid into the right field wall to make a catch as well as offense from Hunter who managed to extend his multi-hit game streak to 9! Â Towles, Lee and Wallace all got doubles today adding to the Astros’ 9 hits while Michael Bourn hit his first homer of the season. Mark Melancon got the win with a hitless, runless inning pitched, but Aneury Rodriguez showed some great stuff as well in the 6 innings he pitched allowing 1 earned run off of four hits and one walk lowering his ERA to 4.98.
There were disappoints for sure. Bill Hall continued on his tear of strikeouts and the team was 1-6 with RISP. There were some defensive plays that should have been made by both Angel Sanchez and Chris Johnson. Defense is mandatory. There’s still work to be done.
I’m still wondering how long Brad Mills can justify Bill Hall in the lineup. I think we’re stuck with him for the season, but nothing would make me happier than to see him go away. Maybe he could be the dugout cheerleader? He can teach guys how to get angry at the plate and how to chew a mouth guard down to an annoying piece of plastic hanging out of their mouths?
Until Mills reads the minds of fans and takes care of that, we’ll just marinate in the fact that the boys from Houston just won back to back series for the first time this season. Yeehaw! It’s not a .500 record, but in this season’s world of Astro baseball, it’s a big freaking deal.
Meanwhile, Jeff Keppinger is expected to make a return to the big club in time to face the Diamondbacks on Friday night after completing his rehab assignment and Brian Bogusevic has been optioned back down to AAA OKC. Will Keppinger’s return mean that I get an early Christmas present and Bill Hall’s butt will spend more time on the bench? Wow, I hope so!
Terri Schlather (AGirlintheSouth) is the Senior Houston Astros Reporter for Aerys Sports. You can read her Astros blog at www.talesfromthejuicebox.com, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on twitterÂ @agirlinthesouth.