The Astros just won a series on the road. It so happens that it’s their first of 2012. You’re welcome, Houston. Philip Humber had a clean first inning before giving up a homerun to J.D. Martinez to lead off the second, the first of 4 for the Stros Sunday afternoon. The weather was warm, the wind was blowing and the Astros made the most of it. The Sox were able to add some bombs themselves, but it clearly wasn’t enough as the Sox drop the finale of the homestand and head to St. Louis on a down note.
Astros (26-34): 11
White Sox (33-27): 9
I’m just going to get it out of the way because it has to be mentioned, Justin Maxwell hit a long bomb in the 5th off of Philip Humber into the 300 level seats down the left field line. I have never seen a ball hit where this man hit it, a 461 foot shot that shifted the game the Astros way.
Humber’s final line was 5.1 innings with 5 earned runs but he did manage to strike out 9 in between his distributions of hits and walks. The bullpen didn’t fare much better, Nate Jones and Zach Stewart combined to give up 5 more runs in 2.2 innings of work. The only pitcher to leave the game as clean as he entered it was Will Ohman.
Young pitchers trying to learn their craft would have done well to skip this game entirely since Astros pitchers performed only slightly better than the Sox. Though Lucas Harrell did last deep into the game, not coming out until part way through the 8th, he did get tagged for 5 runs and his next 3 replacements would work only a third of an inning each, coming together to hand 4 more runs to the pale hose. Finally, following an Orlando Hudson 3-run HR to cut the lead to 2, Brett Myers stepped in to stop the bleeding and seal the deal for the Astros.
Plus: You don’t end up with 9 runs on the board by not using the bats properly. Hits came from up and down the lineup, with Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko adding to the long ball party. It’s also nice to see the fight remain throughout. Entering the 9th the Sox trailed 11-6 when the Cuban hitters had the good sense to keep their bats on their shoulders while Fernando Rodriguez attempted to hand the game over.
Minus: After the comeback closed the gap, even with Humber’s poor start, if either Jones or Stewart would have gotten the job done the Sox either win the game or are in a position to send it to extras. Philip Humber has not won a game at U.S. Cellular Field since June of 2011. Of perfect game pitcher career paths, Humber is walking the Armando Gallaraga (I know, I know) line, possibly facing a removal from the rotation. What else looms large? Paul Konerko ending the 6th inning by getting thrown out at home after he moseyed down the line on a wild pitch. I hate to be critical of Paul, but even a slide helps there, it adds a run, it keeps the inning alive.