Sure enough, the hitting was outstanding, but this shutout is the result of a remarkable pitching performance by newcomer Wandy Rodríguez, able to maintain himself strong for 7 innings without allowing a run, and barely conceding two hits. After Wandy left, Chad Qualls and Mike Gallo did the rest. What is Wandy’s previous record against the D-Backs? 0-1 and a 9.00 ERA.
There was a serious display of lumber tonight: Every starting player for the Astros had a least a hit, with the sole exception of Craig Biggio. Adam Everett, a shortstop who earns his salary relying on his defense rather than his bat, went for broke and batted 2-for-4 including a double and a homer, driving in 3 runs.
It was also a great moment for Morgan Ensberg, who keeps on rising his batting average, now at .389. He went 3-for-5, with a double and a dinger, only missing a triple to hit for the cycle. It was Willy Taveras the one who connected a three-baser (he went 3-for-3 tonight).
The Astros English-language radio crew chose Ensberg as Player of the Game; however, it isn’t hard to think Wandy was also suitable for that honor. That was exactly what Ensberg said during his interview. Rodríguez was simply phenomenal, showing poise and always on top of his opponents, being able to get out of dangerous jams totally unharmed.
Tomorrow is the turn for yet another newcomer, Venezuela-born Fernando Nieve, to start a Major League Baseball game for the first time in his career. A whole country will definitely be watching.