Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 4/16/12
Astro manager Brad Mills was noticeably disappointed with the way the series in Miami ended on Sunday. After all his team had carried a 4-2 lead into the eighth inning, but could not hold it, losing 5-4 in eleven innings. It was the second 5-4 eleven inning loss out of three games and kept Houston from winning the series. Yet with his young team he was able finally to point out some positives even in defeat. J.D. Martinez continued his streak of hitting in every game. He had two doubles with on of them driving in a run. Jose Altuve also had two hits including a double off the base of the left center field wall that drove in a run. He also had another RBI on a fielder's choice. And Brian Bogusevic who entered the game with an anemic .083 batting average was on base three times, twice on singles and one of those off a lefthanded pitcher. We also cannot forget yet another positivethe starting pitching effort of J.A. Happ. He went six innings allowing only two runs while striking out eight and walking only two. The game was his to win had the bullpen been able to hold it or if the offense had been able to tack on some insurance runs. The offense had enough chances. Thirteen runners were left on base including nine in scoring position. Twice the Astros left the bases loaded pushing their season total of failure in that spot to 0-11. The bullpen failure wasn't a crash, but just enough. It started when Wesley Wright came in to start the 8th inning and walked the first man. He was pulled for Wilton Lopez who was good enoughexcept for one pitch. That was thrown to Hanley Ramirez right after Wright's walk of Emilio Bonifacio and was deposited well over 420 feet to center field over the wall. While the home run art display (preferred designation and not the more popular thingy) went into action fans realized the game was tied at 4-4. It marked the third game of the series tied at 4-4 in the 8th inning. The Astros won one of them, but the Marlins won the other two. Sunday the coup de grace was delivered by Ramirez again who singled to deep right field with the bags jammed and one out in the last of the 11th. David Carpenter was the losing pitcher. He gave up a lead off single to John Buck in the fateful final frame. Then after a sacrifice bunt and wild pitch moved the winning run to third with one out both Jose Reyes and Bonifacio were intentially walked to set up a chance for a double play. Ramirez instead hit the ball in the air and singled home the winner. The Astros now open a four game series in Washington on Monday. (No Houston TV Monday, but the final three games will be on Fox Sports Houston starting Tuesday night.) At 4-5 the Astros are in a much better place than they have to start a season in years. The players may be mostly unknown around baseball fandom, but a number of them will not remain that way for long.
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