Magic Wandy casts his spell

Capttxtj10304220113pirates_astros_basebaIf there’s something we could have presumed to happen after the incident in which Phil Garner was ejected, after a heated argument with the homeplate umpire, it was that it could represent a very long ballgame for Wandy Rodriguez.

But good ptching prevailed in the end, and Houston, despite a scare near the game’s conclusion, beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2. And it only took 2 hours and 30 minutes.

  Rodriguez (3-0, 2.52 ERA) was solid in 6 innings of work, in which he allowed a run (solo shot by Jason Bay), 2 walks and fanned 4, for a total of 22 batters faced.

Wandy got some offensive help, and it all came shaped as homers: Morgan Ensberg reached a new franchise record, going for the longball for a sixth consecutive game; courtesy of Pirates starter Zach Duke, who carried with the loss. This is been a monumental April for Ensberg, who is batting an impressive .411.

Jason Lane also went yard in the sixth frame, his fourth in the tournament.Capttxtj10504220127pirates_astros_baseba

After rare efficient relief performances from Chad Qualls and Dan Wheeler, the stage was set for Brad Lidge. The Astros closer had a scare and almost blew his save opportunity: after a single by Jack Wilson, Bay gets a Walk; and Craig Wilson follows with an RBI single. Lidge got away with it in the end, after a grounder by Jeromy Burnitz and a strikeout from Jose Castillo. Lidge finally broke the threat of two men in scoring position, and earning the save.

It was a great ballgame, in which we saw good moments in all aspects of the game. More than once we saw beautifully executed doubleplays from the Astros. This is a ballclub that looked like a fine-tuned piece of machinery tonight; and it speaks volumes about Lidge’s condition and resilience the fact he was able to get out of the jam by himself.

Tomorrow (6:05 CT) is Taylor Buchholz’s turn of once again making a case for a permanent spot on the rotation.

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