Game 2: Albers backs Cosart’s scoreless start
The result: The Astros got five scoreless innings from Jarred Cosart, another big day at the plate from Dexter Fowler and a lock down job by the bullpen to beat the Yankees for the second day in a row, 3-1, on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park (game story and boxscore).
The analysis: You can’t say enough about the job Matt Albers did by striking out Derek Jeter to end the seventh and then fanning three in a row after Carlos Beltran had started the eighth with a double. This is exactly why the Astros brought him aboard, along with Chad Qualls and Jesse Crain (injured), to give them a fighting chance in key situations.
“We’ve been in these situations before, and when you get put in these situations just be aggressive,” Albers said. “That goes for not only me and Chad, but for everybody in the bullpen. ‘Let’s go after these guys and see what happens and trust your stuff and try not to let the situation overtake you emotionally.’”
Then there was Jarred Cosart, who threw five scoreless innings. You could say he picked up where he left off last year, but that wouldn’t be totally accurate. He didn’t walk anybody. If you remember, walks were a big issue last year for Cosart, who had more walks (35) than strikeouts (33) in his 10-start Major League debut.
“I think you look at the number of curveballs he threw for strikes,” manager Bo Porter said. “He was able to throw his curveball for strikes early in the count. He actually threw a couple of 3-2 curveballs. We all know he has an overpowering fastball, his changeup is coming. But the way he used his breaking ball today really allowed him to keep them off balance and he was able to go five strong innings.”
Player of the game: CF Dexter Fowler, who went 2-for-4 with a pair of extra-base hits for the second night in a row. Fowler homered in the first inning and tripled and scored in the third and has proven to be a huge boost at the top of the lineup through two games.
“Being a leadoff guy, you’re the catalyst,” Fowler said. “That’s all I was trying to do, just get on base and let the other guys do their jobs. We work together as a team and we can win a lot of games.”
Stat of the game: Cosart threw 57 of his 88 pitches for strikes. At 64.8 percent, it was the highest strike percentage for a single game in his brief career.
Quote of the day: “I love coming in any time they call my name. If I get a chance to come in and close a game out, I love that, too. I had a lot of fun out there. It was fun, especially against the Yankees. A team like that, with the type of lineup they have, it was a blessing to be able to get the job done,” Astros reliever Josh Fields, who got the save.
Other stuff: The Yankees were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. … Fowler is the first player in Astros history with two runs scored in each of his first two games with the team. … Fowler and Robbie Grossman both had triples, marking the Astros’ first game with multiple triples since Aug. 23 against the Blue Jays when they had three. They only one had the rest of that season. … The Astros are 4-13 against the Yankees all-time.
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