Sunday, March 30, 2014

Houston Hoists Series Win from Expos

The Astros take two of three from Montreal, slowing the Expos' hot start (they are still 27-20 and a surprise NL East contender). Two comeback wins fuel the Houston charge.

Game One: Hou 6, Mon 4

W: Richard (6-2)
L: Grimsley (2-5)

Houston takes 2-0 first inning lead against Montreal's bushy-haired Ross Grimsley, but J.R. Richard falters in the sixth, giving up four Expos runs, two on a double off the leftfield wall by hot-hitting catcher Gary Carter. But Houston comes back from the 4-2 deficit, bringing home three in the seventh and one in the eighth off a tired Grimsley. Young centerfielder Terry Puhl strokes a key double to right as he raises his average to .316.

Game Two: Mon 4, Hou 2
W: Schatzeder (1-1)
L: Andujar (1-3)
S: Sosa (7)

22-year-old lefty Dan Schetzeder befuddles the many Astros portside hitters on his way to a four hitter in 7.2 innings of work. Montreal does much of its damage in a three run third, helped by a bases loaded walk from a wild Joaquin Andujar, who walks six on the day. This time, Montreal reliever Elias Sosa allows no Houston comeback in 1.1 innings of hitless pitching.

Game Three: Hou 3, Mon 2
W: J. Niekro (4-3)
L: Rogers (9-4)

Montreal's Steve Rogers goes for his 10th win, but is matched by Houston's Joe Niekro, who is having a good year (2.19 ERA) despite a record hovering around .500 But in this game, Niekro goes the distance, only allowing two runs. Montreal actually takes a 2-1 lead in the seventh on Carter's eighth homer, a liner to left.. But the Houston batters again respond by scoring two in the bottom of the inning. Rogers spells his own undoing with a key error that plates a run before Astros SS Craig Reynolds hits a tiebreaking single for the eventual win.

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