Game 6: Feldman benefits from five-homer outburst
The result: The Astros got five home runs from five different players — two-runs shots by Jason Castro and Jonathan Villar and solo blasts by Matt Dominguez, Jesus Guzman and Alex Presley — and rode seven strong innings from Scott Feldman to snap a three-game losing streak with a 7-4 win over the Angels on Sunday (game story and boxscore).
The analysis: You certainly wouldn’t expect the Astros to beat other teams via the long ball very often, especially when slugger Chris Carter isn’t in the lineup. They only managed seven hits against the Angels, but when five of them leave the yard, it makes life easier on everyone.
“Home runs always help,” manager Bo Porter said. “The biggest one was Villar’s home run there late in the game that gave us that extra cushion (in the seventh, which made it 7-1), and as you can see, we definitely needed it.”
Things got hairy in the ninth when the Angels scored three against Anthony Bass, but Chad Qualls came in and closed it out. He struck out Kole Calhoun to end the game and strand Mike Trout on deck. The Astros’ bullpen is 2-for-2 in save situations so far this year, which is a huge plus after last year’s struggles.
And how good was Feldman? More on him below.
Player of the game: RHP Scott Feldman. The big right-hander, making his second start for the Astros, threw seven innings and allowed three hits and one run to improve to 2-0. He did a great job keeping Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and David Freese off base, holding them to 1-for-14.
“You’re kind of lucky at some point,” he said. “Trout, this guy is not even a human being up there sometimes. Just thankful I made some pretty good pitches with him and I was able to keep him off the bases. That’s huge.”
Stat of the game: Feldman is just one of four Astros pitchers to pitch at least 6 2/3 innings and allow one run or less in his first two starts in an Astros uniform. The others are Roger Clemens (2004), Robin Roberts (1965) and Dean Stone (1962).
Quote of the day: “It’s almost like when you play poker and a person folds their hand. I’m not going to show you my cards,” — Astros manager Bo Porter when asked how they would have approached Mike Trout had he batted in the ninth.
Other stuff: The save by Qualls was the 52nd of his career and first since June 9, 2010. It was his first for the Astros since Sept. 26, 2007. … 3B Matt Dominguez already has two home runs after not hitting his second homer of last season until May 11. He finished with 21. Both of his hits have been homers. The last Astros player with two homers for his first two hits was Rick Ankiel last year. … The Astros have scored first-inning runs in five of their six games this year.
Tweet of the day:
You will never know how proud I am of our Minor League players. I look forward to reading their game notes every day. Kids are WINNERS.—
Morgan Ensberg (@MorganEnsberg) April 06, 2014