HOUSTON In the ceaseless search for a clue to what makes the Astros tick offensively came the presentation of another bit of crucial evidence.
The Astros on Monday hammered Cubs right-hander Matt Garza, possessor one of the elite arms in the National League. They bashed him for seven runs over three innings in their 8-4 victory at Minute Maid Park, burnishing their burgeoning reputation against flamethrowers.
Garza (2-2) entered this three-game series ranked seventh in the NL in opponents' batting average (.199). He was 18th in strikeout percentage (23.2) and seventh in average fastball velocity (93.4 miles per hour). He promptly surrendered three-run homers to Astros catcher Jason Castro in the second inning, and third baseman Chris Johnson in the third.
Both homers came with two outs. Castro struck his blow down 0-2 in the count. For a lineup often hamstrung by its inconsistent approach at the plate, the results against the Cubs (15-27) were commendable.
However, these re...