Monday's game was one of the more boring and uneventful games of the 2011 season, so don't expect a big recap full of suspense and insight to the game. It just wasn't that great. You've been warned.
Derek Lowe started for the Braves and he didn't pitch very well. Wandy Rodriguez, fresh off the disabled list, pitched pretty darn well and kept Atlanta off the scoreboard until the game was well in-hand. Lowe ended up going 5.1 innings and allowed five runs to score on eight hits and three walks. He struck out just two Astros hitters after Tommy Hanson struck out 14 the previous game. Rodriguez pitched six strong innings and allowed just two hits (both of which were doubles) and four walks.
Hunter Pence drove in the first two runs of the game on a 2-run home run that just cleared the wall in right-center field. He took a high fastball and drove it well, and Derek Lowe was visibly upset with himself after throwing the pitch. He and Brian McCann had a conference on the mound just prior to that pitch and one has to think McCann encouraged him to throw the high fastball. It didn't work out very well.
Houston broke the game wide open in the sixth inning. Jeff Keppinger singled, Brett Wallace doubled in a run, J.R. Towles singled, Matt Downs doubled which drove in two runs, Michael Bourn intentionally walked, Clint Barmes brought in another run with a sacrifice fly, and Hunter Pence seemingly ended the game with a 2-run single to make the score 7-0 in the Astros' favor. Towles drove in the eighth run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the following inning.
The Braves did battle back in the ninth. Matt Young doubled, Eric Hinske drew a walk on a 12-pitch at-bat, and Jordan Schafer hit his first home run of the season to make the score 8-3. Dan Uggla flew out for the final out of the game.
Braves don't get the 4-game sweep, but hey, I'll take 7-3 road trips every single time. Pretty damn impressive what Atlanta did this week without so many of their regular players.
The team will head home tonight and will begin a 3-game series with the New York Mets tomorrow evening. MLB's ERA leader, Jair Jurrjens, will be on the mound and he'll be opposed by Jonathon Niese.